Impact of Terry’s Illness and Passing
I received the news of Terry’s grave illness on Monday, April 5, 2021. I was stunned and felt a deep sadness and, as the months passed and Terry’s health declined, I felt bereft. This feeling stayed with me until two weeks ago today when I learned of Terry’s passing.
On that day, October 30th, I got up very early and, deeply aware of Terry, lit a candle in the dark and began a vigil, waiting for the word that I knew would soon come. I did not anticipate the sorrow- shattering experiences that were on the edge of unfolding in my heart and spirit. Nevertheless, and completely unexpectedly, when the confirmation of his passing arrived, Terry’s presence quite suddenly filled my space – my inner space and my surroundings, and I felt altered in some definitive and lasting way.
While fierce awareness of Terry’s presence remained with me for several days and buoyed my spirit, I was grateful for the moments of participation and sharing of the New Republic of the Heart community leading up to Terry’s funeral, and the inevitable process of accepting the reality of his absence even while still sensing his presence. I began to see that in this mystery there awaited something new that did not exist before.
Consistent with this thought, I have been pouring over my notes from our Wednesday community gatherings and from the State of Emergence and Brightening Every Darkness podcasts. I find myself continuously moved and profoundly inspired on the one hand and, on the other, utterly challenged by Terry to stay focused on the present, trusting the perceptions and insights that arise in the moment as it happens.
I often heard Terry’s invitation to look upon each other with Golden Eyes. Golden Eyes is a phrase that is not part of my lexicon, but I sensed it meant to look from the heart with warmth and affectionate compassion. Then, following Terry’s invitation, I joined the Global Oneness Summit where, late one afternoon, I heard a reference to gold frequency. Succinctly put, this refers to the essence of humanity where we are all already joined together as one. I thought not only am I unaware of this idea, but I do not now feel anything that could qualify as an inner experience of gold frequency. Nor did I think that I had anything gold in my surroundings, but I looked up to see if I would notice anything. To my absolute amazement, while everything around me appeared grey in the fading daylight, the mirror on the opposite wall was brilliantly gold and perfectly beautiful. I grabbed my camera and quickly took a photo of the mirror. Of course, I was reflected in the mirror as I snapped the photo. At first, I wondered how I could avoid this, then I realized that the image was perfect as it was, with myself innocently held by the reflected light and one with the beauty of the whole manifest before me.
Wanting to hold the memory of this experience for as long as I could, I walked outside and turned toward the river, the gorgeous Hudson River on whose banks I am privileged to live. To my astonishment, as the sun sank below the horizon, there was a ribbon of dazzling gold stretching across the entire width of the river. I thought immediately that oneness is not just the essence of humanity. Rather, humanity is one with all that is or has ever been; the sunlight itself, the waters, all the land and water creatures, the mountains, the valleys, all the eyes that behold beauty and all the souls that reflect on its meaning.
Later, I listened to the mystic and scientist Dr. Jude Currivan in her recent (October 20th) Global Oneness Summit interview with Terry, in which they tenderly discussed new scientific evidence that supports a sense of oneness and an ever-clearer grasp of the wholeness, the single system that undergirds the emergent Universe and is characterized by, and proceeding from, the ubiquitous force of love.
They went on to speak of the explosive and utterly pervasive nature of the environmental crisis. Terry urged all who listened to explode their hearts in love and their bodies in service for the sake of the whole including all that is yet to emerge.
Surely, in these days soon after Terry’s passing and strengthened by his still-felt nearness and vision, there lies a golden opportunity and invitation to love and to do all that we can to be of benefit to others and to the Earth.
Mourning All Losses
On October 20th, the New Republic of the Heart Community met to reflect on and share with each other our thoughts and feelings regarding the heart-breaking destruction of the natural world caused by exploitative and unsustainable use of natural resources. The time coincided with the United Nations 15th Biodiversity Conference and its mission to mitigate mass species extinction and ongoing ecosystems loss. With reference to this, Terry spoke movingly of the need to deepen in presence and grow in awareness of the one unbroken reality that is, in order to open possible paths to cultural and economic transformation.
At the time, a number of our members seemed dispirited as we contemplated the magnitude of the problem, so frightening in its relentless and escalating effects. I too felt a bit down but had the idea of inviting a few friends to my home to hold a gathering remembering and mourning the losses of our Planet. I planned this for Sunday afternoon, November 7th, to coincide with the UN Climate Change Conference, COP 16. I invited three (courageous) friends who live nearby, explaining the purpose as helping to create a ceremony of mourning for the losses of the Earth.
I turned my desk into an altar, covered it with beautiful fabric and created a centerpiece with candlelight. Each of my friends brought for the altar an object that concretized her feeling of loss – loss of Indigenous wisdom and knowledge, loss of medicinal plants, devastating loss through strip-mining, and the rapid and alarming loss of bird and animal species. Bit by bit, we finished building the altar, sharing memories and information, finding meaning and beauty in our communal endeavor. We read from the works of Joanna Macy and Gary Lawless. Finally, we celebrated by drinking warm apple cider and a bit of red wine while we nibbled on other good things from the Earth. What we did had a ritual aspect to it that opened us to something deep within, beyond our usual perceptions. The effort seemed right and blessed and hopeful, part of the work of doing what we can to return to a symbiotic relationship with the more than human world by generating spiritual energy and insight.
While preparing this ceremony I investigated the website https://www.rewild.org/. This is an excellent resource, featuring an exquisite short film as well as other resources. I find it hopeful and energizing and recommend looking at it.
In addition, November 30 is the day of the International Species Extinction Commemoration. It will also mark the one-month anniversary of Terry’s passing. One with others around the Earth, finding a way to deeply mourn lost species would be a fitting way to honor Terry, consciously drawing on the potency of love for all that is now and for the emergent future.