Praising the life of the man who started it all

I haven’t written in a while because I have been dealing with a life changing event: the death of my uncle, two days before Christmas.

You ever meet people who are so out there and full of life? Well, he was one of those vibrant, high energy kind of people and to imagine someone like that passing is just surreal. You almost never think people like that die. I guess I don’t really think he’s passed. He was the kind of person who believed that we are more than just bodies and I have to believe he’s still thriving, free, at peace.

I knew he battled demons every day, but he was the man who started it all for me–the idea of healing through creation, eating healthy to prolong your life, and that meditation worked.

I admired my uncle throughout my youth because I saw him as a fighter. My uncle was an artist and an openly gay man, who was HIV positive for nearly twenty years. The HIV was not the cause of his death though. Growing up, I witnessed him juicing fruits and vegetables daily, growing wheatgrass in his backyard, cooking with miso, tofu, and vegetables at every meal. He meditated daily and was always giving. This is what I grew up with. This is how I know you can heal yourself alternatively. But I also know from his death, that it takes work to keep yourself alive.

As strong as my uncle was, he battled demons that took him out of his healthy state of mind and into drug abuse. I never understood how someone like him would turn to drugs. I know he battled with the demons. He even wanted to get better. All anyone in my family wanted was to have the old him back. His death still remains a mystery. They aren’t sure how it happened. Anyway, that person is gone now, but all I want to do is praise his memory. All I want to do is fight for my health and keep it going.

I feel very changed and moved by his passing. I can’t say that I am even the same person because all I want to do is things that matter. I am very positive but it takes a lot of work to battle demons that exist within all of us. I was watching Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday and some preacher was saying that we can’t look at evil as existing out there, it is within us. I always thought this was such religious rhetoric when I heard people say that we are born evil, but we all have that capability. Really, it takes a lot to stay in the present moment. Being anywhere else, in the past, in the future, could be potentially evil, distracting. The only place that keeps us positive is our present moment.

This is something I have to do every day, seriously, every single day, or else demons can take over. My uncle was living proof of that.
And in his memory, I’m starting the Course in Miracles workbook that I’ll be writing about in the blog. I’ve wanted to do that for some time, why not now?

Advertisements

The Invitation

Fell in love with this poem yesterday as a teacher read it to us in class during final savasana. Just wanted to share.

The Invitation by Oriah

It doesn’t interest me
what you do for a living.
I want to know
what you ache for
and if you dare to dream
of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me
how old you are.
I want to know
if you will risk
looking like a fool
for love
for your dream
for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me
what planets are
squaring your moon…
I want to know
if you have touched
the centre of your own sorrow
if you have been opened
by life’s betrayals
or have become shrivelled and closed
from fear of further pain.

I want to know
if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.

I want to know
if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you
to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us
to be careful
to be realistic
to remember the limitations
of being human.

It doesn’t interest me
if the story you are telling me
is true.
I want to know if you can
disappoint another
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear
the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty
every day.
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.

I want to know
if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand at the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,
“Yes.”

It doesn’t interest me
to know where you live
or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after the night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me
who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the centre of the fire
with me
and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me
where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know
what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.

I want to know
if you can be alone
with yourself
and if you truly like
the company you keep
in the empty moments.

By Oriah © Mountain Dreaming,
from the book The Invitation
published by HarperONE, San Francisco,
1999 All rights reserved