Thursday, January 1, 2009

Butterflies, life and transitions...

Happy New Year everyone! Well, I actually made it awake until midnight, first time in a while. Lee and I tended to stay at home over New Years, keeping the house safe for any of the kids who wanted to have a safe haven from parties, or just to crash. Often we slept right through the ruckus of fireworks, dogs barking, sirens, neighbors' parties, Times Square throngs, and dropping balls. Well, no crowds or parties tonight (the kids are out for the evening, however). Got the three dogs, fire in the fireplace, old movies on TV, popcorn. The only thing missing is Norman Rockwell...but I digress (or I'm about to digress-never sure which is which. See what I mean?)

I've been thinking a lot about butterflies lately, so I thought I'd share something from Lee's last Journal - the one she obtained to track her experiences through her cancer journey...Here's the journal's cover:

...So it all brings to mind the whole universe of transformative experiences and how they are intimately emeshed with those perrenial questions about life and wonder: Who are we? Where do we come from? Why are we here? Where do we go after that machinery we call a human body ceases to function? - How does all this evolve into our worldviews, spiritualities, embracing the totality and polarity of our happinesses, hopes and dreams - our sadnesses, fears and nightmares- our capacity for love and compassion and at the very same time our capability and often tendency torwards attachment, aversion and disregard.

Change can be very painful (which is why we avoid it) and ugly (kind of akin to the amorphous mess inside a cocoon). But it seems necessary to grow emotionally and spiritually. Lee embraced change with wonder and grace and was my greatest teacher in this regard.
She and I spoke often (usually early in the morning before sunrise, sitting in the garage-studio) about these and similar topics. During the more than fifteen years I knew Lee, she always had a deep thirst for knowledge. She had wisdom way beyond her years and was a very old soul. These morning discussions were the most intimate moments we shared, far more than physical intimacy- an intimacy of the mind, heart, soul and universe. Very cool, indeed.

Six weeks before she died, Lee penned her last entry in the "butterfly" journal (many pages were adorned with butterfly stamps, stickers, and photos)...

Sunday, October 19th
Tomorrow it will be three months since we found out about the cancer and that I have six months to a year to live. As predicted, I am happy. The spiritual gifts have been amazing and I am strong emotionally...