There is a spot I walk to most mornings. Down the hill on the beach road, around the bend, across the grass and to the sea. My spot has a stone bench that overlooks the sea and is shaded by two large trees. Around me are the lizards and birds that do not walk to this spot, this is their spot, and often I am met by pelicans who dive into the sea in front of me.
As I walk I ponder, process, and prepare for my day. As I sit by the sea I let the thoughts and feelings settle and I allow spirit (mine and my tribe) to speak. By the time I leave the sea I feel the alignment of my day ahead and I make my way back up the beach road, up the hill and home.
Days ago I walked down to my spot. My heart was heavy, my mind was busy, my feet shuffled in protest, and there was a disturbance in my spirit. A young man had been murdered by gunfire, a man in his prime with potential and now all his possibilities and promises gone. This death hit close to home, he is a member of my partner’s family. In the days before his death and in the days after I also receive news of death from others close to me; the loss of a past lover, the loss of a father, the loss of a spiritual teacher. More stories emerge of devastating health diagnosis and injury, tension and violence in relationships, re-emerged grief, and for some a loss of direction.
Days ago as I walked to my spot I was open and ready to hear what spirit had to say.
Yet, I was met first by another. Mother Nature had a message for me.
The spot that I sit has two trees that shade and protect, that house the birds and lizards, two big beautiful trees. As I arrive with all my heavy and mixed thoughts and feelings I am shaken into stillness. I stop and stare. One of the trees is gone. It feels like I have just been shot. The tree is dead. I slowly make my way to the sea and the base of the tree. It has snapped deep at the trunk where it meets the earth and every branch and leaf has fallen into the sea. It lays still. The break looks and feels violent.
I take my sorry self to the bench to sit. I share my sorry with the tree and ask for blessings by the sea. I sit in the deep thoughts of, What the f#&k, why now, why more loss? I want the loss and hurt to stop, not deepen. I want the tree to stand back up.
I turn my gaze away from the broken trunk and snapped spine of the tree and gaze out to sea. I can see more sea. There is a new width in the horizon. I can see further out to the horizon where the sky and sea meet. The falling of the tree has made space and now I can see more.
I relax and spirit begins to whisper.
Death, loss, release are all part of life. You cannot stop them, just as you could not stop the bullet leaving the gun or the snapping of the tree. Surrender to what or who leaves, and hold on tight to who or what remains. Honor the ending and be open to allowing what this completion is making space for. Look for where there is more light.
In the days since the snap I walk to my spot and I sit in this balance. Honoring the passing, allowing space for all feelings of anger and grief, and then looking up and out to the wide horizon and to the light I can now see.