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.



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!
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

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 - 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.