Diagnosed Mortal #9
Death and catastrophe; portals into exploring how one might attempt to become the best human being possible.
My original Diagnosed Mortal essay, with but 12 days to live, had me posting in lieu of an essay, an interview on January 8, 2017 with Stephen Jenkinson, who is the author of Die Wise; a Manifesto for Sanity and Soul. Jenkinson is someone I was very focused upon at that time as his work in the death trade, as he calls it, tapped into questions I had a desire to know about. While what I posted then was a good interview...years later now, there are many and they can be found on his Orphan Wisdom School website, if you are interested. I highly recommend them all. However, deathy things are an acquired taste or a person is given to the subject by wiring, so I am taking license here and substituting a piece I wrote on August 31, 2016 from my (now defunct) Amicus Mortis blogsite. I can make this change because I am goddess of this domain and...It is good to be queen, if only digitally.
It was summer of 2016 and I had just returned from a week long workshop with Jenkinson that took place in Canada on a tiny island at a very exclusive "retreat center dedicated to humanistic education". It is an event site and intentional community. I can describe this place like a Canadian Esalen (though I've never been to Esalen, who isn't aware of the reputation of a torqued vibration that such a place can exude with all the phenomenal souls who have graced those venerated grounds?) The name of this place in Canada is Hollyhock and it was a very special intentional community, indeed.
It was very complicated and expensive to get and stay there. I spent one quarter of my annual income on the adventure...float planes are not cheap transportation. I had a little retirement money left to do one thing. This was my one thing: a week long intensive exploration of Die Wise with its author and a handful of like minded, interested folks. It was worth every penny but I was out of my league in this rarefied environment and I haven't seen myself needing to return there. I feel like I do okay in my own lane but, at that time, I was contemplating a career as a Death Doula and I wanted to know about death on intimate terms for that work and few know death quite like Jenkinson. It is not like I have money on my nose as a disenfranchised person but there is something kind of odd about the exclusivity of "New Age-y" events and their clientele. I wasn't entirely comfortable there. Still, even with all of that, it was an epic and enlightening adventure for me. A sanctified walk through up to a new age and the suggestion of a better world..
This essay was about my journey back from that workshop and what I learned about catastrophe, a prominent subject in Jenkinson's next book he was to publish in 2018, "Come of Age, the Case for Elderhood in a Time of Trouble". This essay is about how catastrophe claimed me on my trip home.
These heightened spiritual adventures I go on in pursuit of greater understanding - like flying to Cortes Island or talking into the internets in the corner of my room - these focuses expand my world and bring me my deepest happiness these days. They create a larger dispensation of love within me that I hope emanates out and in some small way supports a better world; a world that encourages all people one day to fully participate in to experience a deeply personal feeling of sovereignty and purpose.
Spiritual High (State of Independence), Moodswings featuring Chrissie Hynde - - 1991
My music choice: Spiritual High (State of Independence) by Moodswings with Chrissie Hynde is an ethereal piece that aligns my mind and heart. Listening to this, I can relax into my highest and best intention for my life "day by day by day..." The part with Dr. King grounds me and reminds me of my quest to better understand the different kind of light that is dark in our lives; this different light allows us the clarity of vision that true liberty requires.
~For the curious: this Blogpost explains my motivation and intention for this series of 20 essays in the Diagnosed Mortal series~