I’m grateful to have hosted today the first live event at my little retreat since 2019. The vision collapsed with the Covid lockdown and beyond, and is testing its wings this summer as it morphs into whatever it will become. Speaking of wings, because there were going to be six extra people here all afternoon, I cordoned off a Phoebe Zone to protect the nestlings but mostly to reassure their spooky mother who flees when anyone other than I walks under the nest. It was effective in reassuring her as she continued to fly in and out even as we filled plates with goodies and glasses with iced beverages from the buffet just beyond the ‘police tape,’ then walked the long way around to the shady seating in the fairy grove.
“Touching the truth of our finite lives in community,” was the theme of the three-hour workshop facilitated by Meg O’Shaughnessy, which included sharing thoughts and experiences, some short writing exercises, a few poems, and a provocative card game, as well as The Three Thoughts meditation which I was grateful to lead. The Three Thoughts, which can be a valuable daily practice upon waking, can be distilled into three words: Gratitude, Impermanence, and Meaning.
Some of the questions discussed by the seven women present included among other topics: why we came to this event, aging and diminishment, how we feel about deaths we have attended, how we would least and most prefer to die (while understanding we have very little control in most cases), where we are in end-of-life planning, advance medical directive and DNR, death with dignity, and all our STUFF!
Our last exercise of the afternoon, which we spent braving ninety-degree heat in 20 mph winds, was a game of Go Wish. Meg dealt each of us a hand of five cards, and we chose which we wanted to keep and which didn’t speak to us, and passed those to the person to our right. After several rounds, some snickering and bickering, the passing ended and we each shared one or more of the cards we had kept, sometimes elaborating on why and how these things mattered to us. Above is the hand I ended up choosing to keep: things that I think at this moment would matter at the end of my life.
I’m grateful to have had this time connecting with friends old and new, in this meaningful conversation about the inevitable trajectory of our human lives; indeed of the lives of all beings on this fragile, spinning globe.