This Thanksgiving holiday was shadowed by the sudden death of my beloved friend, a dancer and wonderful artist, Jonell Monschke. After dancing till midnight, she stepped outside for a breath of cool night air, and died of an aneurysm. Wearing glitter on her eyelashes, sparkles in her hair, and red nail polish, Jonell spent her last night here on earth dancing.
Wherever there is ‘other’, say the Upanishads, there is fear. Whether fear of difference, fear of change and loss, or fear of death. The Buddha made a promise: “I will teach you to love… and this will banish fear from your hearts. I will teach you to love the animals and the trees and the very earth…” and you can find and trust this love. For no matter how hurt you may have been, no matter what has happened to you, the heart still longs to open in love. When a loved one dies, our hearts break open, and it’s so clear — to be alive, to love, is an unfathomable gift.
After we completed our Sunday Thanksgiving retreat, Jonell unexpectedly vanished — gone, into the great Silence.
To paraphrase a favorite bit of poem: the only thing, the great thing, is to live, yes….and, to love.
The only thing,
To live to see the great day that dawns
And the light that fills the world.
-Unknown Inuit Poet
It’s warm and grey today, the last day of November. A soft drizzle gently waters the animals, the trees, and the earth. May you be free from fear, and connect with the love that is always here. And remember to tell someone you care!
Image Credit: T. Goodman