I have just read through your posting for the third time. What is it that impacted me so, I wanted to know
First of all the beautiful descriptive writing of your place in the woods was wonderful. Truly I felt a sense of sacred place each time as I listened to you tell about it. And more than that, in the way you wrote about your experience of being with the trees and all, seeing through their changes in time, I felt a sense of your presence there.
But of course, it is your contemplative thoughts of dying and living that has filled my mind. The topic is not unfamiliar to me. Iâve taken so many classes, read so much on this topic, been to a gazillion seminars, and have facilitated many Grief Support Groups throughout the years. So, why was I touched so by your perspectives? Maybe because I’m living the grief now, not just thinking and talking about it. And I’m not just living the grief of loss of another, no matter how dear. I am grieving my own life. I am grieving the loss of so very much of my life as I knew it as a sighted person. And I am actively, as I see my health due to lifelong diabetes become rapidly frailer, experiencing prefatory grief as I look, more closely than I am comfortable with, at my final death.
Your writing touched all this difficult, often overwhelming stuff in me.
I loved seeing the beauty of your view of the cycle of life and death in your analogy of the crumbling, dying tree. It’s when I think about the assumption of the ‘the other world” where death is held that I lose clarity. I need not go on about the many ideas which, over dozens of years, I have, with intensity and focus, considered of that possible world. Before my vigorous health began to fade in the last few years and my eyesight left me, I did think about a world of non-physical being, but these days, it feels a lot more personal.
Here I’m saying just that your powerful writing for Day Three, below, greatly and deeply touched me. Thank you.
“I headed into a nearby forested area of a city park and ended up sitting on a fallen tree trunk to read chapter two and consider my posting for today. As I walked down the path through the forest, it was the rattling leaves on a beech tree that called my attention to a spot in the forest that I felt attracted to and desired to be near. As I approached the beech, my eyes were drawn to a fallen tree behind it that was covered in a patchwork of green moss, brittle bark, and decaying heartwood. Funny that a dead tree trunk would seem to me to be the most beautiful thing in the forest that morning. As I read Chapter Two‚s descriptions of how the stories we tell ourselves (or are told) affect what we see/value and what we don’t see/value, I thought about how removed and disconnected our society is, in general, from death and dying. Obviously, death and dying are not attractive. But is that really so true? Do we do a disservice to ourselves and to our lives by pushing away the only true certainty that we all have in common: we are all going to die?
Sitting on the fallen tree trunk, I deeply knew that this was not the ‘end‘ of the tree. Not death as an end to life, but rather a passage ˆ an entrance and an exit ˆ between cyclical worlds of living and dying. The moss turning decomposing wood into soft, green substance; the holes made where woodpeckers had found sustenance from a wood-boring insect that was nourishing itself on the dead tree trunk; the crumbling bits of organic matter that slowly, almost imperceptively, seemed to belong more to the forest soil than to the tree trunk. The message was “Embrace the ‘stories’ nature has to tell ˆ expansive, accepting, encompassing, cyclical
If I hadn’t spent time in nature this morning while reading this chapter, I would feel less at peace than I do now, less at ease with my self It enhanced my sense of self worth simply by helping me to breathe and feel more at ease with myself, with life, and all the little ups and downs and nuances of daily living and relating. Because of the feeling of connectedness that I feel in nature, my ‘worth’ is enhanced because it feels like it is not mine alone.
The activity contributed to an ongoing process of "re-education" that I have recently been undergoing relating to my perceptions and awareness of death and dying. I am really enjoying reading everyone‚s postings. I find myself humbled and inspired by everyone. A few things that really stood out to me were: Dan‚s observation that the moon is reflecting sunlight, Trina‚s awareness of the spring flowers in her garden, Ingrid‚s insight that understanding who we really are is the basis for authentic and lasting relationships, and Cate‚s paradigm shift to see that she is nature looking into a world of society and trainings. Nature doesn‚t use words to tell stories. Listen with your heart and you will hear.the decaying tree trunk is a passage 'an entrance and an exit' between two coexisting worlds, life and death
Powerful stuff. Thanks!