In Honor of Bethany Richmond

Dear Friends,

My heart is breaking with the news of the passing of a beautiful, amazing young woman I was honored to meet and know towards the end of her short life on Earth named Bethany Richmond.  She passed into the Spirit World after a long struggle with cancer.  She just turned 29 years old.

The irony is not lost on me that the morning after writing my piece on not wanting to be alive, I get the news that a dear young woman, who very much wanted to live, is no longer.

Bethany dedicated her life to being an advocate for our animal relatives.  Quiet, a little shy, beautiful, her passion came alive when talking about the rights of animals and the importance of a vegan diet.  I only got to spend a little time with her and a few communications via emails, but I feel a huge missing in my heart today, and I am grieving her loss.

And, as much as I deeply appreciate all of the responses people sent to my last posting because I know they are coming from a genuine and caring place, I do not want to sound ungrateful, but no one is telling me anything I do not already “know.”  I “know” where my upset comes from—my thoughts and mind.  I “know” that I am a highly blessed and privileged human being.  I “know” that compared to many, my life is a walk in the park on a gorgeous, sunny day.  I “know” that life is not about outcomes, it is about living.  Not only do I “know” all of this, I have written on and talked about all of these things and so much more, many, many times before.  I appreciate the responses reposting things I have written and said before, helping me re-presence my self in a new way to the old things I already “know.”  And I appreciate the Rumi poems because Rumi is quite possibly one of my all time favorite poets because he was a master at calling forth Love in its most powerful and Divine.

But sometimes, there is just the experience of the feeling, the pain, the overwhelm, the grief, the anger.  Sometimes, for me since I was a little girl, there is this force within me that calls me to take myself out.  It is not a thought so much as it is this force that is overwhelming.  Being born is not some grand philosophical belief, as some feel and have said.  Literally, it is just this thing that happens.  Things are born, die, reborn, to die again.  I “know” that I am just a tiny microscopic blip in a long continuum that may or may not have a beginning or end—we don’t know. EVERYTHING else is a story we make up.  It is about coming up with whatever story works for us that helps us in this wild, unpredictable journey.  Life does not happen for a reason.  Life happens, and then the reason is what me make of it.

For me, as I have mentioned many times before, the story I keep returning to is one of love and service.  It’s actually why I write on this blog.  I don’t write seeking advice, although I deeply appreciate everyone’s care, concern, and desire to contribute, and I am very open to learning something new from others.  I write because I hear from people that sometimes what I write is of service, and service is core to keeping me here.  And I keep returning to love because it is what drives my desire to be of service and because it seems the only thing that calls me to be bigger than I know myself to be.  I keep choosing love.  Why Love?  Why Not?  Because it hurts like hell, that’s why.  And at the same time, it is what helps call me back out of the pain, over and over again.

And, then, Life in all of its wild, random, synchronicity reached out to me yet again, as I sat this morning tears streaming down my face as I received the news of Bethany’s passing, and looked up to see a young woman, probably right about Bethany’s age walking by with a big black, off the shoulder shirt and emblazoned in big, bold white letters…

“LOVE IS EVERYTHING.”

Thank You Bethany for Loving Life so much.

I love you.

julia

Published in: on February 4, 2011 at 10:14 pm  Comments (13)  

To Thine Own Self Be True

Flying through the air.  Knowing I am destroying the planet en route.  I live in a world full of paradox.  No easy answers. Keeps me up at night.  For as long as I can remember, I have struggled with being here.  From what I was told, I was born dead (I don’t remember it : ) and the doctor and assistant in the tiny clinic had to work to revive me and bring me back.

 

Something about that set the tone for my whole life.  Some say, it is because my soul/spirit had some deeper purpose for being here.  For me, I call that version, “crap”; it was because I knew, even then, that I did not want to be alive.  Not here.  Not at this time.   Either way, it is just a story.  What happened was I DOA (Dead On Arrival) and the doctor played God and brought me back—because that is what they are “supposed” to do.

 

My life has mostly been a struggle tinged with moments of joy.  I have felt pain and suffering deeply and intensely overwhelmingly since I was a child.  Dead dog in the lap of a woman sitting in the street keening in Spanish, tears drenching her face and shirt, both covered in blood from her animal friend who had been hit. Child being slapped across the face in the grocery store because she was talking too loudly. Being told I was loved while being beaten, forcibly restrained, and having soap shoved into my mouth because I dared to have an opinion and speak it.  Baby bird I tried to save and failed while it died of malnutrition despite my best intentions.  I could fill pages with grief.  But what’s the point?  And this is the constant question of my life, “What’s the point?”

 

Anyone who has read my blogs, knows that this is a re-occurring theme for me.  I do not write about it to get others reflections.  It never works anyway.  Nothing anyone ever says gives me answer to the unanswerable question of my life, “What’s the point?” I have tried to commit suicide—when I was too young to succeed even with the most valiant of efforts.  I walk around frequently having visions of slitting my wrists and wading out into the warm sea that I love so much so I can become food for Mama Ocean.  And now, the irony is, the only reason I don’t kill myself is because I feel too damn responsible and obligated for this whole world I seem to have created around me.  I, mean, how freakin’ terrible would it be if the woman (that would be me) who constantly says, “Every time you take a breath… a miracle just happened.  Now start living like it.  Start living a life worth the miracle and magic of every breath.” All of a sudden offed herself?!?  I mean, of course, there’s a heck of a lot of people who would actually be quite thrilled.  Some might even read this and start yelling, “Yes!  Do it!  Go For It!” And of course, there are also a whole slew of people who wouldn’t give a damn one way or the other.  But it’s all the other people whom I can’t seem to shake as the ghosts of my dead future.  So, I continue to live for them.  Which is so pathetic and ironic.

 

Recently, I had an experience where my heart broke yet again, feeling like it was shattering into shards like knives that kept cutting me more and more.  Because I do my best to live my life as car free as possible, I had to rent a car for this particular trip, and as I drove back to the place I had been staying, I started praying and begging and pleading with the Universe to have someone lose control of their vehicle and smash head-first into me, killing me not them of course.  And when that wasn’t working I figured it was because it’s not fair to wish crisis and tragedy on someone else, so then I started praying and asking that something uncontrollable happen to the car I was driving, so I would wreck and die, but it not be on purpose, so I wouldn’t have to answer to the voices in my head about being one big tragic, let-down.  I then deactivated my Facebook accounts because at least that way I could experience a virtual death, which is the closest thing I have right now.

 

Pretty pathetic, huh?  I get so damn tired of this rewind, play of my mind and life.  There is no answer to this question that haunts me and tears and claws at me throughout almost every day.  For me, life in and of itself is not worth sticking around for.  My parents had sex, my mom got knocked up, and out I came.  Not some deep religious, philosophical, or transcendental purpose.  It’s called Biology.

 

I came up with this idea, that for me, Love is what makes life worth living for.  So I struggle to keep coming up with something to love to keep me here.  And every time my heart breaks (which is an almost constant in my life) all I can think about is wanting to die.  So I die a thousand deaths to my wish since the day I was born—the wish to die.

 

It really is quite pathetic.

 

Death is the easy part.  Staying here is by far the greatest challenge of my life.

 

For now, I head to the Caribbean, one of the places I go to where, when I am next to the sea, the unanswerable question seems to quiet for a while.

 

One thing I know is that it is ultimately my life and no one else’s and if some day I decide I have had enough, I will post a goodbye note, and then I will go.  It is my life.  It is my right—to live and to die by my motto—“To thine own self be true.”  Even when I struggle with knowing what is true for me.

 

Here’s to all the people who struggle with being radically true and to wondering, “What’s the point?”

 

Love (because that is what keeps me here),

 

julia

Published in: on February 4, 2011 at 5:09 am  Comments (46)  
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