It is 5 am in Jefferson, Texas (population about 2,000) and there are no windows in my little hotel room so it’s impossible to see the sky. I don’t know if it is still dark outside or if the dawn is breaking.
Night before last as I was walking back from the conference center on the cobbled streets to my longstanding, somewhat mysterious tiny hotel, the then black starless sky was filled with whooshing bats. I remember bat medicine: death, rebirth, intuition, flying sightless, no eyes seeing where they are going yet moving on confidently from a different kind of seeing nonetheless. I hear tell (the southern way of speaking has infected me) that the very old hotel I am staying at was a saloon and/or brothel and that ghosts linger in the rooms, staying as guests with me as well. Two planes of existence, the past and present, may be simultaneously inhabiting my lovely antique furnished room with its original knotty dark wood floors. I imagine so many feet have walked these boards both booted and barefoot. And so many colorful souls have opened the dusky smelling bureau drawers.
There seems room for us both, (these ghosts and me) though sleeping here isn’t restful, hence my being up writing so early. I don’t sense anything malevolent here, just some lost souls, me included. These days I move between lost and found seamlessly, through deaths and rebirth, old dying ways of being and the unknown newly found ways ahead.
In this last month I have lost two of my dearest friends, one only hours before I boarded the plane to Texas. Lost. On the flight, the sky was filled with clouds yet an intense heavenly light pierced through them and showered me with warmth and accompanying ghostly voices, inspiring me with new ideas and inspirations as I flew blindly through the heavens. Funny that word, inspiration, to breathe in, even as my dear ones have taken their last breaths.
I have been attending an extraordinary weekend of authors, and readers and contributors and collaborators in the world of ideas and words. At first, I felt something familiar, like I don’t fit in somehow. To be claiming my place as a writer among so many brilliant new and seasoned authors, after a lifetime of doing so many other things, is scary. Yet these people have been so unbelievably generous of spirit and deeply supportive. Then on the first night before the keynote, my wise publicist/marketer and friend, Shari, said “You’ve found your people.” Found. Could that be true?
Life is a series of losses and findings, of feeling lost and feeling found. It is quite miraculous these comings and goings.
During this weekend alone, I have lost my keys then found them. Lost a magic crystal wand I was going to secretly hold during the panel I was a part of, (for good luck!) then when the panel was over, I found the wand in the oddest place. Last night I lost my wallet and panicked. How would I fly home without my driver’s license? Then I found it back in my room hiding. Even a pair of earrings disappeared only to be discovered once again. Have these ghosts been playing games with me? No. I believe they have been sending me a powerful message.
At moments this weekend I have lost my confidence and sense of worth, and then something magical happens and I remember who I am and find myself again. I have lost my clarity and then one of the talented authors or keynote speakers says something profound that strikes me in my heart and the veil lifts and my blurred perception becomes clear again.
If I stay open everything I lose gets found, even if it has been slightly transformed in the process.
On my way here, in a heavy downpour, driving my rental car on unfamiliar country roads, I felt lonely. I wanted so badly to call up my precious Joy and tell her where I was heading, what emotional challenges I was facing, what thoughts or beliefs were arising and how I might challenge them and reperceive. And then I see in the distance a rickety ole white church, and as I get closer, I can read the sign. It said-Joy Church. This whole weekend the word Joy has appeared everywhere around me. Found.
Lorraine, too, whispers in my ears as if she is sitting next to me taking notes on her little index cards during the presentations, making sure I don’t miss anything important. Found.
I know I will feel the weight and pain of loss many times until my own death, and I will find what is missing many times as well. The ghosts in my hotel room are here to remind me.
And for Joy and Lorraine, both with eyes the color of the sky and the ability to help me see when my windshield is dirty, you will always be nearby. I might panic and think I have lost you and then a sign will appear to remind me you are right here next to me.
Meditative, transcendent Sisters
Crazy, silly, laughing Sisters
Precious wise Sisters
Solid and Embracing Sisters
Loving the Whole Package Sisters
Forever we are One
Since we found each other