In the last three months I have been deeply connected to the death space. At the end of 1999 I decided if I didn’t see a therapist I’d die. I wasn’t sure how I would die – I just knew I didn’t know how to live.
A dear friend recommended her therapist and told me not to hesitate and call her straight away. It was Christmas Eve and I had been in tears down the phone to her yet again. I called her therapist – Yig – who told me “It’s Christmas Eve, I’m with my family could you call me in the New Year!” So much for my first attempt at booking a therapy session!
However, I did call again in the New Year- a new millenium, with a desperate hope for something new. Without realising what lay ahead, I started a deep and soul connecting journey that in the current death space – her death space – is now transformed. Had it not been for Yig’s presence in my life I simply would not have known how to embrace life let alone embrace death. I doubt I would be able to handle this grief as our society does little to aquaint us with death. Had I stayed in my belief I would die, I might have even wished to join her. I might not have been able to even acknowledge or understand death. Yet thanks to our relationship I find myself in a new chapter of our relationship.
I learnt so much in her presence. I learned to love Rumi, love poetry, Jung and India. I showed her my first drawings – blobs of paint on tiny bits of paper attempting to explain my emotions. “Draw some more” she said again and again. I brought her my first sculpture. It weighed just under a stone but I stuffed it in a bag, got on a train and lumped it up the stairs to her therapy room. We named it “Birth of the Light” after the birth of my light. It is only as I write this I realise 20 years later my son would suggest I put “Your Bright Light Within” on my website.
I spent many years in therapy learning how to live and not to die. Learning how to love. During this time Yig’s presence brought so many jewels that are constant resources – the breath in my body, art, poetry, sunsets and sunrises, spiritual singing and colour – oh my, how Yig brought colour into one’s life! Her house looked like a box of jewels. After therapy- after time, I’d come to her for advice as I met few people who could work with trauma as she could. She taught me so much, telling me “Never project anything on to someones trauma. You have to track it like an Indian”. Later we became friends. I guess we were always friends. She saw loads of my friends for therapy and it felt as if, for some of us, she was our spiritual mother and spiritual guide.
Yig is one of those people that one can honestly say lived a good life. She didn’t particulaly advertise her services, no website or mobile – she had very pretty buisness cards, but I’m not sure if she gave loads out. I don’t know how we all found her – we just did and yet so many people say she transformed their lives. Not just that they liked her, or loved her even – but transformed them. I did learn how to live and not just live but to love and to love life.
So what happens when death comes so close? Well for so many of us the death or terminal illness of our nearest and dearest unleashes a torrent of unfinshed buisness. Relatives and friends we thought we loved or at least trusted morph into our worst nightmare. Unresolved family patterns are set lose into the ether and suddenly the world is full of drama and stress. Ripples of the past bounce like echos all around us. Yet in Yig’s death for me, I now see/know/feel that if we do the work when we are alive we have the abilty to download our love and transmit it to others when we go. It’s not that I didn’t believe this before, it’s just I never felt it like this. We do not need to pass on things from the past, but can simply pour our cleaned up life force into those we loved and even those we didn’t. I feel more enlightened. I feel more connected, weirdly almost wiser, but younger. I feel as if I have been given something very special that I will be able to have till it’s my time to tip this love and light and energy into my loved ones at my death. To transmute my life force, my essence, to pass it on to others and give it back to the earth. It’s a great shame we do not learn this skill in our western society.
And then there is the act of merit for the person who has died. As I say prayers for Yig as she passes through the liminal space in the 49 days following her death, I am meditating on how I can continue the goodness she taught me to live with. How can I live a good life with compassion and kindness? How can I find the time to just ‘be’ so I might strengthen my life force for others?
It’s not that I don’t miss her on a human level. I do terribly. In fact my heart has felt as if it would break. It’s just that she died as she lived – with good grace, and the world could do with a little more grace. When we last met she told me “it’s all ok” and I felt it. I know in the bigger picture, without identity or body all is ultimately ok. And energetically she’s made it ok for me. In doing so she has not only helped me, but all that I touch in my life from now on and that is a great legacy.
I dedicate this post to dear Yig. I once wrote you that you taught me how to live with love and for that I will always be grateful. Today that is transformed, for you taught me how to die with love. I hope when my time comes I can hold that in my heart.
Picture – Gypsy Jewels – Rag Rug by Yig Labworth
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