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I sit here in the center of the Middle East waiting for my next jump to complete my journey to Perth, Australia. It has taken me two flights and 15 hours of flight time to get here. Fifteen hours to arrive in a place so as to have a moment to digest, absorb and express the emotional roller coaster the past several days have been. I have to wonder why it is it takes traveling half way around the world to find the space to share and release? It is certainly a sign that perhaps I need to slow down and open space in my life so as to be able to deal more readily with the life I am living rather than simply taking care of business. This for another sharing, for now, I need to share something else.

In my whirl wind to successfully finish the fall semester at VCU, remount Tensegerity for IABD, collaborate on the Winery Psalms Project and get ready for this trip, I was shocked to hear the news about the passing of a dear friend. To say I was not already emotionally exhausted trying to do my very best in my responsibilities to my work, students and looming deadlines, the news of Billy’s death stopped my breath. An ex, a friend, a creative spirit and a loving human being crossed the barrier of light a little too soon. Selfishly speaking, a little too soon for me.

One of the things that was difficult in seeing his passing through Facebook was that it was through Facebook that I actually found out. A friend had been suffering and I had not known about it. Shame on me for not being present enough to pay attention to the difficulties he was going through the week prior. This life I am living seems to hold more importance than the love that should be being shared between people and time spent on the relationships with those people.

None the less, my heart tightened and my breath was stunned.

I ended up finding out the reason for his passing and my heart goes out to his family and all of those that love him. Know I am sending love and healing light for your hearts as to shine on you to assist in the navigating the grief that is to come. Shine the light and you will see your way through it.

Ironically, I had no time to process this new found information as I had to get lead a conference call for the study abroad program in Paris happening in the spring. Dogs had to be picked up and I had to keep moving. But I couldn’t. I closed the door to my office and could not find the strength to lock the door and lift my head from the eight of the tears. And yet, I had to pull it together. Things had to get done.

I picked my dogs up from the vet making sure they had all their medications and needs met before all this travel. They could not stay off of me as all they wanted to do was lick the tears from my face and let me know that they loved me and were there for me. Ironically, we spent more time together due to 2 separate car accidents that added an hour to my commute. Thank goodness for the kindness and light of a dear colleague who cradled my needs and stepped up to gather the students and pull off the scheduled meeting for the students. Love and light reveal themselves. They always do.

I finally made it to that meeting. Numb and hallow. Heavy with the weight of loss and the suffocation of grief. And yet, still not able to begin due to feeling as if I must keep moving. Why is it we are not able to be compassionate with ourselves so as to allow ourselves to grieve and feel our hearts break? Why do we as a culture insist that we be strong? We carry to much in our silence and our veneer of strength.

I was paper thin as I watched my students rehearsals in preparation for their finals. The only thing holding me together was the sheer pride of their work and knowing how proud I was of them for being the beautiful artists they are expressing and blossoming into glorious human beings. There is much to be said for honoring the choice to become who you are and to allow yourself the struggle so as to free your heart.

And still, I had not let go. Meetings with all my students holding their fragility of being in the words that should guide and inspire them. Knowing this is more important than the tears hiding behind the lids of my eyes. Making a choice to live in love perhaps is the only thing that should hold one up from processing. Perhaps limiting the hurt that others have to feel is far easier in the long run.

So here I sit. I am in a small quiet space a world away with the time to finally sit and let me heart open. Tears streaming down my face as I finally express my sadness, hurt and regret. My heart aches at the loss of this beautiful young man. His life was full of heart ache and sadness in which he had a difficult time managing and dealing with. My heart breaks knowing his heart ached so much. Would it not be better for those we love to lend our hearts to them more helping them to find a path or a way to their happiness. Not the happiness we see for them, but the happiness that comes from the joy of their choosing.

Not knowing that you are here walking this time and space is hard for me. Yet, I know the bridge you have crossed now finds you in the brightest of light and most loving and freeing sense of joy. My tears are out of missing you and your beautiful spirit and energy knowing that we will not have the opportunity to laugh together once more.

So as I travel around the world this time, I will travel with the memory of you and of our laughter. I will keep you in my heart with the knowledge and warmth of all the joy we shared and all the stories that were made. Now it is the time to tell those stories.

And for all of us, now is the time to make stories. Live them. Embrace all of it. Every single joy, sorrow, difficulty and ecstasy. Do it. Feel it. Live it. Express it. Let nothing hold you back from standing in the center of your bliss. Let no moment go un-lived. Let no expression of love go un-said. Don’t wait. It is far easier to carry the knowledge of having lived than to carry the burden or regret and grief. Grieve we must, but it is far easier through the transparency of love.