As I am approaching the one year anniversary of the death of a best friend Renee, I am recalling a dream I had and that I had the pleasure of telling her in person a few months prior to her death.
Renee and I are sitting at a table. She reaches into her bag and pulls out Magic Rose Honey Jam. She tells me her brother gave it to her as a healing gift and that it has been blessed by monks. We take turns taking bites. It is the most delicious thing I have ever tasted! I feel it on my tongue like a velvet rose petal dissolving into sweet honey that then trickles down my throat. When I take a bite, I begin to see consciousness form into a sacred geometric shape right before my eyes that captures the moment of the bite. The shape then dissolves back into nothing. Renee can see the moment too like we are watching a movie right before our eyes in the space between us. Renee takes a bite and we both see a new geometric shape form in the space between us, then dissolve into nothing. We pass the jam back and forth enjoying several bites and sharing the awe of each geometric pattern that forms. Time and space are irrelevant here. There are only moments that form and dissolve in the way that snowflakes form, then melt. What is shared between Renee and I is the preciousness of life, the dance of polarities, and we are watching, listening, tasting, and feeling in the precious presence that is beyond language.
In the years and months leading up to Renee’s death, I witnessed her shedding layer after layer after layer until she too dissolved into oneness. She shed roles and identities, she shed defense strategies, she shed everything she thought she was and every desire of who she was to become. It was painful to watch and painful for her to experience, but it was the pain of breaking open. It was the pain of letting go. It was the pain of expanding beyond the body and beyond the confines of this space and time dimension. She was transforming into a multidimensional being. She was breaking open to pure light.
In her last days here I laid with her, sang to her, read poetry to her, channeled for her, fed her, and played singing bowls for her. I spoke to her in the improvisational language that is beyond the language of words because I knew we could meet there. She had shed so many layers that she was like a new born baby; communicating through facial expression, body contact, laughter, tears, hand squeezes, eye gazing, moans, and sixth sense awareness. She was the embodiment of pure being and she was a blessing to everyone she touched.
Before she died, I had a foreshadowing dream of the ocean.
I am sitting on the beach with all of my things. Waves from the ocean are crashing and quickly crawling towards me, grasping onto everything I own, and one by one pulling them away. I desperately try to pick up my things and bring them closer inland so that the waves cannot take them. The waves keep moving farther and farther inland until everything I own is gone. The waves grasp my things like gnawing teeth, and swallow them into the vast dark blue devouring force of unknown. I lie down in the sand crying while Joanna Newsom’s lyrics play in my head, “Darling we will be fine, but what was yours and mine appears to me a sandcastle that the gibbering wave takes.”
The dream continues a few days later.
I am standing by the ocean on a rock cliff. I am dancing through mudra and song, blessing Renee and sending her off into the vast unknown of death; I am sending her off into the ocean. I know that she is being welcomed, held, lovingly devoured and dissolved. As she goes, she leaves me with a sage-like observant joke. She encourages me to keep being who I am, while zooming out to show me what I look like from the outside looking in. I look odd and funny to people! She shows me that I will be hilariously weird and misunderstood in the eyes of many people. We laugh hysterically together. I wake up laughing out loud. It is so appropriate that Renee would leave me with a joke!
Upon waking I created a ritual to honor Renee and send her off. I sang, danced, cried, and celebrated. After my ritual I checked my phone and found that Renee had passed in the early morning hours of the night.
Renee had dissolved into oneness with the Ocean, she had merged with the infinite; she was dead.
After Renee died, I too began to feel myself sink and merge with the ocean through grief. I began to feel the water element overtake my entire system. I became one with the emotional and intuitive realm, floating in buoyancy and experiencing deep transformation though tears, moans, groans, and sobs. It was like floating in a strange sensation of utter surrender to control, floating in a strange wash of fog. At unpredictable times, waves of sadness would crash into me and I had no other choice but to let it happen, ride the waves. All I could do was surrender to the waves and allow myself to cry and be held by those around me.
This grief catalyzed a deep transformation. It was washing me clear of my own identities, roles, and defense strategies until I became a supple being not knowing who I was anymore. It was one of the greatest gifts I have ever received. It was a gift in letting go, unlearning and releasing. It was the gift of form dissolving into formlessness, the gift of the exhale after the inhale. It was the gift of treasuring each moment as precious in the way that we took in the magical geometric shapes that appeared before our eyes, because in the next moment, they are gone. From the water forms a precious crystalline shape of intention then, it melts back into the ocean.
Thank you Renee for this gift as well as many others. I will be singing to the ocean and dancing for you in laughter and tears on April 11th. I love you always.
Photo by Jonathan King