I sit in the solitude of my own room reflecting on the many days that have gone by since I was born; feeling the whisper of those who were once here. I sense the slight wind of their presence with all its joys, sorrows, hopes, dreams and sacrifices. I sense their stories so varied and so similar. I am connected to those who have been here with me and before me. I walk on ground they sweat and bled for. I am touched by their presence and absence. I am touched by a common breath that is breathed by all.
As a boy raised in a small southern Michigan town, I remember celebrating Memorial Day. My mother, sister and I would pick flowers in the morning. We would then take them to the cemetery after a modest downtown parade. Flags were placed on all the Veteran’s graves and flowers on the graves of loved ones. The cemetery was a place of joy and sorrow. We would then walk to the park and listen to a town band play music that would remind us of our heritage and place in the world.
It’s strange how these remembrances become so present in a moment of reflection. It’s also strange how people I never met can touch me. Another remembrance was visiting the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington D.C., a war that I was a part of and not. The names etched in the marble were mine. Their dreams were mine. Their sacrifices and wonderments were mine. Their families and friends were mine. I was still here and they were not. I was still able to smell flowers, embrace loved ones and question policies.
We stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before us and honor them in the ways we think, speak, act, live, love, learn and remember. We dishonor them in our forgetfulness, discouragement, fear, abdication and lethargy. They are the ones who payed for our ability to stand where they have fallen. Meaning and wisdom come from a reverence and preciousness for every life. Hardness of heart desecrates and destroys what has been paid for by love, loss, joy and sorrow. We must feel Life to reveal it.
It is in remembrance, in experiencing the present moments that our hearts soften with a love for all Life and all it reveals. It is in thanksgiving that love takes on new meaning and life becomes precious. It is with thin skin that a neighbor’s suffering becomes ours. It is in feeling the slightest wind in our souls that we soften and begin to practice the Art of Life that both transcends all while including all. We’re in a ‘season of soul‘ that opens the buds of sleeping flowers and unfolds the leaves of unconscious desires.
I pray that each of you will take a moment, a day, a lifetime to deeply awaken to the experience and practice of the Art of Life; to know the real presence of sacred unity wherever you are. The way we live becomes our testimony to the life we’ve been given and to that which is eventually taken away. Loving companion presence is an ultimate act of remembrance as it touches eternity and embraces all that is, has been and ever will be. It touches the soul of all the elements, all the creations, all the unknowings.
How do you sense this preciousness, this life, this creativity we are called to share? How willing are you to be still, to awaken to the blessings that are ever present? Can you trust that whatever happens can be used to cocreate a new, more loving world? Might the experience of this Presence open your heart in ways that help you become more kind, forgiving and loving? ‘May Remembrance’ is an always and everywhere awareness that’s here as we choose to awaken to it. It’s a softness, a disposition, a gift.
- Give yourself lots of opportunities to be ‘in remembrance’, in an open awareness of the seen and unseen, the known and unknown, the visible and invisible as you make your way through your days. Remember to remember to be still and know. . . .Hmm….
- Reflect on being more ‘thin skinned’ so you can feel Life in a more awakened way. Always remember: “Love is letting go of fear.” Practice feeling the slightest wind.
- Spend some time and effort on the reflection of “Remembrance.” Bring past, present and future together as a here and now reality. Notice how they merge and the feelings that come. It’s very close to ‘practicing presence.’ Notice how all seasons are both one and many. Think non duality, oneness, sacred unity. . . .