No Sorrow For Tomorrow

My mother in law told me that while visiting her ex-husband Tommy in a nursing home on Monday (he has some dementia and is not normally a talker). He said that Jill called him a week prior to leaving her body and bade goodbye to him because she did not think that her body would sustain the fight. It made me cry for awhile knowing that she knew this, did not tell me, and that when she was dying in my arms at home that Thursday afternoon she knew it. I was surprised but not shocked by this new revelation. Her body fought as much as it could and she was right. I had a strong intuition that she knew because she knew herself completely, in all dimensions, and too many things were in energetic order when she left. She is a true spiritual warrior. I plan to read her last journal to see if I can get more confirmation. I used to read them all the time but had been so caught up in hunter-gatherer mode protecting and providing for her that I stopped reading for a few months.

Surfed some rough life waves recently. It began last night when I decided to change my ringtone on my cell. The one I chose because Jillie liked it. After Jill’s ‘exit stage left’ the ringtone makes me jumpy when it sounds because it was this that I heard to wake me from a ragged exhaustion induced one hour sleep to notify me to return to critical care because she was crashing. I had been considering changing it for a few weeks now and it felt right, finally, thankfully. The inner change it/don’t change it struggle was a good one. It got to the point where I decided that I am tired of jumping for something that no longer is. Let alone jumping for anything at all. The new tone is called Eastern Sky. A combination of flute and sitar and strings in a cool breezy sort of way.

Today was great surf as well. I enjoyed waiting tables at the restaurant overlooking a marina and met some very interesting and heart centered people. It seems that connection with almost anyone is possible if the right energy exists or manifests from my own energy’s coaxing. If it happens it happens. I also know that laughter and humility is the universal spiritual lubricant. After work I drove past the rolling waves of the Long Island Sound as the iridescent orangey lemon sunset painted the evening sky. Stopping to take in this sky reminded me how amazing life is and it is a wonderful existence to be honored and respected. Not just my existence but that of love, compassion, and presence. Then I changed my cell’s wallpaper from a photo of Jill and me at our last supper (literally on Passover at a friend’s home five days before she left her body which was the day before Easter). The new photo is the sunset. I am okay with it all, “good” and “bad.”

I try to not get caught by memories anymore. It doesn’t mean I don’t think about things but it is with a different energy. I prefer to recall the good feeling of a memory without wanting to have it again. Pining for what was and will never be again disengages me from experiencing the good feeling from that experience while still experiencing it presently. And it’s like wanting the wind to blow exactly the same way as it just did. Whew. Another thing is that sorrow can become self indulgent when one misses how it makes her/him feel rather than celebrating the joy, peace, and freedom for the one who left a body behind. Yay for them, doing their thing and don’t need a body to do it. And yay for me for I am feeling powerful, calm, and pleased. Namaste

Exercise, Exorcise; Do We Decidese?

The flow of life is not mono-directional. It isn’t just here’s a success so enjoy or here’s failure so suffer but rather the success of failing and the failure in succeeding. Is it really failing when things don’t work out or is that really a successful moment not yet realized? I am learning that there is no clear cut definition of anything and know that even the most sure thing is as prone to change as much as I know that a breeze can arise from nowhere at anytime and have significant influence.

Each time failure arises is an opportunity for growth. Knock you down, what do you do? Cry about it, whine about it, worry about it. Okay, perhaps and that’s totally okay but at some point that woe is me track playing on the ego box can be switched off. Choosing to tune into a new track is scary for it requires attention to self (all of it; mind, body, spirit), ownership, and forgiveness.

And the self is a pulsing web of emotions, thoughts, and senses that fire off randomly, constantly. So being able to tune into that which is of import, which is usually not much when you get down to it, requires self awareness. There is so much stuff to which we give merit that is just drama feeding inside us like a tapeworm. And we can beat ourselves up for this “drama” when what we need to do is let it go and forgive ourselves for indulging our ego in this useless mind noise. Yes, noise. Recognizing drama for what it is is an opportunity to choose to respond or not and does not in any way define the outcome.

Rather than worry about something, try to not have any expectations and enjoy the ride. Stress is only stress if you allow it to be. The rest is a pebbly running trail, a moguly slope, or a strong river current. Trust, let go, and enjoy the experience. In conclusion I offer this final thought; exercise awareness and exorcise the ego of uselessness. Namaste

React Or Respond

So I have been thinking about reaction and response to do with surfing life’s waves.

I know that in the beginning when Jillie left her body I was only reactions. An involuntary, uncontrollable, everlasting sobstopper (a play on Willie Wonka). As months progress (actually 187 days ago today) since she changed I find that even though I still react to the triggers, I also respond differently. Okay so here’s what I mean. I believe a reaction is instant and without thought or breath and response is an action (or lack of) to something with a pause inserted between the trigger and the (re)action.

For example, the connectivity of nature and how a mouse made me sob. Its winter so the mice have moved back in. Those mf’s (mouse families for all you dirty mouths (Orbit Gum for that clean fresh smile ;0)) have been waking me up at all hours doing their scratch and dent routine inside the walls which means that I (who does not sleep well anyway because I got called back to the hospital at 12:00 midnight and back home (really mom’s house because I could not go home) at 5:00am) have to get out of bed and bang on the wall. A ridiculous ritual we have contended with for 13+ years in this cabin. So anyway; the mouse traps I had out were not effective and tonight I decided to go into the sunroom closet and find the good traps (good is a relative term, isn’t it?). While sorting through the myriad of crap in the closet (remember when George Carlin said he spent his life collecting things and then turned around and ask how did I get all this crap!?) I came across a plastic bag with cards, photos… I found a beautiful article written in 1998 about Jill and her holistic radio program called ‘Alternatives’ produced by her company Creative Channels Broadcasting. She was introducing holism and eastern medicine into mainstream. Interviewed Dr. Bernie Siegel, Deepak Chopra, Kenny Loggins… Also in the lot is a note I wrote to Jill on one of those big yellow sticky notes with the lines across the page (07/12/09) “Jill, although our lives have become busier and more involved I love you as much as when I asked you to marry me. I’ve got your back. Ian” then to top it off I found a birthday card (01/23/2010) from Jill to me “My love, I love you. You are the best & the brightest person to ever bless my life. I truly “know” you are all that, because you are all that, and then some, to me. “me” xoxo.”

So we all know what happens next, right? Sobbing. Not forever but for a good while and when I was done sobbing it was done, for me. I felt that deep pain, acknowledged it, let it have its moment (minutes/hours/doesn’t matter) and then it was done. I did not go into a deep sadness for the remainder of tonight. In fact I am pleased that I am okay. Remember, Equanimity; when I have a good day I am okay, when I have a bad day I am okay (Pema Chodron- The Places That Scare You). So for me the difference between the reaction and response is that I reacted and when it (the feeling) was done I responded by letting it continue on its way rather than trying to hold onto it to suit my desire to stay sad. For me to be aware of when my pain is my pain and when my pain is my tape of my pain playing is a wonderful exercise in open eyes, open mind, open heart.

One other thought on react and response is one that I find useful. When someone starts a fight, pushes buttons, accuses, blames, comes across angry, or creates drama it is energetically like a fishing line being tossed my way with a hook on the end of it and that hook is the trigger between react and respond. To react is to take the bait and then its game on. To respond is to take a moment to breathe and see if I want to take the bait. By taking that moment I am able to decide if any of this shit coming my way is mine (ownership) and if so then I’ll respond to it; and if not then I choose to not engage in it by walking away, or saying that I will discuss it with you later when you are calm, or ask you to call me back when you stop yelling, or just let that person know that none of this is my crap and I won’t own it. With some practice and awareness I am becoming attuned to the subtle and not so subtle signs that instinct/intuition/body is telling me and recognizing the hook for what it is, a hook.

One last thought on react and respond is this. If an idiot is calling you a moron, consider the source. I am writing these notes because I like to share what I learn and know. What I know is not right or wrong or good or bad, it is just what I know and if it resonates then okay and if it does not then okay. Namaste


Occupy Negativity

“We are travelers on a cosmic journey- stardust, swirling and dancing in the eddies and whirlpools of infinity. Life is eternal. But the expressions of life are ephemeral, momentary, transient. Gautama Buddha, the founder or Buddhism, once said,

“This existence of ours is as transient as autumn clouds.

To watch the birth and death of beings is like

looking at the movements of a dance.

A lifetime is like a flash of lighting in the sky,

Rushing by like a torrent down a steep mountain.”

We have stopped for a moment to encounter each other, to love, to share. This is a precious moment, but it is transient. It is a little parenthesis in eternity. If we share with caring, lightheartedness, and love, we will create abundance and joy for each other. And then this moment will have been worthwhile.”

I read the above in a book by Deepak Chopra awhile ago and it resonated with me. Lately I have been thinking about sadness, grief, and pain and how powerful it is. Also thinking about happiness, joy, and love. These thoughts were abound Friday night as it was one year earlier that Jill was negligently misdiagnosed.

What I wondered is, if I trust that there is a natural rhythm to life (which I do) then why is it that negative energy is given so much power when there are bounties more positive energy on which to tap and live? In other words; why is it that when a majority of one’s life is “a joy full of memories” it gets superseded by a brief yet terrible grief and why the grief and sadness become the power center by which one operates? I am not judging it as right or wrong but am certainly intrigued by it.

What I mean is why is it the 1% has so much control over the 99%? It’s as if the positive energy is the 99% and the negative energy 1% yet the smaller percentage holds the power (or is it overpowers?) It’s my ‘Occupy Negativity’ movement.

Getting my 99% to step up takes awareness and work and that in time the nuances of life are more recognizable and therefore easier to trust that all is as it is. I also know that I look at, recognize, and honor all my feelings for the first time in my life. Perhaps that will change, or not.

I know that Jill was supposed to leave her body or she wouldn’t have and that complaining or playing the “should haves” is an illusory game that has no bearing on what was. What was was because everything is always as it is; even if I don’t like it, understand it, or agree with it. We are all part of nature and nature happens. Its like I said before; worries are illusions, they are not real, and they have no bearing on right now and right now is where I am.

I also know that Jill (her essence, energy) is not dead, it is changed; she just does not have a body anymore and I am becoming more at peace with this. I miss her and would do anything to have her back in her body and that is the truth and also not possible. I am not able to hear her like she was able to of others without bodies but I do know that she is here, there, everywhere; helping me to guide me. When I say guide I do not mean that I am in control but rather a trust and knowing that whatever will be will be and I will honor, without judgment, what it is that it is when it becomes so. I really listen to me. If crying then I cry until it is done and then let it go. When I laugh it is real and true and does not have guilt mixed in. Feelings shouldn’t be judged as good or bad or right or wrong. They are natural, right? So why not respect them and give them their due. When the feeling is done, or doesn’t suit anymore, perhaps a different feeling will take its place, or not.

Each time I respect and hear (not just listen) to my gut (inner voice, instinct, intuition) my me gets stronger. It’s a sometime brutal, sorrowful workout, believe me, and still worth it. I know that love is the ultimate and that is worth the resolve. Triggers are reduced and laughter is rising. Namaste


It is said that we choose our lessons before we come into our bodies for every lifetime and I wonder what it is I am supposed learn this time. Is it about self worth, trusting nature, going with the flow, unconditional love, or getting continually abused throughout 30 of my 43 years of being in this body yet standing up again and finding the humor and love in life? Existential crisis were just words to me until this past Monday when I melted down to bubbling sobs on the kitchen floor not knowing who I am, do I like me, what am I supposed to do, where am I supposed to live, what does my life look like in 3 months, 6 months, a year from now. Basically a fucking mess of unknowing. A scary place to be as I did not know any answer at all. The only thing I knew is that it is what it is, it will be what it will be, and the only thing I can do is conscious breathing through the torments of my heart, mind, and spirit.

This crisis was triggered by my thought/decision to sell our home (my wife Jill died 149 days ago from medical error) that we have lived in for 13+ years and have only been apart 2 days in that time (actually nights only). It took me six arduous days to cancel our home phone line. I saw dust balls under my kitchen cabinets as I lay there prostrate and sobbing when I considered cancelling it. Finally did it and now the sting is gone. Tomorrow a woman is coming to collect Jill’s clothes from me. They are much more useful on a body than in a closet or drawer and they are not Jill, just things that she sometimes wore and no longer does. I do not look forward to the pain and sobbing that will ensue tomorrow morning. Imagine the angst (understatement) I was in; sell our home?! Where we nurtured each other’s unconditional love in an open, honest, empathetic relationship. The decision to let our home go is all I knew and still all that I know now 6 days later. It is the same feeling as when I closed my company of 19 years this June.

No plans about anything else, not even speculation; where will I live, will I stay in Connecticut, do I want to stay in Connecticut, in the same town, do the same work, how will I make money, who do I want to be and how and where? What do I want to pursue?…. get the drift. I am not rudderless, I just don’t have a direction and that is a weird feeling, not unnerving, just weird. I am not scared or worried about anything as my worst fear has already occurred and frankly worry is all in the mind; literally. Dwelling on the past and worrying about the future are just mind games I try to not engage in. Why would I preoccupy my time with a thought about something that may or may not be or occur? Worries are illusions, they are not real, and they have no bearing on right now and right now is where I am. Besides I’ve had enough drama in my life and I am changing the channel. Time for a new show. Dunno what it is but the old one no longer fits the bill.

Where am I? On the couch, feeling anxious, calm, centered, enjoying the click of the keys on my laptop as words flow from somewhere. A jumble of senses that I revel in feeling, albeit some I’d rather have done with. I have a new word I created today; testacular (pronounced tes tacular). It is derived from the words test and spectacular. Spectacular implies amazing, beyond imagination, unbelievable, and test means….. test. My life has been a long series of spectacular tests and abuses and the only time my life was not testacular and painful is the time that Jill and I spent together human to human, body to body, and heart to heart for almost 14 years. And now that she is not in her body and the myriad of tests continue, I wonder what is my lesson. I have always known that nature is circuitous, fluid, and balanced and have always believed and surfed life’s waves; fall down, get up.

Jillie would always ask me if I believed that she would be able to be old this lifetime because she remembered, and unfortunately relived, some horrific lifetimes in which she died young for speaking her truth, her voice, her commitment to love and nature. I always told her yes, even when she would complain that she has old lady hands. What the fuck, did she know something; did she know she was going to leave her body when I brought her to the ER the second time? Why is it that Jill physically died when she had such an organic life? No caffeine, booze, smoke, nor drugs, and primarily acupuncture and holistic medicine until the western medicine ER doctor misdiagnosed her and you all know how it went from there. Jill honored her body like a temple; meditation, contemplation, and spiritual warrior strength when she would go into the dark parts of herself to bring them to the light which is something that most people on the planet do not dare to do as it requires tremendous courage, trust in nature, truth, and love. I do know that since Jill left her body I have been forced, directed, lead, whatever it is, to continue this path of being. Not her path, just a similar essence.

Just be is what I am doing. Not always what I consider doing so successfully and also not judging it as good or bad. It just is and being requires presence which necessitates the willingness to suffer through the bad so the trigger can be defused and show itself for what it is or was. Deep breath now. I do a lot of deep breaths to get through a good part of my day. Feeling whatever it is and breathing through it. A very tough workout. Self awareness takes work and that also means that not judging myself. Being aware helps me to see where my thoughts are, if I am holding my breath, and are my hands clenched, to name a few.

The other night I considered that maybe Jill left her body so I can find/be who I am. Or maybe not. Either way I do not judge it and I do not complain about her dying because I know that complaining about her dying is like complaining about gravity. And I do know that complaint is inaction and I am not one to sit idly by while there are all these waves to catch. Up, down, I will keep surfing. See you out there. Go to your destiny. Namaste