My first trip to the Islands was back in 1992. It was to the Big Island. One of my most vivid memories of that trip was the perfumed air.
It wasn’t the smell of that so-called “fresh scent” that humans have tried to make out of synthetic or petroleum based products that cling to your clothes and your nostrils like a parasite. No, this was a natural scent, the air was naturally sweet, with the floral scent of plumeria. It was a treat to this city-girl’s senses. Growing up in Chicago, there was no fresh floral scent in the air, anywhere.
Subsequent trips to the islands never matched that first time. Not until now. The other morning while walking to the beach for my morning walk, I felt it. I felt a tug at my heart, a sense of pure joy at being surrounded by the scent of plumeria trees. I almost felt like that twenty-one year old woman, who was living her dream of visiting Hawaii, of working with a marine biologist, hoping to become one. My world was wide open back then, and plumerias remind me of that innocent time of my life. A time when I was transitioning my life from student to adult, from Chicago to San Francisco.
Last week, when I couldn’t sit at my desk any longer, I went for a walk. Outside of the building I work, there is a small residential area. The buildings architecture are old Hawaiian plantation style. Large plants and trees surround them.
To my delight, some of the large trees were plumeria trees. The largest plumeria trees I have ever seen. There was one with skinny, pink petals, and another with the more common white petals with a yellow center. I picked up some of the nicer blooms that had fallen with the breeze.
I bring the flowers inside and place them on my desk. A temporary embellishment, that reminds me of the dreams of my twenty-one year old self.
I turned 44 a few days ago and I had a re-birthday. Perhaps it is a “turning 44 thing?”
44 is a whimsical number it looks like two chairs standing on their head.
The day before the re-birth – my worldview was rearranged – I was not selected for a job, I was not promoted. This was a job I had waited for, had envisioned and helped develop for the last 5 years. In my pre-44 world the job was meant for me. Sometimes what you envision isn’t meant for you to participate.
44 is a happy number
Turning an unfortunate event, a disappointing event, a wounded heart, into something positive is easier as I age. On my birthday I visited a truly special place to find sanctuary and renew my spirit. I realized that not getting the position – with it’s increased responsibility – has freed me to explore new paths. Paths that reflect my true spirit and my passion.
44 is a good age: it’s even, it’s symmetrical; It’s a “Goldie Locks age” not too young, not too old, it’s just right
If I live to be 88 (which is highly probably given my family history) I am at my life’s halfway point. An auspicious date, straddling the before self and the future self. I shed my skin of naïveté and put on the cloak of wisdom, of strength, of courage to lead my life towards the things that bring light and energy to my soul and not just a paycheck.
44 Is the atomic number of ruthenium a rare transition metal of the platinum group
I will take on a new atomic structure. One that is unresponsive to those who wish to throw their negative energy towards me. One that deflects that heavy dark energy and surrounds it with positive light energy.
Whatever the meaning of the number 44 with it’s sacred geometry and special formulas – for me it is the beginning of when I take charge of my life, listen to my intuition and folllow it without fear of no paycheck…
I am reborn.
Thanks to my love, my light for the inspiration of the number 44 facts. xoxo
Lately I have been reminded about my limited time on this planet.
The reminders have been blatant, smack you in the face, kind of events. A friend committing suicide, another friend dying from colon cancer and my mother’s journey to rid her body of cancer.
My heart aches and my mind reels into motion, what can I do differently?
Am I doing enough?
Am I serving my purpose?
Am I eating right?
Do I have cancer?
I had my annual mammogram, and now I am scheduled for my first colonoscopy. That was the easy part.
The hard part is reconciling my accomplishments, reconciling where my life is currently and looking at the map of my life and figuring out if I need to take a different route to get to where I need to go in the future.
My heart aches and my mind reels… I do not want their deaths and their struggles to be lost – there is a lesson in there for me to learn from… I peer into my soul and see that I can do more…
I can help others!
I can teach others!
I can share with others my humanity! We all hurt, we all struggle, but it is through this strife that we can emerge anew.
I have learned that death is not an end, it is the beginning of something new, change is not bad, it is good – Really good.
Take some time and peer into your soul – sit quietly in a park, under a tree or by the water. Where do you want to go? Who do you know you can be? See your potential.
What it means to each of us is very personal, but transcendent as well, meaning it is a part of our being human. What is your relationship with death? Is it filled with fear? Peace? or Indifference (which may lead back to fear)?
It was June 12, 2012, a month ago, when I went to an old friend’s funeral. Khal’s passing reminded me about my relationship with life and with death and how we who are left on this physical plane to deal with loss. Although Khal’s physical body left this planet way too soon and it filled me with sadness, I knew his spirit lives on in the people whom he influenced with his love and his stalwart personality. I am at peace with death.
What I am not in peace with is how some of us will meet our death. Through stupid accidents, preventable or treatable diseases, through another’s incompetence or malicious intent. Khal’s death was due to preventable and treatable diseases, that many of us have, it’s called PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), it’s called pride, it’s called emotional abuse as a child, it’s called being overwhelmed with life. I saw so much of my own struggles when I last talked to him, we had just reconnected via Facebook in 2010 and were planning a small high school reunion. During this time I remember sharing with him my concern over his weight and health (he was an athlete in high school and a U.S. Marine), he shared that it was because he had a hard time making time for himself. I suggested he think of his future, his kids, that he needed to find time for himself, for them and he promised me that he would start going to the gym. I said I would keep tabs on him, that I wanted to hear how he lost weight when I saw him at the reunion. I did keep tabs on him, once or twice and he had started going to the gym. I was even keeping tabs on him in my dream state: “Khal, I had a dream that you were smoking in your garage.” I messaged him one morning. He was dumbfounded, he said that no one, not even his wife, knew that he smoked. I asked him why he did that, and he responded “Stress.”
I lost contact with Khal soon after the reunion. He had reconnected with other friends and I had hoped through that he would find some reprieve from his stress and quench his need to talk to someone about it. I was also going through my own dark period (end of relationship, dealing with demons from my past, etc.) and had begun shutting people out of my life. During this time I even deleted my FB page, losing contact with many people I thought were superfluous in my life. I was performing my own type of death ritual. I needed to do that to reconnect with my true self and needed time and space to find me.
This wasn’t the first time I had done my own death ritual. Transitioning from adolescence to adulthood. Transitioning from marriage to divorce. Death to me is a transition. I came to terms with death, both physical and psychological, when I was a junior in high school. It was during this time that I learned my uncle had AIDS (a preventable and now treatable disease). It was the mid-1980s, when the big AIDS scare began and all those awareness campaigns started. Uncle Danny wasn’t just any uncle, I had three others, he was my kindred spirit. He died during my senior year, an already difficult transition period (college looming, boyfriend being a butt head). Thanks to his suggestion, the summer before his death, I had begun writing in a journal. These journals, were pivotal in helping with transition; they provided me with a venue to vent my anger, talk about my sadness and eventually see that in death we do not part with those whom we have that special connection. My uncle was there with me then and is now and I’m still writing in a journal.
I am at peace with death. I am at peace with transitions. Trust me, it doesn’t make it any easier when a relationship ends or when someone you love dies. It doesn’t mean that I look forward for the next transition to happen. No, because I am still only human and I have these things called emotions to deal with, to work through, to come to terms with. But I am wiser. After each transition I learn something new about my self, about what it truly means to be human and what this life is all about. My spirituality grows with each transition. It is as if being at your most vulnerable, your most human, opens a window to see beyond this physical plane of being. To gain sight to see that my energy mingles with all the energies of the universe, that I am a part of something greater, that we are a part of something greater.
I am at peace with death and with life. Today I realized it has been a month since my friend was buried, and in recalling my relationship with death I realize that it has been 24 years since my uncle died. I am vulnerable, I am feeling emotional, but I am also feeling the love that connected us during their time on this planet and I can continue feeling it to this day and possibly forever.