Life and Death #4 – Witnesses

April 26, 2010

One year ago, I was drowning in death. My younger brother, my favorite cow, my dog, and my beloved cat – all died within a few weeks of one another. Coming so close on the heels of losing my marriage, it made for a tough time.

A few months after that, the electric company came and cut down all the trees along the road, stripping the edge of the yard and the fields to the west. They didn’t care one whit that I loved those trees and was friends with many of them. Nor did it bother them to waste the majority of the wood, running it through a chipper when it was perfect woodstove size.

The storm of three weeks ago took another big tree out of the back yard, and now I am forced to admit that everything changes. Life comes, it rearranges itself, then death comes. Trying to stop the Great Wheel only leaves us feeling powerless and exhausted. Is there a way to ride that wheel with grace and aplomb?

I often hear two opposing stories running through life. One story tells us that we’re only helpless witnesses and that’s all we’ll ever be…nothing more than hapless spectators, trying to “let go and let God.” Yet, many remain all puffed up with assumptions and unconscious attitudes that cry foul when they don’t get what they expected or feel entitled to.

The other story tells us to take charge, that we are the creators of our reality. So we spin out our days insisting that everything is up to us, deluding ourselves with visions of power and control, while skirting the obvious – the secret frustration that steals over us when death appears, or things don’t go as we wish.

Where is the truth? The truth is that we are merely witnesses to the parade unless we develop our power, which can only be done via higher consciousness and a more expansive awareness. Developing that power requires us to let go of every assumption, excavate unconscious attitudes, step back from all that we’ve known, and in effect, die to what we once were.

After sitting in the quiet place of emptiness and death for awhile, things look different. Sometimes I think I see the beginnings of real power – the power to create a new world, a new reality. Yet, I know that power won’t be ours until we begin to act from the heart consistently and do what we are guided to do by love. When everything we do nurtures life, we will move past death and into life. We might even taste true power – a power that only comes with an unswerving commitment to life. ♦