Main image by Christopher Campbell on Unsplash. All other photos my own from 16-17 October 2021 on the south banks of Lake Geneva.
I have written before about my daily (nightly) reflective practice of writing into some questions. Back in March this year, I wrote a piece about one of the questions, which is “What have I learned about love today?” (http://www.widowingemptynests.com/2021/03/08/lessons-in-love-part-one/).
It is one of the four original questions of a practice that I was inspired to start thanks to Frank Ostaseski, a man whose decades of work with people at the end of their lives has helped me be when alongside people who are at the end of their lives (whether at the Maison de Tara hospice, or in my own immediate entourage). And of course, if you can enhance how you be/are with people at end of life, you can learn a fair bit about how to be in your whole life, well before end of life puts in an appearance.
Frank’s questions are:
- What has inspired me today?
- What has challenged me today?
- What has surprised me today?
- What have I learned about love today?
I have since added, during a period where “even more self-care” became an essential necessarity,
- What has brought me comfort today?
And, even more recently, perhaps a couple of months ago, I added,
- What Gold Dust Moment (GDM) have I had today?
The two questions that make me most pause for thought are the love question and the GDM question. But I always find something. I always learn something about love, and I always find a GDM in the day.
And sometimes there are so many GDMs, I want to write a page of GDMs.
From Excenevex beach, early evening
This past weekend, for example, was full of them. In no particular order:
- The brilliance of the autumnal weather that is so enlivening and inspiring
- The warmth of the sun on my face while taking a short break in the garden behind the school where I co-facilitated training for new Tara volunteers-to-be
- My joy and pride in being met by Medjool at the end of the training before heading towards Evian for the weekend
- The pleasure of seeing a new group of Tara volunteers-to-be coalesce around their desire to learn about this topic of “being with people at end of life”
- Watching swan couples, mallard couples, schools of silver fish darting in the clear waters of Lac Léman
- Spending time with Aylen O’Hagan (aka Nelly the pet sitter) (aka author, singer, storyteller, creator, Heartist, and of course, dear friend who cared for Julia after she took an overdose of pills, when I was away with work)
- Listening to Aylen speak with love and passion and heart and wisdom and generosity at the Salon des Livres in Evian about the creation of her book, “Heartist” (see her work here – in English and in French – https://www.aylenohagan.com/)
- Watching a yellow leaf detach from its home tree and flutter down to earth before being caught by a still-green bush underneath
- Falling asleep with Medjool’s much longer body wrapped around my own, and, unusually, not waking up till hours afterwards
- Having a rare evening, then spending the night, at Medjool’s place, with him making me dinner while I spent an hour or so facilitating Grieflings’ writing in Megan Devine’s 30 day Writing Your Grief programme
- And I could go on
- And on
The Gold Dust Moments are everywhere. That’s just those I remember from this weekend when I put my mind to it for a few minutes. And it doesn’t even include some magic messages received from friends I don’t hear from enough. Or an out-of-the-blue email from a man I once did Masters swimming training with, who has also (unbeknownst to me) became widowed – he wrote me the most beautiful story of honouring his wife’s “fifth rebirth day”, on the fifth anniversary of her death, just a few weeks ago.
Green-Gold Dust Plumage
Gold Dust Moments. I love them. They are the source of life. Of Joy. Of Gratitude. Of Light, even when a lot is very Dark.
I am glad I have so many in my life.
From Evian to Lausanne. I plan to swim this. 13km!