There is a Maori phrase which I cannot now remember but which roughly translates as
"the most important thing is the people, the people, the people".
Today I feel the strength of that in a truly profound way.
Yesterday I decided finally to act on the suggestion of a friend (thank you) and ask for help with my final act - the rituals of my death. Since sharing my story with those I have come to know online - so many through my involvement and advocacy in real food for us tubefed folk - my world has expanded exponentially.
I have been a very social person in life: And also not. Moves around the country and long hours of work plus certain needs to leave certain past previous truths behind meant my world, my world of people, shrank and dwindled. But of course, in the skein of life that lives outside of time the real friends and connections remained. I never really felt alone, but at times, not ...........sufficiently connected.
I sought help online with my tube diet. I found it. I admired, and still admire, all those who help and who bravely feed their young and their loved and themselves real food when they can despite such staunch opprobium from such a wide swath of medical opinion across the world. Accidentally almost, by dint of some time on my hands and my passionate nature, I became one of those who helped as well. Now I find this repaid a thousandfold with the thoughts, heart, and spirit of friends and strangers alike. I am strangely uplifted, yet humbled, simultaneously.
And the old friends reappeared. I did not so much seek them out, but over time they just......popped up, and how I cherish those reconnections. Some have grown even stronger with the passage of time, perhaps as we grew in similar directions despite not hearing from each other for so many years. None have lost the spark. New old friends have been made from once-acquaintances.
So today, as I start the joyous task of preparing for myself - well, really for you - the shapes and flavours, the heart and soul, the music, tears and laughter of my funeral, I am celebrating this: The people, the people, the people. For it is in others that we find so much of who we have become. The necessary opposite of still, personal silence.
Is it unfair to be honest here? To say that one person stands out? I am torn. So I shall be honest.
There is the old Zen koan, which goes something like this: "There was a monk being chased by a tiger, running and running for his life, suddenly confronted with a lack of anywhere to run - a sheer drop down a cliffside. He hurled himself off, and as he fell he managed to fling out a hand and cling on to a small craggy bush tenaciously growing on the rocky cliffside. There was a single, tiny berry growing on the bush. How sweet that berry tasted!"
My week has been a little like that. I was scared for a time, and I was running. I saw an end; an end that was not peaceful nor far enough away, and I was found wanting in my preparations. I flung myself over that cliff because I simply had no choice but to surrender to the fates. Meeta is the berry. How inexpressibly sweet; how boundlessly nourishing of soul to have a friend in life such as her. In that moment when the people, the people, the people, shrank from view.....as well as the Godhead void, there was her. For this too, I am grateful.
So I accepted that suggestion, and let the energy come to me in material as well as spiritual ways as well, and when this morning I logged on to find so many had given of their well-needed coin to help us pay for my ritual of passing, it reminded me that sometimes the people, the people, the people, are the berry.
Thank you all, deeply - thank you.
You can still make donations by following the link below.
I will finish by sharing a poem I have just discovered by a very dear old friend, Mark Reid. So cheekily titled, so.....brutally subtle.
The Falling God?
I heard the aphorism
a god-shaped hole in every heart
what could possibly
make such a hole.
NOTE: You can also buy Mark's latest book a difficult faith (from whence this poem came) from Fremantle Arts Centre Press, HERE.