“When he was ten his father split, full of it, debt ridden-Two years later, see Alex and his mother bed-ridden Half-dead sittin’ in their own sick, the scent thick, Alex got better but his mother went quick. Moved in with his cousin, the cousin committed suicide, left him with nothing but ruined pride, something new inside voice saying Alex, you gotta fend for yourself.” “At 17 a hurricane destroyed my town—I didn’t drown, I couldn’t seem to die. I saw my life dripping down the drain. I wrote my way out. Total strangers moved to kindness because of my story- enough to get my passage on a ship that was NY Bound, I wrote my way to revolution.” Alexander Hamilton, the $10.00 founding father.
-Alexander Hamilton, the Musical
The last few weeks have a been by analogy, a Hurricane in our country. The lead up to the election and the aftermath of the election. The best way to describe it for me was spun up and chaotic. Ramped up rallies on both sides, ramped up rhetoric and the vote with many of the states in play- dropping Red left and right. Only to end up with the popular vote going to one candidate the other being elected by the Electoral College. Only five times in the history of our country has the popular vote gone to someone other than the one winning via the Electoral College. Wow!
We can thank Alexander Hamilton for the establishment of the electoral college. Talk about a chaotic life and someone who made the most out of it. He is an example for all of us.
I was reminding myself last week that even amid chaos, whether it be in the world or in our own lives- in the eye of a hurricane there is quiet. Where do we find quiet? Allow me share a recent experience at hospice with you.
When you participate in hospice, many times you are assigned a patient who is non-responsive due to late stage Alzheimer’s, advanced illness etc. One of my patients was assigned to me in March 2016. Every Saturday morning, I would go to see her. She started out in her wheelchair looking at me. She seemed to kind of recognize me as I came each week. As time passed her illness became worse and she became bed ridden and non-responsive. From March until last week she only spoke one time. It was mid to late summer. Clear as day she looked directly into my eyes and said “seven”. I looked up the meaning of the number seven. In Biblical terms the number seven means completion and perfection both physically and spiritually. I believe she was telling me she was complete, she was ready and that her time was approaching.
In contemplating, how I should share presence with her during my visits, I decided I would start by telling her about my week. Where I traveled and about my sales calls. I also told her about my life. I decided after about 10 minutes of talk; I would read to her. So, that's what we did. We read pieces and parts of Being Mortal by Atul Gawande, Becoming Wise by Krista Tippett, the Life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, The Subconscious Mind, The Power of Suggestion, Mans Undeveloped Powers and we ended with The Universe has your back by Gabrielle Bernstein.
Two weeks ago, I went into her room and she did not look well. I knew she had started the active process of dying. I didn't tell her about my week. Instead I started to read and then I shut the book. I took out my cell phone and played a beautiful mediation song from Jai-Jagdeesh’s Album Meditations for Transformation. I played “Expand from the Heart Center” which in Kundalini mediation is the Aad Guray Namay. This is a mantra for the personal white light of protection. I thought it would be appropriate as she began her transition to the other side. I closed my eyes and meditated with her about her upcoming journey. I felt like the veil was very thin, so thin I thought I could feel it. At the end, I gently tapped her third eye and told her to go to the light when she was ready.
I left. I did not expect to see her again. I never got the call. The next Saturday I went again. My heart raced as I approached her door and saw her nameplate on it. I went in. She was in the final stages. Many of the family pictures had already been removed from her room. Death was imminent. I touched her head, gently tapped her third eye and played the Aad Guray Namay. I meditated with her. I told her she was safe and she could go to the light. I thanked her for allowing me to participate and be with her during her time of transition. It was an honor. I said my Good byes.
On Wednesday, I got the call. She died that morning. I was glad that one of the last things she may have heard was the Mantra for the white light of protection on her journey. I sat and thought about my experience with her and what came to mind was “In the eye of the Hurricane there is Quiet”.
My life feels/felt chaotic in 2016, both good and bad. Healing from my Atlas and all the emotions around it, personal situations, work situations, travel—it’s been a crazy year. The country has been engrossed with the elections and campaigning. Business has been slower than usual.
However, when I went to see my patient in Hospice, amid the chaos- there was quiet. The time I spent with her was calm and therapeutic for me. I am grateful for my experience with her. While I know as a volunteer I am helping the patient, what I learned after her death is that it is a two way street. The situation with her provided the space, time and quiet for me to think and reflect about those things that are important, those things that contribute to building a joy filled life.
“This silence, this moment, every moment, If it’s genuinely inside you, Brings you what you need.”
Until next time.