As I start to write the first few words of this blog entry at 4:30am, I can hear the sounds of the birds as they begin their very early morning chorus. A new dawn and a new day has begun as I attempt to word a few thoughts on the very common, seemingly “final”, subject of death.
Death of any kind is a deeply personal thing. Premature death from accidents, violence or disease is particularly disturbing, even to those you do not know. As much as I have been acculturated into previous conditionings and the more unconventional teachings of progressive spirituality, I am affected by death; we all are affected in unpredictable ways, when it arrives at our doorstep.
I just received some news, the kind of news no one really wants to hear. Upfront I need to say, I’m not really interested in writing about the premature death of one of my closest and dearest friends, Louise Thomson to cancer. I’m more interested in celebrating and sharing with you a few of my thoughts; to express in words, the gratitude I have for the gift of her life on mine.
I’ve known Louise for around seventeen years, and it’s been an honor to both experience and witness the unconditional love of this amazing human Being. To see how it has touched not only my own life and heart, but also the lives and hearts of countless others in a hundred, thousand, different ways. This is the fact, truth and joy; I was able to experience untold blessings as a result of meeting and befriending Louise Thomson.
If you have been reading this blog or, if you have read my book ZEN Shredding, you might remember from the “acknowledgments” page, the name Louise Thomson. In it I wrote:
“To Louise … thank you for your continued friendship over these many years. The courage and conviction you have so easily expressed in your life has influenced and inspired me deeply in unforeseen ways…”
You can’t not be around an incredible human being for that length of time and not be influenced in some way. I consider meeting and befriending Louise a real miracle in my life. I have expressed before in my writings how rare, how unique and how “special” it is to finally meet someone who “gets you” totally ~ unconditionally. It’s a rapport that occurs beyond an intellectual level. It’s a bond that occurs at the deepest of Soul levels ~ at the core of your existence. It’s the juicy, profound, blissful experience of getting to spend time with someone, without the need of the protective masks of your human “I” dentity; to momentarily relate to someone, essence to essence. It’s the gentle reality of being able to show up in your pain and suffering or your purposeful joy, and, by simply being, slip helplessly, freely and religiously into the present moment now.
The pages of my book ZEN Shredding are filled with the influence of Louise. They are in many cases an articulated expression of how she lived her life in her own very unique way. Embedded in many of the insights are the inspirations that came from the hours of intense, intimate conversations that I had the pleasure of experiencing over many years. Conversations that arose from her own worldly experience and the wisdom of the relationship she had to her own Soul. Conversations that informed her directly in how she lived, practiced and breathed her life.
One of the highlights of my creative life, that becomes more meaningful day by day, was last year’s book launch of ZEN Shredding. My greatest joy came in the opportunity to bring together all but a few of my closest friends to celebrate in their own unique way, the launch of my book. Louise was there in all her glory as she shared her own commentary and insight from my book. I felt truly honored by her attendance, I was grateful for her presence. With glee, I marveled at her grace, ease and authenticity, as she shared with us the magic of her own inner knowing.
I find it ironic that it would be a liberated, wise woman who would come into this gay mans life to role model the skills that have lead him to become a fuller expression of a “whole man” than any man could ever do; to unconditionally love, when it’s much easier to react. To listen, when it’s much easier to talk; to be tender with oneself, when it’s much easier to judge, hate, run or hide.
More than anything Louise role modeled consistently how to be truly courageous in life and purpose, when it’s so much easier to bend or break to your real and not so real fears; to thrive in the clarity of your own boundaries, when it’s so easy to be marginalized by the expression of your past conditioning.
Louise was a walker of the talk, and constantly strived to be an impeccable expression in character and passion. She navigated and mastered life through the art of being, strengthened and built on the foundation of her allegiance towards being the consummate expression of her own inner wisdom and experience.
When I think about what made me feel so safe, so loved and so affirmed while in her presence, I realize how rare it is to find another human being that can be emotionally present, to be emotionally available with and for you. I realize that only when “the other” has faced the wound of their own false core/false self that they then can have the ability to draw on the compassion, strength and power of their own essential core, to live life with the greatest of awareness and integrity.
I have lost a treasured friend in my life, but I will always have the memory of experience that will live on in my mind and heart. Life does go on; life willfully goes on, and so will the inspiration and expression of love that was Louise Thomson, that continues to live on in the mind and hearts of the hundred, thousand, others, her life touched…