A last thought on my dad's death and what it continues to give to me.
The military burial was beautiful. Driving in, the grounds were tended and inviting. The day was bright and breezy. The outdoor structure where we gathered was tasteful with angles and stones and light.
In the center was a small podium holding my the box with my father's ashes. Chairs were arranged in a line facing the podium and some of us sat, others stood to watch the ceremonial military march of an officer and a sailor as they flanked his box.
I know of the order and the might and the discipline of the military. However, I had never considered how they above almost any others, know death. They know it well and I was struck by how nobly it is handled. The way their words and movements met our grief so well meant that our grief resembled many more before and after us. How we were in their reverent care.
A few words spoken, an American flag folded with precision between the Navy men, then handed to an officer who, on bent knee, handed it to my mother with words of gratitude for the commitment and service of our loved one. He looked us in the eye. We met his gaze. It was more personal and more significant than what I had expected.
Yet, at its conclusion we needed to add our part, to offer a benediction in our own Wallace way as well. There was a pause as we wordlessly considered how to proceed.
A circle, my mom said. A circle. Before meals we had always stood and held hands and sung the Doxology around the table. This made sense. But what of the Navy men? Another pause. The circle simple enlarged around the officers and the podium until we held them all.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow.
Praise Him all creatures here below.
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host.
Praise Father Son and Holy Ghost.
I stood in the weeping circle of my family aware of all its light. At times growing up I'd been embarrassed at the way we stood and sang, but here it was so perfect and so familiar. And we had included the military, the box of ashes; the might, the destruction, the loss, the courage. Our ceremony stood on the shoulders of theirs; our light included theirs.
In this parting moment I was keenly aware of where my light comes from - of the truest lineage I had received from my family: That we would mark the moment properly. That we would include any and everyone involved. That we would make choices that were unusual and beautiful and sacred.
I write you now to remind you to look again at what makes you most perfectly who you are. To remind you to hold on to the daring to step forward with kindness or light when the surroundings are daunting and turning in seems easier. Your light is needed. My light is needed. This last moment with the remains of my father will last in me and I share them with you. Make light. Be light. More more more and it will return to carry you on.
Much love and gratitude for all your support of late,
If you want more Martha, more light, more awareness, more skill as to how to bring it into each and every day, come work with me this fall in the Power of Prana. You have a life force. Learn of the philosophy that helps explain it, the tools to cultivate and sustain it, the ways you can share it out with purpose and direction into your work, your finances, your home, your family and relations.
Details on my website. Register at YogaWorks.
Oct 6,7,8 Nov 3,4,5 Dec 8,9,10
Feel free to email me with any questions or consider giving all or some of the training to someone you know who needs to reclaim their worthiness in the world.
We will work in our bodies, in our breathing, in our silence, in community. We will affect our calendars, our food, our conversations, our postures and our teaching.
Suitable for all levels of students and teachers.
Yoga Alliance certified teachers will receive 100 hours of continuing education credits.