Monday, December 20, 2010

BOOK SYNOPSIS - Messages from Jason


It was hard, and it happened later than I had planned, but the book synopsis is written and is being submitted to spiritual book publishers.
Thank you to Jason, to all of you who have supported me in this journey, and to all of you who benefit from these messages. It is a gift to me to know that Jason has been a gift to you.

Messages from Jason - A Mother's Spiritual Grieving Journey

There are so many times when I feel like I'm submerged in thoughts and tiny things that accumulate in my head. I start to feel hot and thirsty and overwhelmed like time collapsed into a single second and it's all happening righthererightnow. But then I hear the leaves rustling around me like waves, and I feel a wind brush past me like a soft white sheet, and I breathe the scent of quintessential peace and presence and the comfort it brings. And in this open field things start to expand again.... And now is just... now. – Jason Foster 7/9/09

I never imagined I would lose my son at such a young age, my only child.
I certainly never imagined that losing the most precious being in my life would prove to me that there is no such thing as loss.
Now I am certain that I am here on this earth to spread the messages I received from Jason after he passed from this earth plane at the age of 17.
From the depth of pain has surfaced awe.
Love is the only thing that exists.



Jason was and is an amazing soul. I started receiving his messages the day he died. In the midst of that fresh grief, I woke up in the middle of the night and was moved to write. The pen seemed to move on its own. There was so much to receive. His spirit was so powerful; I cried from the beauty more than from the grief. I wrote every day for months.

The grief may be lifelong, but the book is written. The gifts are eternal and enlightening.

“Evening Reds” by Jason Foster, 2009



Jason was a gifted artist and musician in life (http://www.plutonicfluf.com/ ), and he wanted me to get back in touch with my gift of writing, just as he encouraged me in life to pursue my passion for music. His soul chose me in this lifetime, and he knew that I would totally get his messages and feel his spirit very much alive. He is doing important healing work from the other side, I am certain of that.

I find it difficult to write this synopsis, to distill in a short piece the depth of spiritual integration I received that I would like to pass on to others. The messages “came in” in a very sacred way, and I feel strongly that they should be kept sacred by passing them on intact. I first shared them with close friends on email, and then started a blog, http://www.jasonmichellefoster.blogspot.com/. The messages have had profound impact on many, and I knew they had to be shared more widely.

The first message from Jason was to tell me how free he was without a body. He wanted me to tell everyone that we all limit ourselves in our bodies. He wants everyone to know how big they can be when they follow their passion. He inspired and continues to inspire his friends and hundreds on the internet through his Deviant art account (http://www.deviantart.plutonicfluf.com/) Jason didn’t use the word “spiritual” but he knew how to connect with people through his spirit in a big way. It was easy for him to continue the spiritual connection after he dropped his body.

“Shards of Dreams” - Jason Foster 2009


Jason is a highly evolved loving being. Minutes after I received the news that he had died suddenly in a car accident, I felt his angelic energy rush into me like soft light flashes, and I knew he was fine. He told me energetically, yet very clearly, that he was more than fine; he was exactly where his soul wanted to be to do the powerful work he wants to do. I knew in that instant that I was going to be fine, too, doing what I needed to do here on earth.

Jason’s messages came to me in ways where there was no mistaking his energy. Sometimes they came in with the type of humor he expressed when he was alive. One time he was communicating to me through his computer, and when I told him that freaked me out but that it was quite creative, he said “thank you” and stopped and never did it again. He knew I would get the messages in energetic ways that didn’t freak out his mom. I got them often when I was out in nature, when I happened to find something I had been looking for and realized Jason was handing it to me with a message, when I was reminiscing on great times we shared, when I was listening to his music or looking at his art, when I could feel his energy in cloud formations, and in many other creative ways. Jason was all about power and creativity in life and beyond. There is no mistaking the energy of Jason when it comes in. His energy and his messages come in through his photography and poetry, which will be included in this book.



“Three Benches” – Jason Foster, 2009



I can’t express enough the love and gratitude that I have experienced being connected to Jason’s spirit since he passed. He has taught me that there is no such thing as loss, just change of form. “If we see everything as spirit (energy) transforming from one form to another, then there is no loss and we see abundance and the worth of every living thing” (from the chapter Earth Mother).


My son Jason has helped me to understand that there is only one thing that exists throughout all forms, and that is love.



∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞



Messages from Jason:
I’ve distilled Jason’s messages down to 17, Jason’s earth age.
1. We limit ourselves with our minds; if we believe this, we can see more options to create what we want.
2. Love is eternal; it is the only thing that really exists. Go into your heart, that’s where the important answers are, not our minds. We have access to everything through love.
3. When we send love to others it is magnified and reflected back to us.
4. Know that we are all precious beings, connected by a higher power. Treat ourselves and others as precious and we will feel connected and supported. Be fully who you are.
5. Follow your passion; it will bring you fulfillment. Live your life fully, and this inspires others to live their lives fully. Pay It Forward – Help other people follow their passion, to empower your own.
6. We connect with our loved ones, alive or departed, through our love and fond memories of them, including play and humor. We can “lighten up” to experience the uplifting memories, to feel their energy with us, uplifting us, as if they were right there with us.
7. We communicate with others, alive or departed, through their essence, or spirit, in many non-verbal ways that are often more powerful than verbal. We capture the essence of ourselves and others through art, music, and other creative expression that help us see the beauty and preciousness of everything. Our dreams help us to connect with our essence without being hindered by the mind’s beliefs.
8. There are no rules, there is only the mind and what it chooses to believe. Our pain is a result of not seeing a reality that we believe should be there. That’s our illusion.
9. Gratitude connects us with our heart and helps us to manifest more to be grateful for. Practice being grateful often.
10. If we accept death, we embrace life. We are always changing and we take on and drop identities all the time. If we stay attached to having things stay the same or remaining a certain person, we suffer. Death often happens to serve a higher purpose that might not be clear with our minds for some time. Trust in the cycle of life and death, of cleansing, renewal, and rebirth.
11. Surrender. Let go of the ego and feeling the need to control. Let the love and healing in. Let go of old beliefs and patterns that don’t serve you anymore, and open your heart and your mind to receiving the new that does serve you. We are held by a higher power, the divine.
12. There is nothing to be afraid of. Don’t be afraid of your own shadow, your beliefs that dictate what you experience.
13. Wisdom comes in many forms, and often not what we expect – from dreams (the unknown), from an inner knowing (intuition), from young people (“old souls”), and from nature. Be open to learning new things and ways; lift your filters. Gifts are waiting to be received if we are open to seeing them.
14. We attract and create family, loving community, wherever we are, if we believe this can happen.
15. We are never alone. There is a higher power with us all the time; our guides, angels, and our higher self. You can connect with the essence of your departed loved ones as if they were with you, feeling their love and support. Just because we can’t see it doesn’t mean it ain’t there!
16. Believe in Oneness – There is no separation, we are all connected.
17. Enjoy Being. Practice Presence, releasing your over-focused attention on the past, worries of the future, etc. The ultimate joy is in being in the moment, being present to the now, seeing the beauty of all. This is the secret to happiness.




PASSAGES from “Messages from Jason”:


From Message 1 from Jason, 8/7/09, 3 AM the night of his passing:


His love is so big, and now that he isn't in his body he is limitless. He wants everyone to know that it is so easy to let the love in, and he can help us see how we can become more limitless. He is inviting all of you who know how to connect with him energetically to let him in as fully as you can because he is sending healing energy to the planet from the other side. He was so happy to get through to me, and it was quite overwhelming, I was laughing and crying at the same time. My partner Kule asked me what I can ask from Jason, and I asked him to tone it down a bit so I could sleep. He did, right away, it was amazing. Then I fell asleep. His love is magical.


From Message 8 -The Infinite, 8/14/09 :


Jason - what do we need to know about the infinite?

"Nothing - Just Be It. If you try to know it, you lose the connection. We are limitless, but we limit ourselves with our minds.”


From Message 22- Surrender, 8/22/09:


I awoke and heard “There’s Nothing Left.”

Writing it now it means to me that there is nothing left to do but surrender.I’m feeling great peace and love, and now with a sense of calm. It’s the feeling I’ve had when I’ve completely surrendered and I just know everything is perfect. It doesn’t come from my mind, but from my being. I’ve surrendered to the healing that is available from Jason and from my relationship with him and what he has taught me.


Jason is asking all of us to surrender and let the healing in.


From Message 24 – the Big Nothing, 8/24/09 :


This morning I was going through the box Jason kept bedside and found a poem on folded up paper that he must have written this past year, since I gave him the box a year ago. It was about the big nothing, the same title of a story I made up for him when he was about 10 yrs old. Lost my breath once again.

Blajhu – poem by Jason Foster, c. 2008-2009

In wet

Plunging down

into

the deep unknown

Blinded

Not knowing what’s

In front of you

or behind

Submerge

into nothing

Not knowing what’s there

and what’s not

Nothing

and everything

is there for the use

of no one

Falling

Behind of something

in front of nothing

while you drop relentlessly

Two in front of nothing

and from nothing I’m behind

Eager

Leaving the scent

of the light

from the liquid behind you

Swimming

Up above you

Where the light shows bright

You’re being brought

Touching

the scent of the brightness

that you had once lost

And finding it shattered

Leaving

Free to go, I suppose

as I get sucked down

And shot to the sky

Flying

I hover over

the sea

And watch it fly by

Two in front of nothing

And from nothing I’m behind

As I’m sucked down from my steady pace

Contained in a big black nothing


From Message 28 – We Are One, 9/27/09:


I watched the scarlet-yellow painted leaf that I threw into the stream move into a deep hole. It got caught up in eddies and swirled slowly to the bottom and the color faded to emptiness. I trusted I would see it again, and I waited patiently to see it churn upward in the cross-currents to resurface with its sunny colors. The eddies took it down again, reminding me of my emotional roller coaster. I prayed for surrender, trusting completely that this beautiful spirit would resurface with every submerge, in its own time, and be carried with the flow. With that energy of surrender held, I witnessed the sudden catapulting to the surface and with one quick smooth stroke the leaf glided glisteningly across the rocky ledge over a waterfall, where it continued its dance in the joy of being.


From Message 30 – Being, 10/1/09
I asked Jason what gives him the most joy where he is. As soon as I said it, I realized how silly the question was. In the world of spirit there is no such thing as joy or sadness or pain or peace. There is just what is. Being – with no judgment or labels or expectations. Just experiencing what is, with wonder.


From Tsunami, 11/10/09:


I believe that when someone dies, enormous energy is passed through those connected with that soul, like a tidal wave or an atomic explosion. There is the experience of shock and disbelief. There appears to be major loss and unfairness. So much crashes in on us – feelings, memories, and thoughts that are so intense and hard for our nervous systems to handle. This includes the overwhelming love that sweeps over us. There is also so much that floats to the surface, after the huge waves churn us up. It washes up on the beach, waiting to be cleared. With each burial or burning of debris, there is a clearing of energy, making way for the renewal and building of what is desired. It’s a lot of work. It’s exhausting. It’s grief.


From Grieving Affirmations, 12/31/2009:


I accept Jason’s death; it was his soul’s choice on his soul’s path. The higher plan may not be completely known to me, and I trust in his evolution and in what he is offering from the other side. I celebrate Jason’s life and spirit.


From Message 35 – Move In, 1/9/10:


It feels like time to move on, and the message I got from Jason today is to move in.

I’ve grieved hard, I’ve retreated and integrated, and now it’s time to do the work of my life. To move more fully into who I am.


From The Observer, 8/6/10, 1 yr after Jason’s passing:


I found myself watching Jason’s ashes swirl in the water. A year ago this was a powerful shamanic experience, feeling his energy in the ashes, letting it release the intensity of grief. This year it was different. I watched the ashes in interest. I observed the texture. I watched my emotions come up – missing him, wishing he hadn’t died, feeling the fatigue of so much grief over the past year, feeling the joy of having him in my life. The ashes, the emotions, they were all dust, they were all experiences that were what they were. No judgment, just observation.

I looked around Jason’s cove, feeling his presence. The feeling of presence wasn’t separate from me as it was in the past. He was watching as I was watching; we were the Observer together, there was no separation.


From A Year to Live, 8/22/10:


I died when Jason died.

Now I have the opportunity to re-live the way I choose to.


From Travelling with Jason, 10/4/10, on a continuing cross-country sabbatical seeking a new place to live with my partner Kule:


I continue to get clear signs that Jason is with me. At Yellowstone Falls I felt Jason’s unmistakable power in the flow of tons of clear water. At Olympic National Park during my visit with the sacred Sitka tree, the grandmother spirit blessed me with her love and acknowledged the amazing love I have for Jason; Jason showered his love for me through this ancient wise tree.

These were potent experiences. They brought me back to the place of trusting in the unseen, in the incredible energetic connection we can have with each other in life and after life.

It's awesome travelling with you, Jason.












Sunday, October 17, 2010

Merging with Jason

I am in California, where Jason thought he might go to college. We just visited my brother Al’s family’s near Lake Tahoe that is a museum of Jason’s art, hung in every room. Jason is with me everywhere I go, and recently I had some profound experiences that remind me that we are not separate.

I have always wanted to go to Mt. Shasta to feel its vortex energy. A week ago, sitting in meditation at the headwaters of Panther Meadows, a place of Indian and Western sacred ritual, I realized I hadn’t thought of Jason since I landed in Mt. Shasta a few hours before and through the beautiful hike up to the meadows. I thought that was significant, and immediately I connected with Jason and saw some clear images.

Jason was an eagle, soaring through the mist of the mountain, free and powerful. The eagle is an appropriate totem for Jason. I was soaring with him, as a condor, a symbol of death, release, and transformation. We flew together for a while, until it felt we were one winged being. My semi-lucid mind recalled the Peruvian prophecy that at this time in our evolution it is important for the eagle and the condor to fly as one.

Coming out of meditation I felt lightness I hadn’t felt in some time. The previous day I was in some heaviness, looking out at a valley by Lassen volcano that had been destroyed by a fire in August 2009, at the time of Jason’s passing. Now I felt that heaviness gone, and I was in inspiration. There is something very powerful about connecting with Jason in this way, as we are merged into one being.

Two nights ago Kule and I joined an Osho group with our friend Rob (Atmaram) in Santa Cruz to do the Quantum Light Breath meditation. I set an intention to release all judgments, especially those I have about myself and what I can create. Jason’s presence was so palpable that another meditator shared that she felt it, too, not knowing about Jason at the time.

During the meditation my pelvis was being rocked rhythmically in a highly energetic fashion, helping release old stuff, and feeling a connection with Source very deeply. Jason was there, helping me rock and roll.

After the meditation I shared my experience and Rob, who had been resonating with Jason’s messages this past year, shared that there seemed to be something unique about the merging that I have been sharing with Jason. Hearing him express this, I felt some excitement, some recognition that this is happening, that Jason and I chose to do this at a soul level.

Yesterday, we walked through the ancient redwood forest and found a 1000-2000 yr old tree that had survived a fire. The inside was hollowed out and charred completely, and the outside was a magnificent giant living tree. Looking up through the inside, I felt very strongly the qualities of death and life co-existing in this tree. It was more than beautiful, it was peaceful ancient wisdom. It was telling me that death and life are not separate, that forms change but do not cease to exist.

The bottom line (or the Top Line) is that we are all one, we are not separate, and we are eternal . My experience with Jason has cleared my doubts about that, and it helps me to pass on this understanding to others by simply sharing Jason’s story.

I am feeling the call of getting to work to publish the book about Jason’s messages, to share this in a bigger way.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Earth Mother, 10/5/10

On this beautiful lush land in Lost Valley, Oregon I was thinking of Jason and being with grief I hadn’t felt in a while. Being here gave me the opportunity to slow down from travel and social activities.

As soon as I started connecting fully with Jason’s spirit on this land, I felt another presence, an omnipresence that was rich and beautiful. I continued walking on the Cedar trail of this permaculture education center outside Eugene Oregon. We came across two tombstones in the woods from the 80’s, when the land belonged to a Christian camp.

Looking at the dates, the first tombstone was of a girl who died at 22 yrs. The second tombstone was for a baby who died at 7 months. Instantly the tears came. I wept for the loss of these children. I felt the grief of the parents who lost these precious young ones. I know what this kind of grief is. I knew it wasn’t a coincidence that I came across these tombs on my first walk here. I also knew right away why these children were buried in this remote wooded area, nestled among trees, in front of a prominent tall tree stump that symbolized death and rebirth, nurtured by mother earth.

A sign was on the ground next to the tombs, barely visible in the grass. It read: “From Death comes Life.”

I paused to be with the grief and to feel the omnipresent energy I felt earlier, now even more strongly. This is the divine feminine energy, mother earth. She is loving these children. She is loving all of us. The message was so clear – the land and all life on it here loves everyone who stays here to nurture her back, tilling her soil, caring for her animals, appreciating the beauty, teaching others how to connect with nature in this way.

I got my first class in permaculture at Lost Valley, from the Earth herself.

Moving up the trail to a sunny area, I meditated for a while. When I opened my eyes I noticed a small fungus growing out of decaying matter. It showed me the cycle of life, death and new life. As I studied this small plant, I received a definition of permaculture, of what I call “Personal Permaculture”:

“If we see everything as spirit (energy) transforming from one form to another, then there is no loss and we see abundance and the worth of every living thing.”

These have been Jason’s messages all along, and his passing has given me a clearer view of these energetic connections, and an understanding of how there is no loss when we die, but a change in form. Jason has proven this to me; I have no doubt.

If we can connect energetically with all life, the earth, plants, animals, and other humans in this way, then our fears about loss dissolve and we can live life more fully and create more aliveness within ourselves as well as all we perceive outside ourselves.

This is personal permaculture. I don’t see how we can truly live in harmony with all that is without a belief in this energetic connection, without some spiritual connection. Permaculture education seems to be weighed toward the science and experimental observations, with reference to listening to what nature has to tell and show us. Perhaps there will be greater and greater focus on the spiritual aspect, back to the indigenous wisdom.

I’m curious about pursuing the spiritual path of permaculture, and will be returning to Lost Valley to spend some time here with the land and the knowledgeable and creative people who contribute to this special place.

On our third and last day of our first visit here, I walked along the creek trail and found a soft log to sit on. As I picked up my phone to make a call, it immediately didn’t feel right to be using electronic technology, but rather to be with nature here. I looked up and saw a doe and her baby deer feeding across the creek. I hung with them until they moseyed off to find more food. Back at the parking lot as I was packing the car, I met another mother with her baby who stayed in visual relaxed contact with me for several minutes, it seemed.

The mother energy is strong here, and it has reminded me of how strong my own mother energy is, and my connection with my soul child.

It’s sweet hanging out in Bambi country with Jason.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Travelling with Jason

We’ve been on the road over five weeks, and it feels like I’m past due to get home, although I am on a roll and excited about continuing on. I’ve been used to travelling a few weeks and headed back home, to Jason.

This journey I’m not headed back, and Jason is travelling with me.

Jason is everywhere. He’s taking photographs of Badlands, mystical trees, and weird mushrooms. He’s hanging with the cool young people. He’s checking out the amazing artistic creations. He’s playing with the street musicians. He’s selling his photographs at the community marketplace. Jason would have loved the northwest cities of Seattle, Portland, and Eugene, with all the diversity, openness, and friendliness here.

The emptiness caught up to me today when I heard the marimba playing on the street corner leaving the farmer’s market. The young man was playing a song that sounded very much like Jason’s composition; it stopped me in my tracks. As I walked away on weak legs, I sat with the pain and let it flow out with my tears. Back to being in the moment with my new dear friends, I also reflect on the importance of acknowledging the pain as it arises.

Jason was hanging with us when we visited Ben, Noah, and Samara at Orcas Island. We had so much fun, I forgot the pain of his absence, with the exception of a few moments in which we shared some grief together. Jason was definitely inspiring Ben to do the water phone ritual with water dragons in Crescent Lake. We got randomly silly and ridiculous together like old times, now with Kule joining in. Jason was enjoying watching us play.

Every time I meet someone who talks about their grown up children and what they do together, which has been quite often in this trip, I feel some pain of my own loss. I miss seeing Jason continue to evolve in his human body. I miss sharing my life with him. I miss him. Simple.

I also continue to get clear signs that Jason is with me. At Yellowstone Falls I felt Jason’s power in the flow of tons of clear water. At Olympic National Park during my visit with the sacred Sitka tree, the grandmother spirit blessed me with her love and acknowledged the amazing love I have for Jason; Jason showered his love for me through this ancient wise tree.

These were potent experiences. They brought me back to the place of trusting in the unseen, in the incredible energetic connection we can have with each other in life and after life.

It's awesome travelling with you, Jason.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Message 39 - Forever




“I’ll hold you in my heart forever.”

I got the message from Jason in a laminated photo card from 2003 that I found as I went through the last box I was whittling down, packing to leave the next day on our cross-country journey, vacating the house in time for the new tenants. It was in a box of momentos from a chaotic bureau drawer that had not been searched since before we moved to Ipswich. It’s not something I would normally keep, a leftover from the bundled package of 5th grade school photos from Lifetouch, and the kind of souvenir I would judge as being a bit chintzy or something to that effect (well of course parents hold their children in their hearts.)

I know now why it was kept. It had a message for the future for me.

Jason is holding me in his heart forever.

Jason is here for me. He is helping me prepare for my big journey. He is telling me that everything is in my heart and in his heart. There is nothing else that is really important.

Earlier in the evening when the walls of Kule’s room resurfaced after last-minute removal of furniture, we discovered another message posted on the wall.

How in heck did we ever miss seeing that after we moved Jason’s bed? We saved all the poetry and funny creative sketches Jason had posted on his walls, but we didn’t see this one. This was an intimate and heartful one not intended for public viewing, but meant for us to see it at the right time. This was the time, to give us one last message from his wall. I swear he posted it after Kule moved in, I wouldn’t be surprised!

With those two messages, I flowed through the late hours of the night finishing our packing and lifting the last few boxes into the attic. Our home is also holding us in her heart, holding our stuff, should we need it again some day before we sell the house.

It is now 4 days after leaving our home in Ipswich. I am sitting on the riverview porch of Kule’s brother Kim in Wisconsin, feeling the caress of the sun and breezes. It’s time for R&R, after some intense packing, long drives, and sweet socially active times with my college friend Monica in Ohio and Kule’s brother Jon’s family outside Chicago.

I shed a few tears of grief, of gratitude, of relief, of awe. We are really doing this. We are homeless and we are home-ful. We are on a journey similar to what I was supporting Jason to do before going to college, and it’s a journey I have wanted to take for some time.

Jason is inspiring me every step of the way.

Forever.

Love,Mom

Sunday, August 22, 2010

A Year to Live


It’s been a year since Jason passed to the other side, and I have learned so much about how to live.

Before Jason died, my beloved Kule and I were reading a book together by Stephen Levine called “A Year to Live” about living your life as it were your last year. We were inspired to follow the book, and after Jason died we went all out. Certainly there was a strong message that life can be very short, and what are we waiting for? I had been planning to move (or at least explore) outside New England when Jason graduated, from the time we moved to Ipswich five years ago. I had mentally planned out getting rid of my furniture and whittling down my things to do the move. It’s finally happened in this past year, and it feels so-o-o-o good. Jason’s pretty excited about it, too!

Over the past year I’ve written other blog entries about death and rebirth. I died when Jason died. Now I have the opportunity to re-live the way I choose to. Not that I wasn’t living how I wanted to live in most respects. I am so grateful to have the supportive and loving friends and family that I do. The photo above beams it all.

I’m feeling more freedom amidst the chaos of moving and preparing my business and myself for a new lifestyle, being on the road exploring with my favorite travel companion. Jason will be with us, too, as we drive through cool vistas, as I imagine stopping every 5 minutes for him to take a shot. Actually, I just decided I will ritually stop once in a while to give him that chance. We always had fun travelling together, and that isn’t going to change.

We are starting a journey, and that isn’t new, either. We are always starting a journey, every morning we wake up, in every moment and every breath. During our wonderful sendoff party with friends we did a ritual where each of us shared the title of the new chapter in each of our lives. We are all launching journeys together.

I’ve studied a bit of Feng Shui and Vastu (the Hindu version) and have felt the improvement of energy when clutter is cleaned up. I’m noticing now how light I feel. I’ve just released so much old energy from the past, and I’m not weighted down to move more freely. Getting the leased signed with our new tenants greased the skids. Having our sendoff celebrations (at our home and at the beach kirtan last night) dissolved the skids – we are ready to roll!

There has been so much to get in order before we take off, I won’t bore you with the details. All I know is at every step I wondered why I didn’t do this years ago. I’ve even digitized my photographs to lighten our load and to post and email them to Jason’s friends and family, a little at a time, little surprises for his friends in coming months. I finally backed up my recording studio, to encourage me to record my own compositions; ya think Jason has anything to do with that, huh?!

In the book “A Year to Live” Stephen also talks a lot about not only getting your house and business in order (for yourself and not to burden your successors with how to sort through it all), but also your emotional energy. What unfinished business do I have with others? I was so fortunate to not have any unresolved items with Jason, although he was certainly available after he passed to do that in spirit. I’m not sure if I uncovered all of the unfinishedness yet, but I certainly have found myself in a gratitude-plus state of acknowledging the preciousness of every person in my life, and all the gifts they bring, and perhaps gifts they could bring out even more.

Jason’s message “Follow Your Passion” goes a long way!

Bon Voyage, dear ones!
Love,
Michelle and Jason

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Hanging Out


When Jason was ill his junior year with mono, I asked him what cheered him up the most, in addition to doing his art and music. He said he liked hanging out with his friends, and he was really missing that. When I asked him what they did, he said they just hung out , and he was annoyed by any other questions. I thought I understood the message at the time, but I really get it now.

Jason was a master at hanging out. He was present, in the moment, enjoying the beauty and creativity of that instant. I’m getting it, and I’m doing it so much more in my life since Jason passed.

I hung out with Jason and his friends during the candle-lit walk through Ipswich, crossing the river a few times, a beautiful procession of lit faces sharing fond memories of their dear friend. It was a gorgeous night but very windy. A few of us noticed how Jason liked playing with us, getting us to focus keeping our candles lit and laughing about it, just like the intense heat of his funeral ceremony. Jason liked fire. He needed more of it when he was in his body, and he’s got it now.

I noticed my mind wondering where we were going, when we were going to stop and share memories by the river, wondering if Jason’s younger friends really wanted us older generation there, wondering if I “should” be spending time with my friends that invited to join us, as we flowed chaotically through town, putting out a plastic candle-holder fire along the way. I watched my mind and let it all go with ease.

This wasn’t about having an agenda. This was about hanging out. I learned it from you, Jason.

I totally get how Jason liked hanging with his friends. They’re pretty cool, artists like him. I enjoyed just hanging and listening to the sweet and funny sharings about their memories of Jason and how he inspired them and continues to inspire them in their lives. I enjoyed hanging with my friends in our home after the walk, not needing to organize anything, just talking, hugging, eating, laughing, and a bit of crying together.

Jason and I had 17 years of great hanging out time together. He taught me how to play, how to tune into my creativity, how to be in the moment and see beauty everywhere. I wasn’t always a patient student; I had work to do , I was distracted, I didn’t know how to handle his intense energy when he was bored and had to find something creative to do. I chose Jason in this lifetime to teach me how to hang out. Our best hangout times when he was a teenager and wasn’t into spending much time or words with me was to show me his latest art and music, to drive together and listen to great music we both loved, to hang out in the hammocks, or to throw a ball around with no game rules. I’ve enjoyed hanging out with new friends during our visits to intentional communities, and I feel Jason with us.

It was always a joy to witness Jason’s joy hanging out with his friends, from his first playgroup to his Beverly kid commune with Katie, Jackie, Hayley, and Alex, his elementary/middle school school friends Dustin, Gus, and Noah, and moving on to new artist friends in Ipswich in 8th grade. Hanging with his friends the other night, it felt like Jason with there, and I felt the joy. It was so great to have Gus and his mom Kerry stop by before the walk started, and to see Audrey and Casey in their black dresses together. I enjoyed getting to know more of Jason’s friends, such as Aliey and Samille, during the walk. I jumped up and down seeing Dustin, just back from China, and Evan and Willis, who came to my house after working late and missing the walk. Jason always loved surprises, and so do I.

I’ve spent a lot of time hanging in Jason’s studio since he passed. I’ve noticed how the energy has shifted from grief to celebration over the past year. I hang out with his photos and art on the walls, which will be taken down soon to be put in storage for our upcoming journey. I notice how I am feeling more neutral about this, knowing that the physical form of Jason, his photos, and his framed art, is just one way of staying connected with him. I’m getting the message that I am really ready to move.

Jason smiles watching me hang out, following my passion. I like hanging with him anytime, anywhere.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Message 38 - Be the Observer


Today is one year since Jason’s passing. In his usual style, he gave me a creative anniversary gift.

I was in the water in Gloucester in Jason’s Cove, swimming in his ashes as I had done about a year ago. I had received a strong message from him a few months ago to release the rest of his ashes, to release attachment to his form. I decided to cheat and keep a small amount in one of his treasure boxes, the one with the coyote in the wild southwest colors. Family and a few friends were with us. I cried on the way, passing by the place in Essex that Chuck and I had always met to pick Jason up from each other. It felt so strange revisiting this day of passing, and I was determined to focus on the celebration of his passing into the light; that felt good to me.

I found myself watching the ashes swirl in the water. A year ago this was a powerful shamanic experience, feeling his energy in the ashes, letting it release the intensity of grief. This year it was different. I watched the ashes in interest. I observed the texture. I watched my emotions come up – missing him, wishing he hadn’t died, feeling the fatigue of so much grief over the past year, feeling the joy of having him in my life. The ashes, the emotions, they were all dust, they were all experiences that were what they were. No judgment, just observation.

I looked around Jason’s cove, feeling his presence. The feeling of presence wasn’t separate from me as it was in the past. He was watching as I was watching; we were the Observer together, there was no separation.

Observing the rose petals float to the far end of the marsh was felt so peaceful; it felt like Jason’s energy. He reminded me to just be and observe. I really got in that moment how Jason was most of his life. He knew how to be and observe. He was always connected to Source in this way. I connect to Jason by just being and observing.

My playfulness took over as other dear ones joined me to swim.

The sacred puja ceremony Chuck led after the swim brought me visions of understanding we are on this earth for a short time. Our energy, our spirit, our soul, lasts forever. Jason is with me in a bigger way than most earth-bounds; he is teaching me to think outside the box, to think outside the body, where it’s all at.

I am blessed to know that the best way to honor my dear son and spirit friend Jason is to be and observe without judgment. Everything has beauty; he certainly knew how to capture that in his photography.

As I swam today I observed the tall green blades of the marsh grass. It reminded me of what his friends Aliey, Samille, and Audrey wrote, the ones who have planned the candle-lit walk to the river we will have this evening:

“The world turns, the sun shines, the grass grows, the birds sing-all of these are simple things that we all know. We've always known them, and we always will.

A lot of people walk by a single blade of grass, without even thinking about the fact that it's there. But really, who would? No sane man would stop to greet a mere piece of grass, which could be plucked so easily from the ground.

Jason was a sane man, and let me tell you, he would stop to greet anybody and give them a hug. It didn't matter who they were, or what kind of a person they were, he was always there to hug, and to talk to. It didn't matter if he was jogging down the hallways of the school, ponytail flapping in the wind and a fantastic grin on his face, he could always stop for a moment and say hello; even to a blade of grass.

He was indefinitely in love with art. It didn't matter what form-whether it was musical, literate, visual, or any other form you could imagine, he loved it, and he lived it. He's absolutely famous in the area, and to some people even all over the world, who have viewed his work either in local shows, or on his DeviantArt account, which is http://plutonicfluf.deviantart.com/.

Just like grass, Jason was gone far too quickly, far too easily, and way before he had finished growing. You could ask just about any kid in town where they were when they heard the news on August 6, 2009. Ipswich, being such a small town, everyone knows almost everybody else. The community was rocked, and people from all over came to Jason's ceremony. The room was hot from humidity and grief, but no one minded at all. At the end, everyone received rose petals, and many still have them.

Here we are, a year later. A year of grief, forgiveness, growth, laughter, birthdays, graduations, pain, change, love, and so much more. A year of Jason. So many people have dreamt about him countless times, others have only gotten to see him once. Others haven't seen him in their dreams at all; instead, he's come to them while they're awake. He's still loving as much as he ever did, if not more. He's helped Samille rekindle her love for performing arts. He guided me, Aliey, through a horrendous panic attack during the MCAS; I don't know how I would have gotten through it if he hadn't been there holding my hand the whole time. I know he's visited countless others in dreams and more. Jason, you just coming to say hey has helped a ton of people get through everything, and thanks.

To celebrate the fantastic 17 years that we were blessed to spend with Jason, we're going on a stroll on the night of his passing. Whether you knew him very well or not, everyone is welcome. Please bring a candle, we're beginning at Audrey's house at 8pm and then walking downtown, and to either the Green Street Bridge, or the Ebsco Publishing Company Riverwalk, (we're still trying to decide which would be better,) where everyone will blow their candle, and say a memory of Jason and/or a prayer to him. Then, everyone's going back to Audrey's to share an evening of memories, love, and Jason.

You're amazing Jason. We've always known that, and we always will.”

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Back to Nature

Written during our visits to Earthaven in Asheville, NC and Anahata in Floyd, VA

I’m getting back to nature. Back to my nature.

(See dolphin picture at http://www.geocities.com/laurelsong2/moreart.html - We stayed with Laurel Song of Anahata; her home was alive with the colors of her art and furnishings.)

Living more primitively than I’m used to has brought up some challenges during the launch of our intentional community exploration. The heat wave, for example….I want to give up AC, but if I had been home at that time I’d have been turning that electricity-hogging machine on – because it’s there! This nature wonderland is raising my wonder. The more I stay with the experience without judgment (hard or bad or crazy, etc) the more I can tune in to the Source of this experience. Being one with nature is something I’ve always understood but haven’t experienced as deeply.

I’m humbled.

The young people (and older “ageless” people) who travel the country to be in Rainbow Gatherings know how to be at ease in the flow of nature. They thrive on the gentle chaos. I allow myself to feel what it would feel like to be these beautiful young hippies, at one with nature, at one with each other, not questioning what’s possible, not worrying about how they will be fed, not getting caught up in mainstream indoctrination. It feels really good. I allow that feeling to create my current reality. Before I know it I’m enjoying the sweat, the soiled clothes, the dirt under my nails, nature’s bathroom, and even offering my blood to the mosquitos in exchange for building tolerance and immunity to the itching (it’s working!).

I think about how much Jason would love hanging with these wild creative young people, so much at home with oneness. Then I remember how little he loved hanging with bugs and other outdoor discomforts, and laughed to myself about it. I shared a few tears with a few Anahata dwellers who were moved by Jason’s photography and music, and who totally got how creative and one-world-focused he was. They felt Jason’s presence and were grateful for having gotten to know him through me. We enjoyed playing music together, getting into the kind of creative flow Jason thrived on. Music is my nature.

When I was told about the Firefly primitive arts conference that many Earthaven folks were attending over the weekend, I caught myself with some prejudices about it being a wild hippy fest, focused on bad-mouthing the earth-destroying culture. I was humbled once again when I arrived to a well-organized, welcoming, and diverse group of workshop facilitators and participants. I immediately dropped any notion that I wouldn’t “fit in” and thoroughly enjoyed my time participating in workshops, cooling off in the lake, having brief (walk-by smiles and hugs) to longer communications with open-minded and educated folks like me (only different). The bio-gas talk was professionally done by a long-haired “chemistry geek” who was able to reach both scientist and farmer alike. I’m inspired to not only compost but to harvest methane from it for cooking – I recall being excited to see the larger scale methane generators at Rancho Margot in Costa Rica earlier this year.

There seems to be no limit to how much more we can get back to nature!

During our visit to Anahata, a small privately-owned community in Floyd, VA, we joined a community pot-luck and presentation event hosted by several organizations from all around the Appalachian mountains. I was inspired to experience the solidarity of the movement to end mountain-top removal by coal companies. Coming from New England, far from coal country, I felt ashamed that I never knew that this was happening, destroying mountains, watersheds, and communities even more quickly than before with these cost-savings techniques. The wonderful blend of positive political activism and one-world approach brought me hope that major change can happen when we focus on what we want and don’t get caught up in fear about what we don’t want. Floyd is a community evolved in sustainability as well as spiritual connection, to the earth and to all. Recognition that we all take responsibility for the capitalism (dependence on fossil fuels) that created the environmental issues around coal mining was touching and inspiring.

By reclaiming our own nature we can get our nature back.

I’m learning more about permaculture. I’m not into the details of it yet, but I’m getting the energy of it. It’s about our energetic connection, how our Source tunes into the Earth’s Source. It’s a wonderful bridge of eco-mindedness and spiritual focus. There’s even a famous holistic-health author living at Earthaven, Rudy Ballentine, who is finishing up his next book on the connection between Tantra and permaculture. That’s so cool; there is so much cool stuff happening in the Asheville area. I’m definitely looking for a community who is both focused on sustainability and spirituality. It’s not a primary focus right now at Earthaven, but the personal growth and spirituality focus is present and growing.

I was fascinated by the sign “The Light Center” posted on a dirt road in the middle of nowhere on a windy mountain road near Earthaven in Black Mountain, NC. I’m really getting how magical the mountains are here (the oldest range on the continent), and I figured this center must be doing some kind of research about the energy here. I was right. We stopped by at the lodge that rents out rooms at this natural retreat center and met a couple getting ready to have dinner. They welcomed us with beaming light. The man is one of the co-founders, now living in Atlanta, who hadn’t been here in 20 years. We heard the story of how this center was created, and got to know the son of the owner, Jay. We all became instant friends, co-evolutionaries in the study of vibrational medicine – light for them and sound for me. We made a date to do a sound healing in the meditation dome the next evening.

The energy in the Light Center dome is powerful and pure. The synergy of that energy with the sound coming from my instruments and voice was a high for all of us. Some powerful healings have taken place at this center, and we were honored to feel and contribute to that potential. We made a date to come back in the morning when the light meditation chamber was open. The meditation accompanied by beautiful music was 30 minutes long, sitting in comfortable cushion chairs in a circle, surrounded by light, one chakra at a time (ROYGBIV). Again, we were honored to be welcomed into this spiritual practice of our new friends. We have been invited to come and do sound healing again with them anytime. Another home away from home, reminding us that our home is Source.

I am very familiar with connecting with the light, with Source, with the “other side” that can assist with this connection. Jason is a direct channel for me, and I’m guessing he will always be one, along with music, meditation, tantra, intimate relationships, and other channels.

I watch as awareness of my beliefs surfaces….. Beliefs that I can’t handle hot weather, my back and hips aren’t made for sleeping on the ground, that I don’t know how to grow my own food, that I need a lot of space and quiet away from people, etc. I am watching myself let go of identities, ways I see myself and perceive others see me. I am feeling freer. Jason taught me by example and by questioning the indoctrination of this culture that I can free myself from standard and transparent beliefs. I have been enjoying, for perhaps the first time in my life, being with many people and feeling my own space, not needing as much physical space for myself. There is a feeling of non-separation, of one-ness with others who are on the same path. Conflicts arise and transparency and love dissolve them. We witnessed wonderful leadership and negotiation in the Anahata community and in our Network for New Culture gatherings.

Love always connects.

Jason is assisting me to be free. I feel more alive since his death because I am even more connected to Source, through my connection with him. I am feeling my inherent nature more, not clouded by limiting beliefs.

Jason is my greatest guide in my journey back to nature.

Back to my nature.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Home

I’m missing home and I’m wondering what that means. I carry my home in my heart, I know that. I’ll be renting out my physical home to give me the freedom for my journey – am I afraid to grieve another loss? Or am I just afraid of change? No difference…. My work now is to release expectations and be open to what will feed me in rich unexpected ways…. Being away from home is assisting this process, as hard as it feels right now.

Home at one time meant being with Jason. Tears flow with this thought. I do miss that home very much.

I also know I can create a home wherever I am. Jason is with me wherever I am. Jason was ready the last year of his life to leave our home in Ipswich, and so was I. He is reminding me of that.

We have been welcomed into the home of our dear friends Suchi and Kimchi in the Earthhaven intentional community near Asheville, NC. Our home is a yome, a kind of yurt, spacious and comfortable. We gather at the main house for meals and deep and fun conversation. We create community. We create family.

To me home is not only a place I feel I can be myself, with space, comfort, and peace. It is also family. I know I create loving family wherever I am.

My home last week was a beautiful wooded forest along a magical mountain creek in W. Virginia, Abram’s Creek. My family was created at the Network for New Culture summer camp, a group of 90. We participated in evolutionary workshops and met every morning for Zegg Forum, a facilitated process where individuals express transparency for increased awareness and healing, held by the large group’s sacred container. Personal growth can happen in leaps and bounds in Forum. Kule and I have been receiving training to be facilitators (in June in the intentional community of Ganas in Staten Island, NY). We shared our latest learnings with other Forum facilitators here at Earthhaven. We are passionate about having the tools to grow community, which supports our home.

We shared many sweet hugs and intimate conversations with our family at summer camp. We learned from our triggers, our teachers. “You don’t get your money’s worth if you don’t get triggered here”, a common quote at summer camp. It’s a gift to be shown what we need growth in. Family members are our best mirrors. The closing circle was abundant with love and gratitude.

The Earthhaven intentional community (IC) is a collection of homes and families that share in the ownership of the larger community. Other than dues and a 4-hr weekly work commitment (4 “leaps” a week), there are no requirements to be together in community. This allows for freedom of choice, and creates the perception by some that the community doesn’t come together enough, and there are many challenges created by the diverse needs of members and by individual expectations and rules. I’m hearing this is true in all intentional communities, and this is the start of our exploration into ICs.

What binds the community here is the larger home – Earth. There is great connection to the earth here, such respect and love for our dear earth, and learning about organic gardening, permaculture, sustainability, homesteading, composting, primitive arts, etc Just as in any community there is diversity of interests, and there are expectations that all will embrace the same dream(s). There are great growth opportunities, or FGOs (“another fucking growth opportunity”), what we often laugh about at summer camp.

I feel at home here when I see the values I value being expressed, such as connection to the earth and building community with powerful group tools such as NVC, empathy, and Forum. I am homesick when I feel uncomfortable about so much newness, things I am not familiar with doing or being, including the heat wave and the most intense moon time I’ve had in over a year. It feels hard, and I’m being guided to slow down, be with the earth, be with myself, unglue from what I have believed to be my home.

The earth is my home. The mountain air carries me inward, the sun warms my heart, the green forest is a feast of beauty, the water washes away the menses, the grief, the overwhelm of change, the rocks ground me. It’s all here to support me. There is nothing I can’t get here if I really want it. It’s all here, right here, with me.

The week before summer camp I was reunited with some of my Bluegate family, Christine Tulis and Kem Stone, members of my spiritual music family. It was like old times and better. Christine was an aunt to Jason, and our housemate for a year. The family bond never goes away.

The week before that my blood family was visiting from RI, CA, and Ohio. I have been appreciating my birth family even more since Jason passed. I didn’t even miss him at the photo shoots until after I saw the photos and missed seeing his face. It’s sad and it’s beautiful at the same time. We share so much love. My nieces are enjoying Jason’s treasure boxes; it was time to pass them on and it feels great.

I had a gathering of friends before we left for vacation. My extended family, my virtual intentional community(s), are there for me wherever I am. When I feel sad about leaving my community, Kule reminds me that we build community wherever we go.

I enjoy so much my family of women. The women’s group I co-facilitated at summer camp was wonderfully supportive and nurturing. I miss my women’s group back home, and they are with me on the phone and by email. I felt honored to be part of a spontaneous women’s group with Suchi’s housemate and neighbor, as we created a container of support for a difficult phase of the neighbor’s life. The women’s circle in the woods was a fairy ring, a sacred circle of divine feminine, an honoring of the full moon and all its magic. The wild woman inside me danced around the fire, the mother inside me consoled a sister who was stung by a wasp, the creator inside me made music. We shared our gifts and gratitude.

There are so many families to be created.

The world is my community. One World – it does exist. Right here, in my heart, my One Home.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Reunion

I’ve reunited.

With friends.

With Source.

It’s been a time of major change in my life and I’ve felt the disconnection from Source bigger than I’m used to in recent weeks. The good thing is – it’s always right here with me, and I’m bound to bump into it again and it will stick! It’s been great practice in being in the moment; that’s where we find Source.

Playing music in spiritual community brings the connection back instantly. I’m continuously amazed how I can feel the pain of loss at the same time that I am feeling the bliss of being and connecting with Source. It is feeling more continuously that there is no separation; it’s all Grace. There’s no loss or gain; it’s all right here.

The First Boston Chant Festival yesterday was a magical reunion of many friends I hadn’t seen in some years. I watched my life of the past 25 years unfold in the meeting of dear soul friends, as we caught up in timeless minutes, sharing our current life journey with words and energetically. It was so beautiful to be in the opening act with Ashara’s kirtan band, and I felt my viola fill the room with the love I felt from me and all present to connect with our hearts. It is always a joy to share my musical gift in this way. The audience was filled with the radiance of recognition of a higher love.

It was a journey through time that showed me there is no such thing as time. We are all here for a short time and yet it is forever.

My sister Mariana came to spend my birthday with me; that alone would have made my day, and I got to see her enjoy the loving energy in this growing kirtan community. Sitting with Kule and Mariana amidst rows of loving friends was a sweet birthday present, reminding me of how much we have journeyed this past year, with Jason in our hearts. Moving through my life from childhood, my former husband Chuck was there, with dear friends we used to do kirtan (Satsang) with before Jason was born and when he was a baby at my breast. Then there were my North Shore healing arts friends and other local friends I have not seen enough of lately, and that I will miss so much when I move, along with other friends I have been wanting to connect with for the past year from the Human Awareness Institute. I reunited with sound healing friends from NESHRI (www.soundhealingnetwork.org I co-founded 8 years ago); the sound of Sanskrit chant, voices singing together, and beautiful instruments create powerful sound healing and shared intention for love and connection to Source.

They were all there, the old friends and the new, even the ones that weren’t there physically. It was a lovely reunion of dear souls who have accompanied me on my spiritual journey.

I reunite with Jason on a daily basis, but two days ago my experience of this shifted to a new place.

I was visiting Jason’s swimhole in the White Mountains of NH with Kule and my soul-sister Marie-Anne’s daughter Julia and her fiancĂ© Jeff from Texas. We were enjoying our week-long reunion, reminiscing old times when Julia and Jason (two peas-in-a-pod) would make us laugh so hard with their silliness. I wanted to show them Jason’s swimhole, and when we got there it looked so different than the last time I was there, spreading Jason’s ashes last September. The water level was high, giving us less rock ledge to spread out in. The current was strong, making the short walk over the slippery rocks a shamanic journey.

When we arrived, I was surprised I didn’t feel great sadness. I felt at home. This was my place as well as Jason’s. I’ve come here every year on my birthday for over ten years. As I meditated with the elements, I could hear and feel the rush of water on both sides of my precipice, my piece of earth, and I could feel the warmth of the sun and breathe the refreshing mountain air.

I reunited with Jason. In the next moment, it was me. It was my connection with Source. In that moment, I celebrated the shift from seeing Jason as outside myself to experiencing me as One with Jason, as One with Source.

Re-union.
That the best birthday present!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Trials and Tribulations

This last month of graduation brought forth a plethora of tributes to Jason. I am feeling closure around the school’s honoring of their lost classmate and recognition of Jason’s talents as an artist and musician. I’m the proud mother, supported in my grieving, as I witness others feeling supported in their grieving as well (better late than never). This culture is not comfortable with death, and there are ways that work for every community, such as standing ovations in lieu of words. Grieving is so important.

With tributes come tribulations.

“I don’t want the awards and tributes. I want my son back.”

Jason probably wouldn’t have received the Renaissance Award if he were still alive because his works wouldn’t have been known the way they are now. He was so “outta there” his junior year, and didn’t care to share his photography at school art shows. I’m still feeling out ways to recover from discovering Jason’s best music, and almost half of it, after he died. His close friends hadn’t heard the pieces either. He wrote in his journal that he didn’t think his music was that good; I believe he was changing his mind about that when he wrote a lot a few months before he passed. He just didn’t share it with others; it was too powerful in some way. Perhaps he wanted to be a normal teenager without getting too much attention or experiencing people getting intimated by him; getting accolades through the internet through DeviantArt worked well for him.

“I’m the dead kid’s mother.”

There was a huge turnout of the local community at Jason’s funeral ceremony (most of the names of the register I didn’t recognize), but less than a handful of parents and teachers reached out to me after the ceremony. When I would see someone in town I could feel their resistance to connecting with me. I was a reminder of their pain, of their own triggers about imagining losing their own child and their difficulty dealing with a death so tragic.

At the Renaissance Award I sat with Kule and the family of one of Jason’s closest friends, Gus. That was my bubble; I could actually enjoy the awards ceremony; it was creative and a celebration of so many students’ gifts. I found myself in appreciation again that we had moved to Ipswich to get Jason into the arts-oriented school. Jason’s award drew a standing ovation, but only one parent or student came up to me before or after.

Before the ceremony started, I said hello to one mother who I had had lunch with a year before (she is a consultant, too), and she thanked me for some advice I had given her. When I mentioned I hadn’t seen her since Jason died and I was curious why she hadn’t contacted me (I took a risk here….), she looked puzzled and said we weren’t close, and found a way to edge away. Another mother sitting at our table, who I had met a few times before, told me she wasn’t interested in reading my blog because she has her own spiritual path as a Christian. I was imagining the stories people might have about my perceived pagan-ness, perhaps related to witches burned at the stake in this area years ago……ouch.

I got a big hit that night, after the deluge of grief that washed over me upon returning home. I got so strongly that I should not attend the Senior Banquet because my presence is a reminder of heaviness that would spoil the festivities. That felt right to me. However, when Jason’s good friend Evan contacted me to ask if I would go because he was giving a tribute to Jason (with Jason’s photographs and music), I wanted to go and couldn’t because I had a bad cold. Chuck did a 180 and went to the event; I appreciated seeing his video. Evan did a wonderful job, and the standing ovation was also very touching.

“And now for something lighter….”

was the Principal’s line after Evan’s tribute to Jason; Chuck was amazed at the lack of awareness.

Bottom Line –
People don’t like heaviness. They don’t like being reminded of death and pain. My decision to not go to graduation was a no-brainer relief. I was grateful for what we received, and that is that.

Jason had already graduated, and I felt complete with his school. Graduation day came and went and I was immersed in sacred chant and music and even forgot it was the 10 month anniversary of his passing.

“I moved to Ipswich for Jason, so I would be stuck if I stayed here.”

I’m ready to move. I’m also conflicted. I have so much wonderful virtual community in the Boston area, even though Ipswich as a town has not met my need for the type of community I want to live in and I want to try living outside New England. I’m working hard to move and there are some logistical complications around getting the house ready, getting the right tenants, and balancing all of this with my busy consulting business and my biggest project of the year – grieving. It’s been overwhelming, and my body revolted with a bad cold. I got the message then – time to slow down and take care of myself.

“I don’t know where I’m headed.”

Jason is gone and I’m completely free to follow my passion – and I need to, to best honor Jason. He would want me to. I don’t have anyone to take care of except my travel partner Kule. Even Annaper the cat is taken care of; she just moved to Auntie Liz’s. There’s an incredible excitement about this, and it also brings up an old pattern (one I think all humans with an active mind have) that I want to know what is going to happen, to control what happens. I’m being tested big time, and I’m somewhat passing the tests to be aware of letting go of this pattern.

I’m coming full circle to Jason’s message to Be. It really is the way to happiness.

Tribulations turn into Tributes when I shift to this state of Being,

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Renaissance Man

Jason received his graduation award Monday night – The Renaissance Award – for outstanding performance in the areas of Drama, Music, and the Visual Arts. It was accompanied by a long heart-felt sacred standing ovation by the room packed with high school students and parents at the Fine Arts award ceremony, honoring the memory of this talented young man and dear classmate.

I received an email Monday morning if I could be there at night to receive the award for Jason. It was a very emotional moment but it didn’t really overtake me until after the ceremony. I wasn’t surprised they picked Jason; he certainly deserves this special award, the only one presented by the director of the Fine Arts programs in the Ipswich school systems. This is what he said when he presented the award:

“The Renaissance Award is given to a student who excels in all areas, in music, in art, and in theater. As a staff we get together to try to look at what to consider; there are so many students that are involved in all these areas, and so many talented students. And we kept coming back to this one student and no matter what we tried to get around it all, we kept coming back to this one student. Unfortunately Jason is not with us, but his spirit is with us. His incredible talent musically and artistically and in the theater as a member of the techies has been just within all of us. I know that he has influenced so many students here and so many teachers. He was an extremely creative young man, one of the most creative students that we’ve run into; extremely open-minded young man that had everything going in. His art work and his music continually “funded” that openness – his openness to many styles of music and art and many cultures, and through all of that created this very special young man – we miss you. He is really with us all. This year’s Renaissance award goes to Jason Foster. We ask his mother Michelle to receive this award for Jason.”

The fine arts director had gotten to know Jason in his freshman year class on electronic music, band class, the jazz improv class, Jason’s junior year independent study course on music composition, and witnessing Jason’s percussion ensemble performances, especially the last one he did 12/08 performing his music compositions on marimba from his independent study course. He may not have been aware of Jason’s photography talents until after he died. His recognition of Jason’s talents is greatly appreciated, and his willingness to give the award to a student who wasn’t present in the school this last year is admirable. Jason was present, in a different way.

It confirms to me that Jason’s spirit is so alive, continuing to inspire many.

Message 27 - Feel the Flow

I felt the flow as Jason’s flower lifted in the wind, settled in a quiet pool of the creek, got pulled into the current, danced in some eddies, and drifted in with the tide. Drifting inward, to my heart and soul.

I’m feeling my flow.

On my morning walk down to the bridge, I saw a small white 5-petalled flower that reminded me of the days when Jason was very young, when he was obsessed with picking tiny wildflowers and marveling at them (later in life he was obsessed with photographing them). I joined him in the marveling; it was part of my life training with Jason, and it’s ongoing. As I walked to the bridge I felt Jason with me so strongly, letting me know with great certainty that I was being supported on my path in life. The tears came from overwhelm more than from sadness.

I released the flower on the bridge with the intention of letting go and surrendering to all the support that Jason is giving me, that God/Spirit is giving me. I watched the flower drift until I could no longer see it with my eyes, and felt the peace.

Peace. Just to make sure I got the message, a dove appeared on the phone line above me. The dove flew along the road ahead of me and perched again.

Peace now and peace in the future.

So much is happening to support my current transition, preparing to journey cross-country and explore my next phase of my life. Right before I picked Jason’s flower this morning I was reflecting on this. Even the challenging feelings triggered about not being embraced by so many in the conservative Ipswich community were supportive – I’m flowing in the right direction, away from Ipswich for an indefinite amount of time, and most likely permanently because I feel what Kule and I are looking is not in this physical location (New England weather, for one!)

I was reflecting on potential obstacles on my path. I no longer had any worry about Jason. What else could I be worried about? I had been concerned about moving far from my mother, but right before I found Jason’s flower I got the message so clearly and so profoundly that the tears almost stopped me in my tracks. Jason was taking care of my mother now. I didn’t have to worry about her anymore. What a gift.

I have evidence that Jason is taking care of my mother and many others. My mother shared with me recently that she has been doing a bedtime ritual of thinking of Jason very fondly, without great sadness. She feels him with her. It’s so true. She’s doing fantastic. I hope I’m doing that well at 80! I’ll book my parasailing flight in 28 yrs, the way she celebrated her 80th with us a week before Jason passed.

So there are no obstacles except the ones my mind makes up. That’s always the case anyway. We do create our own reality, or at least how we perceive it and what we choose to do with it. With no “real” obstacles, I’m left with my own resistance. I’m seeing the fog lift, to see my own resistance.

Bottom line - It’s a great time for a sabbatical.

My intention has been to “retire” this year, to move into working on what feeds me and trusting I get what I need financially. I like the idea of a sabbatical; it sounds so academic (well, I do have a Ph.D…) yet really fits with my current model. I’m not “resigning”, I’m just exploring new aspects of my work. I love my work, and I love the idea of moving into new “work” that feed me in my new phase of life – that of spiritual counselor. I want the time to cultivate that career. I’ve been on overload juggling all that’s on my plate right now with 4 jobs – consulting, getting ready to move, grieving, and developing new work. It’s a bit much for the human nervous system at times, and I’m delegating more of my current consulting work to absolutely the right people who are supporting my path as well as my clients.

I’m definitely flowing.

I used to lead a process called Flow Work – finding our flow and staying in it, manifesting what we want and releasing obstacles in our path. This was influenced by Abraham Hicks (“The Law of Attraction”) the movie the Secret, and in the past 2 years the Avatar work. It’s been my recent life work to teach being in the flow, in our own flow, and now it’s time to really practice what I preach!

The key is to feel the flow. I definitely felt it this morning at the bridge, and I am grateful for Jason’s message this morning. I will recall that feeling when I slip out of the flow.

I’m still drifting with Jason’s flower. It has travelled a long way down the creek since I released it this morning. I can’t see it but I can feel it.

I felt it last night when I was driving home at 1:30 AM in the pouring rain and lightning. The fog was so thick along the Ipswich River road that I had to stop because I couldn’t see the road. I was playing Jason’s favorite rock tunes and I reminisced about our adventures in the car through eery dark roads, making up stories about what could happen to us, and laughing the whole way. I turned up the volume, rocked to the music, and laughed with Jason.

As the plane was approaching Boston last night from the west we had a 20-minute constant-bursting lightning storm that was so unreal , I wondered if it was in my imagination. I happened to be listening to Jason’s ambient music (his first CD Drinnel), and the few songs that were playing through the storm were ones in which he brought in sounds that sound like electricity and thunder. No coincidence?

It’s so awesome flowing with you, Jason.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Graduation

Graduation is coming up. It used to be very painful thinking about this. Now I get that Jason already graduated.

Jason didn’t need to go to college to do what he loved to do; he already did it. The art show at Zumi’s served as a ritual to celebrate this aspect of his life. The ongoing discoveries of his music and poetry brings up emotion not only because he feels so alive in the moment and it reminds me of his absence, but also because it continues to astound me how much he produced in his short lifetime and the fraction of it that he shared. The feedback from artists and musicians that confirm his talents brings up emotion not only because I will miss seeing him continue his career, but also because this is what he wanted in life; to be acknowledged as a gifted artist. He received this acknowledgment when he was alive by many. He sometimes basked in the glow of it and he didn’t always take it in and believe it, but he definitely enjoyed sharing his work with those who appreciated it. Being one of his biggest fans wasn’t enough for him; of course, his mother would love what he did (and I offered professional critique he appreciated)!

The key point is – Jason didn’t need acknowledgment to do his art and music. He was self-driven and created so much that he didn’t need to show it all. He knew how to be in the moment and not look back or worry about the future.

I can still feel that passionate energy he exuded when he completed a work of art of music, when he lived behind his camera lens, capturing the beauty of so much that he left behind for us to enjoy. I miss so much being with his physical presence, yet I am able to feel that presence through the palpable connection with that passionate energy, with his peaceful energy, with that Buddha nature he exuded and continues to exude. I can feel it anytime, getting immersed in his art and music, like being in a StarTrek holodeck.

Seeing him get his diploma isn’t important to him or to me; he received that diploma in a different way. He wasn’t generally interested in the school traditions or rituals. He was interested in following his passion and being in an environment where others followed theirs. His aliveness in his creativity is his diploma.

Jason was a great inspiration to many. His classmates shared this in a high school tribute to him this past week. An anonymous donor set up a college scholarship in his name. Many beautiful letters and internet sharings have echoed this inspiration.

If success can be measured by the inspiration and love felt by others one touches, then Jason was highly successful, and lived a “complete” life. He moved on to his next phase of work. Jason graduated with honors, not the traditional academic-achievement kind. The kind that mattered to him and to all that know him.

It causes me to reflect on how we never feel we do “enough”…..
What’s “enough” in a lifetime?
What do any of us really need to complete before we die?
What would life be like if we celebrated graduation every day?

I vote for celebrating graduation on an ongoing basis. I’m experiencing my transition to a new phase in my life in a mix of emotions – mostly exciting, a bit scary, and often overwhelming. Seems to fit with what most seniors might be feeling, getting ready to leave the nest to start a new life. Jason wishes each of his classmates a great future, and I know he is also wishing that for me.

Pausing to celebrate this as a graduation feels pretty awesome.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Thank You for Honoring Jason

I feel continuous gratitude. That was my renewed intention last week, that shifted me into a place of seeing and feeling beauty everywhere. I feel the loss of Jason with some occasional tears, and mostly with the eternal gratitude of having had him in my life. I’ve expressed gratitude to so many for all the support I’ve received. This message is a thank you to Jason’s classmates and teachers.

Thank you, Jason’s classmates and dear friends for keeping Jason alive in your hearts with your Facebook and other messages to him and to his parents. He is with you always.

Thank you, Class of 2010, for honoring Jason with your senior year T-shirts with “Follow Your Passion- JF” on the back. I know you hold Jason with you as you prepare for graduation. Think of Jason when you are moving forward in life, with all of its gifts and challenges, and know he is cheering you on. Always remember the Jason hug.

Thank you, classmates, friends, and teachers who came to Jason’s ceremony 4 days after he died, and sent cards, emails, and messages. It was an extremely tender time for all of us, and your presence, writings, tears, and sharings helped me tremendously in my own grieving. I was amazed at how uplifted I felt, and many others felt, at the ceremony - a tribute to how I want to remember Jason and feel his love and inspiration throughout my life.

Thank you, Evan Petto and yearbook staff and friends of Jason for writing a beautiful article about Jason soon after school started, during peak grieving time. Thank you also for sharing his poetry and photography with the school in the Tiger Transcript articles.

Thank you, Ipswich High School players, for dedicating the first play of the year, Camelot (a very good one), to Jason and dedicating a chair in the “PAC” (Performing Arts Center) with “In Memory of Jason A Foster; Remembering His Passion for Music, Arts, and Drama.”. Hanging with the tecchies was the biggest area of his social life in high school, and I would love to hear more stories about the fun things you would do together. I heard about Jason playing with a bow and arrow and accidentally shooting it into the high wall above the sound booth. The pierced wall is a memorial to your good times together.

Thank you, team captain Eli Hayward and the lacrosse team for dedicating this season’s games to Jason by wearing JF on your helmets and getting the Ipswich Chronicle to write a wonderful article about this. You recognized that something more was needed to be done by the school to honor your classmate, and you bridged the cultural gap between jocks and artists in this simple act. You made the school the team. Your team cheer “Go Jason” was more moving than I could have imagined; it captured the energy of an entire school grieving for their lost classmate, and honoring his memory in a special way.

Thank you to Zumi’s for hosting Jason’s photography show and to everyone who came out to see Jason’s art hanging in celebration of his art career at this cultural center of Ipswich, and for the wonderful comments. I wanted this to be shown right before graduation, so his classmates could be with Jason in this way. This was Jason’s graduation. I got to be the proud mother, and to sit with other art enthusiasts pointing out what they saw and felt in Jason’s art. Jason was appreciating all the comments, as he always had!

Thank you, Ipswich art department, for choosing Jason’s piece called “Three Benches” (shown attached) for the permanent senior art gallery. The plaque will show Jason’s quote “I see beauty in all things, may it be a landscape or rust on a building.” Thank you, art teachers Brian Carman and Gail Peppe for coming to Jason’s art show and inspiring him and his classmates with your art clubs. Brian, your pinhole photography and New York city tours made great impressions on Jason, and you know how much pinhole experimenting he did after that!

Thank you to the music department and Gerry Dolan for giving Jason the opportunity to learn electronic music at school. Thank you to the music groups that Jason belonged to and was inspired by – Ipswich high school percussion ensemble (with Jeff Teitz and Steve Monroe), The Pine Island Music ensemble (with E.J. Ouelette), and the jazz improv class band. I hear Jason is continuing to inspire the school musicians, and he is pleased about that! I also heard that several classmates wanted to perform Jason’s compositions and found it too hard to do (they were composed electronically, and the rhythms and pace are quite challenging) – please know how touched I was that you even thought of doing this.

Thank you, Ipswich middle school and high school and IMADA (Ipswich Music Arts and Drama Association), for creating the arts-oriented school environment that helped Jason to thrive in his passions for photography and music. We moved here 5 yrs ago to get into the right school system. Even though he did most of his art and music in his home studio, the environment and his classmates inspired him to create so much. We are still finding pieces in his archives, as if he were alive today showing us his latest works!

In gratitude,
Michelle Herrera Foster
Jason Foster’s mom

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother Eternal

Mother’s day has been the hardest holiday since Jason’s passing. Being a mother has been the greatest joy in my life. Being a mother to Jason has brought me some of the greatest challenges, perhaps most of my spiritual growth, and the greatest honor. Knowing what I do now, if someone had asked me if I wanted to take this journey as a mother to Jason, I would still do it, in a heartbeat. The (my) truth is, that Jason is not gone, he will be here forever, and I will be his mother forever. Nothing’s changed in that department. I believe I will continue to receive the benefits of being Jason’s mother in a bigger way that I would never have expected.

I allowed myself to submerge into the sadness and self-pity of not having my precious child with me on mother’s day, allowing the grief waves to superimpose to a mega tsunami, releasing more and more. I’m a world-class grief-wave surfer, I think to myself, and of course I’ll ride this one out. Jason holds me through it. He knows now that I have to feel it fully to release it, so he didn’t tell me to lighten up the way he used to.

I watched my mind dig up a ton of salt to throw on the wounds. All the work I did raising him, all the emotional and financial sacrifice, not being able to see him get his music and art out into the world, moving to Ipswich for him and not being embraced by the town during my loss…. and the salt kept stinging. I’m so grateful I could process these thoughts away (thank God for Avatar and dear friends), to leave me with the tenderness of a loving mom who is so grateful to have had Jason as my child in this lifetime. All of those painful thoughts are reflections of what I needed to learn in this lifetime.
Any painful thought is.

I’m in a peaceful place now, on Mother’s Day morning. I’m feeling the Divine Feminine energy, the energy I get in touch with every mother’s day. To me, mother’s day is a connection with the Great Mother who takes care of us all. We pass that on to others, as parents, as friends, as caregivers, as nurturing men and women. I am reminded of our incredible connection with Mother Earth.

Two days ago I sent an email out to several friends asking them to think of me and send me happy mother’s day wishes, as I guessed it would be a challenging time for me. Many people feel awkward about death, especially that of a child, and I wanted to clarify that I am still a mother, and would like to receive mother’s day wishes. I’m so glad I asked for what I want and need, because I received some precious gifts. I received beautiful messages from friends, and a few unexpected presents from Jason.

I received a new song from Jason. Chuck found it yesterday on the computer he inherited from Jason; we didn’t notice it when we backed it up. It may have been one of his last compositions, probably a work in progress (1 ½ minutes long) called Silent Deconstruction. It was so special to receive this, with his beautiful voice singing to his unique style of music composition, use of sound, and creative lyrics.

Jason’s mother’s day cards from several years ago resurfaced yesterday as I was cleaning out my files:

One card was from his Pokemon days (probably 8 yrs old) where he wrote “I love you so much!!! Happy Mother’s Day… Your son, Jason” and drew original animated characters called Spikler, Chenakirlie, Skratchy, Dion, and Curly Fred.

Another card was from when he was about 13, where he enclosed one of his first digitally enhanced photographs:
“Thankies for birthenerationaptizing me!!! You also birthenerationaptized the objectos and substances I needed for avoiding nonexistence. I love you too much to be a plastic cup or a flower with unnatural suicidal tendancies!
P.S. your head just blew up “
The envelope had his Spanish random humor: “Para mi madre, de su higo Jacisin. Su unas coches grandes males verdes esta en mis ojo. (Yay, bad grammar momento!)”

He continues to give me the present of laughter. I learned to laugh from him more than from any other teacher.

I received another mother’s day present that needs to be shared, by permission from the author Kerry Zagarella of Ipswich. Not only is Kerry a gifted writer, but her son Gus and Jason grew up together and inspired each other with their creative talents (Gus’s play just got performed at the high school). We had each others’ sons over our homes continuously for years in countless sleepovers. We have several home movies of Gus, Dustin, Katie, and others that will keep me entertained for years. It was very special to have Gus there spreading the ashes with us in Gloucester, swimming through the floating rose petals with us as we connected with Jason’s spirit together. Gus and Jason have a special bond. I used to take them to Carl’s mystical movie night, and they impressed all of us with their comments about the movies. They thought the mystical movies were really awesome. I could write so much about Jason and his friends. Jason spent a lot of time at Gus’s and Kerry’s home. We had a sweet time reflecting on the memories as mothers of these precious children yesterday.

Kerry’s poem was delivered to me with the words “for Michelle with much love and admiration, peace, kerry”. She explained how she used imagery from several of Jason’s photographs.

Mother Eternal

Mother Eternal
for Michelle with much love and admiration
~peace, kerry

You are mother eternal
Recognize your son’s soul in the far off mist lifting over the marsh
to become once again, present, filling puddles with song
tangled damp beach hair pony tail gone to the touch
creates celestial soundtrack on roof tops
It nourishes roots, grows trees tall
keeps us alive
together

He is in the calmness of Fire, a sky lit up hosting a bird made of water
You have taught us mother eternal
to accept the invitation to an underwater forest where two benches welcome his story and ours
being all part of the same story
He is in the flow of the river, the ebb of the tide

And like the ripple hidden beneath a bouncing raindrop
there is no beginning or end

there are only moments
when a mother eternal speaks
and the universe is revealed

-Kerry Zagarella, Ipswich, MA

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Gestation

It’s been nine months since Jason’s passing. I carried him for 9 months and I’ve been releasing him for 9 months.

It’s so interesting to me that reflecting on this at this time does not bring up intense sadness. I’m feeling inspired. I’m inspired by the memory of Jason. I’m inspired by what we can create in our lives. Life is a continual gestation.

I’m preparing for a birthing of new-ness in my life. This time I don’t have to worry if it’s a boy or a girl, or what name I should choose. I’m taking care of myself and putting my attention on what I want to create in my life, not on what I’ve lost. That’s powerful.

I’m finding I’m not sleeping well lately, similar to the way I didn’t sleep those last few weeks of physical pregnancy. I wake up in the middle of the night buzzing. I’ve processed out most of the anxiety and overwhelm of upcoming changes in my life, thinking of the 100s of things I have to do to get ready for my new clients, upcoming travel, explorations, renting out our home, whittling down our stuff, making my office mobile, etc. I’m noticing now that the energy that’s left is something that is working on me at deeper levels. When my dear healer friend Marie-Anne experiences this kind of energy, she calls it “uploads”. Something is coming in, some new energy, getting me ready for deeper work on this earth plane. Jason’s there, on the other side, helping me with my gestation and midwifery.

I’m a spiritual counselor. That’s my new mantra. That’s an identity that I’m starting to fully embody.

This baby is not separate from me, but I’ll be caring for her as if she were a tender newborn, recognizing her wise soul, allowing the unfoldment. I learned the first time around with Jason not to take the parental role so seriously, not to feel like I have to control everything, not to figure out everything with my mind. Nursing is a meditation; it is grounding and nurturing to the mother as well as the baby. We’ll learn naturally how to crawl together, to walk together, to play together, to just be together.

What should I do to prepare? I’m feeling into it. I’m embracing the role of spiritual counselor. I’m making this role a priority, just like I made mothering a priority when Jason needed me most. I’ve been so busy trying to make everything work, to whittle down my list of to-dos, and I wasn’t paying attention to my priority. Everything else falls into place when I embody who I truly am.

I have been asking for ease, and I’m getting it with the simple act of trusting. I trust that Jason’s passing is teaching me so much that is also beneficial to others. I’m still grieving and healing, and with time I will be taking a more and more active role to bring this healing out into the world. I’m sharing it with my friends and family, with strangers that become dear friends in minutes, with work associates who are seeking more meaning in their lives.

I’m a spiritual counselor, a transition guide, a freedom guide. I’m getting clear about the energy and the role, and the naming of it isn’t as important to me.

I’m enjoying the birthing of new energy, as overwhelming as it feels at times. At least this time I haven’t gained 40 pounds!

Happy Mother’s day to me.

Here’s Jason’s last mother’s day card:
You are such an awesome mom that even in my teenage years I still love you and talk to you. I even like spending time with you! But really, I do. And I’m glad I can be a son you look after and feed as well as a friend. It’s great sharing a house with you and it always makes me happy.
Te amo mucho y yo me espero que tu vas a vivir hasta tu mueres. (Translated: I love you very much and I hope that you will live until you die.)
La ensalada blanca no puede caminar mientras tu duermes (Translated: The white salad can’t walk while you sleep.)
Cuando los dientes estan negros, tienes que cepillarlos. (Translated: While the teeth are black, you have to brush them.)
Es porque los peces viven en las piernas. (Translated: That’s why the fish live in the legs.)
El piel de los gatos se respira quando tu hablas. (Translated: The fur of the cats breathe when you speak.)
Como siempre, te encanto. (Translated: As always, charmed.)
Love, Juan

Note: Jason had his relatives in Argentina in stitches with his Spanish