The longest nights of the year have just passed and we are finding ourselves in a period of rest.
We’re in a pause, a standstill, a period where the days don’t shorten anymore yet not yet lengthen either.
The sun stands still, and everyone waits for its turning. During this waiting period, it is part of the Keltic and Germanic tradition to ‘call upon’ the light of the sun through fire, togetherness, and alone-time.
In this time of the year, we transit, from darkness to light. We are invited to reflect upon the life we’ve created for ourselves. It’s a period of dreaming - don’t hold back.
It’s hard to believe, yet actually happening; we are reaching the end of 2020.
A year in which all of us had to relate to loss. Loss of our life-styles as we knew them, loss of relationships, loss of jobs, loss of so many “certainties” we held. It’s been a year of resisting to let go, and of letting go.
The global pandemic has brought an inevitable invitation to surrender, in various ways and forms. Death came to visit our lives as we knew them.
I look around me and see people shrink away from contact, from touch, from friendly eyes even. I look around me and see people cycling, alone, outside, with a face-mask. I look around me and see protest and a billion various voices wanting to be heard. I look around me and see the sword of division hanging, an ‘us’ against ‘them’.
At times, this scares the bzoogles out of me, other times I feel great compassion. And recently I had the beautiful opportunity to meet death, up close, through the invitation of a friend who had been on a sickbed for the last 6 months and was about to leave his body.
The unthinkable happened: Myself and a few friends were welcomed to sing in the prayer room of the Amsterdam Hospital to support our friend in his process of dying. An exception had been made to grant my friend’s last wish and we were allowed to gather, celebrate, grief and sing.
Here, right inside the epicenter of disease and frantic Covid-19 prevention, I was pleasantly surprised and deeply moved by what I saw.
We were welcomed warmly by the hospital’s spiritual counselor, and the nurses treated us and our friend with affection and care. Mouthpieces seemed just a formality that got forgotten in the aliveness of the moment, and a giant piece of my faith in society, in humanity, was restored right then and there.
My friend by now has left his body, and gave us the enormous present of presence. Never before have I had the privilege to see someone experience their own death as a process of transformation. A transformation from form to formlessness. My friend (being a practiced meditator and lover of God) remained light and clear till the moment he passed.
This teaching I wish this deeply for our world to embrace:
To embrace decay, to embrace the changing nature of our seasons with clarity of mind and openness of heart. To dance with life as she dances with us, with the understanding that every form, sooner or later, has to give. This freedom allows for space to choose. To, rather than to avoid life from a fear of dying, choose life from living,
This is a beautiful moment to ask yourself; ‘what would I do if I knew no fear?’ How would I act? Where do I withhold? Which dreams don’t I dare to follow? Which truths don’t I dare to speak? What makes my heart beat a little faster? What fills my body with pleasure? When do I truly experience belonging?
Now t’s time for you to care for you.
To keep your heart open and your spirit high. In my experience, that ain’t always an easy task but it’s the greatest thing we can do for ourselves and each other right now. It keeps us sane, awake, and mostly: alive. We need to nourish the yearning of our soul, and of our precious animal body. Through dance, writing, painting, reading, writing, good company and good food, and long walks in nature.