August is the birthday month of my aunt who passed on 14 years ago. I’ve been deeply reflecting back on her life, my relationship with her, and the insights and growth opportunities for me. I’ve been writing extensively. Journaling and blogging.
But there are a couple of posts which I’ve been going back and forth with whether or not I am going to publish them as part of my In memory of Tita Lola series.
The topic? Death and her dying moments.
It is a topic that I know brings a lot of discomfort to many. Deep fear.
I was thinking maybe I can skip the part about her death and dying moments. Too depressing a topic. Maybe I can just go right to the concluding part and talk about the insights that I’m now getting as I look back. Or how about taking a break from this series and blog about other lighter topics instead?
Yet I feel that there’s a lot of misconception about death which needs to be addressed.
I don’t claim to have all the answers though. I don’t profess to be most knowledgeable on the subject. Tita Lola’s transition though was one pivotal moment, both in my relationship with her and in my own personal journey. It ushered in the beginning of the shifting in my view of death and dying, life and living.
On the evening of the 18th of this month, for some “strange” reason unbeknownst to me, I suddenly opted to check the site of one of my long-time followers, The London Flower Lover. At the time, I had already started contemplating on whether or not I was going to publish my posts. And their most recent post?
I still didn’t take that as an answer. I slept over it. I set out the intention for me to know the answer when I wake up.
The following morning, still filled with feelings of uncertainty, I was led to an article, the topic of which was again about death: Hosting dinner at home with death as the topic of conversation. The idea is an offshoot from the concept of Death Café, where “people come together in a relaxed and safe setting to discuss death, drink tea and eat delicious cake. The objective of Death Cafe is ‘to increase awareness of death with a view to helping people make the most of their (finite) lives’.”
I still didn’t feel compelled to publish my post. Truth be told, it wasn’t so much the topic of death per se that I wasn’t comfortable with. Rather, it was whether or not I was going to include some of my thoughts and feelings which might be hurtful to people concerned, and some details which would unearth family narratives that might even be more damaging than healing.
Meanwhile, I opted to blog about other unrelated topics including Julia Cameron’s newly published book, Artist’s Way for Parents: Raising Creative Children. Discovering this led me to her other book which I purchased only the other day, Right to Write: An Invitation and Initiation Into the Writing Life.
Oh I so resonated with the majority of what I’ve read so far! It helped me clear the blockages in my channel and what’s holding me back. I’m getting the guidance and clarity that I need with my writing and blogging experience.
Julia explained that writing is an “act of listening…the art of taking dictation.” When writing becomes straining, it is because much of our ego is in the way. We focus on what we want to say and how it will be received, rather than simply being the channel through which the writing writes through.
And when something wants to be expressed, when we feel the impulse, it will not stop until it is expressed. When we write, when we listen to what we hear, to what wants to be expressed and “simply jot that down, the flow of ideas is not [ours] to generate but to transcribe. When we forget ourselves, when we let go of being good and settle into just being a writer, we begin to have the experience of writing through us. We retire as the self-conscious author and become something else— the vehicle for self-expression. When we are just the vehicle, the storyteller and not the point of the story, we often write very well— we certainly write more easily.”
It was a much-needed reminder. I sure have had those days when I was writing to impress rather than simply to express. And I was reminded to go back to my usual routine and ritual of connecting first to my Divine Self before I even begin to write or edit a blog post, and to ask for what it is that wants to be expressed, written and shared with the public.
Taking that step isn’t strange or new territory to me. It is familiar energy. It has been my practice. In fact, it was exactly what I did when I prepared for Tita Lola’s eulogy 14 years ago. But I’m getting ahead of myself and getting ahead of my posts.
Yesterday morning, I already had the intention of editing my post about Tita Lola’s death and her dying moments, for eventual publishing. Well-equipped with the timely reminder from Julia’s book, my editing was surely effortless. I was finally able to address my earlier concern about how much of my thoughts and feelings and other details to include.
Before I began my editing work, for some “strange” reason again, I suddenly decided to check one of the sites that I’m following, Spirituality and Practice: Resources for Spiritual Journeys. I haven’t browsed through this site in a very long time. And what would greet me is one of their recent posts which talked about, you guessed it, death. Specifically, Death Cafes. Again.
Something surely wants to come through. I am left with no doubt whatsoever that I am being used as a vehicle for it. The topic, the writing, the writing of the topic is indeed calling my attention to be expressed.
My experience, my insights and realizations about Tita Lola’s death and dying moments — it surely wants to be transcribed on the page. To be shared with others. To be published. Finally.
And something just came to me now. Might part of that nagging impulse be Tita Lola herself who wants something about her, about her life to be expressed? Something she was unable to articulate during her last incarnation? It was something that I did for her when I gave my eulogy. And something that I most certainly have no qualms doing for her again.
And then again, perhaps it is one of Tita Lola‘s ways of expressing her love for me — by allowing her story, including her death and dying moments, to be transcribed, to show up on the page, in order for me to express myself and give myself the voice. To be heard. To be healed. To forgive and to be forgiven. To be transformed.
And all these, whether or not I do end up publishing what has been written.
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