When we get together for our spiritual gatherings, when we settle in, we begin by each of us naming our “intention.” Our intention. It is always clear to me that it is time for another weekend, but when it comes to naming my “intention,”…this is not always so clear.
Spiritual journeys to me, feel like a drop of paint falling onto a watery canvass; the journey spreads and branches off…everywhere. As humans, we are physically confined to linear time. We have memories of our past that color our perception of the present and create this next moment of a spiritual journey that immediately leads off into the future. Even beyond that, there are generations before us that have created us and affected the world we live in. There are generations that we have created and that we now affect. And for many of us, there is…a knowing that is beyond time. This knowing is beyond the confines of what our brain can fathom and beyond what seems linear. Somehow, there are “others” out there who help us, who guide us, who cheers us on as we journey. If spiritual journeys really are like a drop of paint falling onto a watery canvass, then paint, water and canvas all play a part in the journey. We question, “Who dropped the paint?” Did this journey begin with an “intention?”
If you read the previous blog, you may remember that this particular journey began as four friends. Now we are three. Our friend, I will use his initials, CM, died in the fall of 2000. And as I have recently awoken to find he had been on my mind, I realized that his 14-year anniversary was the following day. Like many who had AIDS long before the “drug cocktails” emerged, CM was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Treatment was a delicate balance of an already weakened immune system with chemotherapy. We thought his last bout in the hospital was like the half a dozen before: one day he was on his deathbed and the next, he would be sitting up making snide comments as only gay men can make.
The last time I saw him, he was lying in his hospital bed on oxygen. There was a small group of us who had made the three-hour trip to see him. I stood at the foot of his bed and held his feet in the manner he had taught me to do in our various energy get-togethers. The nurse wasn’t sure how cognizant he was of his surroundings and asked if he knew who was in the room. He made some noise through his oxygen mask. It was unintelligible. The nurse asked again, and with every bit of breath he had available, he gasped my full name somehow audible through the oxygen mask. The sound of his voice, while so soft in its amplification, reverberated in my body. Something stirred, like I was…called. I’m not sure to what. Was this boom of his voice to my soul an intentional call? Nothing really happened after that. But I keep going back to that memory. CM died within the next two days. Maybe because of the disease, maybe because of years and years of smoking, his lungs were so porous. My understanding is that his lungs…finally imploded.
By the following year, I had moved to the city where CM died. I had a job in a city an hour away and I commuted with my boss. At the anniversary of his death, while I was waiting for my ride to work, I took about 30 minutes to sit and remember him. I turned off the TV, grabbed my guitar and played through songs that we had sung together while he was alive. Somewhere while I was strumming through some song, I heard my boss honking her horn, letting me know that she was here and waiting. I put down the guitar, grabbed my stuff for work, ran down the stairs and hurriedly entered her car. As we took off, she asked if I had been seeing what was happening. I told her that it was the first anniversary of CMs death and I had shut the TV off and played a few songs on the guitar. She stopped a moment to tell me that she had forgotten that it was his anniversary (we were all connected through my previous job), and then went on to tell me that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center.
That this horrible event was happening on September 11th, one year after CMs death, seemed significant to me, but I didn’t know how. There was a running video stream projected to a screen in the auditorium of the building in which I worked. I stood with a hundred others watching in disbelief as the towers of the World Trade Center exploded. This undercurrent of realization ran through my being: the World Trade Center exploded; CMs lungs imploded.
I talked with one of the other two who are included in this blog and she said that maybe CM helped those that died arrive on the other side. Was that intentional?
When we get together for our gatherings, we begin with an intention. This was hard for me. I started out beseeching the powers that be, through the cards, to let me know what they wanted me to know. Yet, there is value in focusing our desire. Is intention a feather or an arrow?
We sit down, settle in for our gatherings, and state an intention. Sometimes I will settle down to our weekend of readings and throw my intention to the wind like a feather and the readings feel like they are leading me like an arrow. Other times my intention is focused and the readings seem to meander beyond my intention. All of it is welcome. Whether or not I have a clear stated intention for my weekend of readings, I am…neither feather nor arrow. I am working to be present and available and open to both the challenge and/or encouragement of a card reading. Not just the card in my hand and the information it provides to me, but also the responses of those who share this weekend with me.
I don’t know if CMs death on September 11, 2000 made him integral to the passage into the next world of those who died on September 11, 2001. I don’t know why him calling me by my full name as he lay on his deathbed shook me so. Were these “intentional” or just well received? I’m still working it out. I do know that knowing CM is part of the “paint” that has brought me here to these weekends. He is part of the “paint” that brings my other two companions to these weekends as well. And I do know that my intention, whether on these weekends or with life in general, is to receive and discern what comes, even if it seems coincidental and not “intentional.”