Gurupurnima on July 3 invites us to embody gratitude for our teachers in all their forms. Sally Kempton, beloved meditation teacher, passed away Tuesday July 11. Matariki (Maori New Year) on Friday July 15 invites us to remember those that have passed, celebrate connection with others in the present, and look toward the possible future.
Saturday July 16 gatherings with me for yoga and Courage work, with the theme ‘being and becoming’ felt attuned to these recent events and flowers present for the morning were steeped in heart-full intention, remembering, celebrating, and visioning.
Sunday July 17 as I drove toward the familiar place at Kingston beach, where many flowers have been offered to the sea by me and my family, a rainbow in the sunny sky framed the entry way to the parking place. As I began the short walk over the rocks a heron alighted and flew overhead. There was a palpable shimmering in the air. Placing the flower filled basket down on the rocks the trail of sunlight reflecting on water led a path straight to it in a way I could not have orchestrated had I tried. Many across the globe have been chanting the Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra for Sally and will continue to do so for the 13 days following her death. This was the mantra I chanted as I threw the flowers to the sea thanking Sally and remembering many. I had the fleeting thought that maybe Sally and my mum (a siddha yoga practitioner) would connect in some other realm. The water glistened, the flowers floated forming shapes, one of which, perhaps I imagined it, seemed very close to an om symbol.
As I left the rocks to return to the car two additional surprises met me, one in the form of a heart shaped rock on the path, right in front of me, facing exactly the direction I was walking, and the second the return of the heron standing on the waters edge near the car like an usher toward the future. Were these things asking me to trust in Grace and bring it to life in the small ways I can? Ever the hopeful skeptic, my heart felt soft and expansive and an unbidden joy flavoured the day.
Later that day I read aloud to Jeff the story of Sally’s life and realised that she left her life as Swami Durgananda at age 60, having spent almost 30 years in the Siddha Yoga ashram. Here I am in my 59th year. I have lived a very different life to Sally, though recognising that there is, in me, the potential to live the life of a monk. Sally spent 20 years as a householder-teacher-seeker after her Ashram life and continues, even in her death, to be a gift for us. I am left with questioning why her teaching, her being, and her passing are having such a huge and unexpected impact for me? Why does she suddenly feel like a very present and potent guide? Is she affirming that there is a lot of life to live and a lot of contribution yet to make? She modelled courage, lived truth, and emanated a joy that was authentic and real, while not denying of the suffering and difficulty that is this incredible gift of life.
Later that night, to Jeff’s and my joint surprise my mother’s tiffany inspired tulip lamp, which has not been working for the last few weeks, turned on and shone brightly the whole evening. The next day it was ‘broken’ again and has not turned on since. Time to get it repaired with something other than the divine mystery.
… and a few days later a spectacular sunrise that looked like a bird flying … and then a few days after that an unusual very close encounter with fairy wrens, one of whom hopped up right beside me as I was sitting on the watertank playing a recording on my laptop of Sally’s incredible Kali meditation.
So man mysterioes to be lived, so many invitations to recognise and open to Grace in all it’s forms.