14
Aug

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Did you know that there is no separation between the mind, the emotions and the body?

Grief has found its way into my lungs, and I am sick with the worst chest cold I have had in years. In some strangely comforting way, it is affirming to know that while we are vulnerable to the sometimes extreme vicissitudes of life, if we can survive the trauma that we experience, we then may also have the power to decide how we meet them, what we do with them, and how we evolve as a result.

My beloved Mother left this earth on July 18th and is now peacefully soaring with the angels, magnificent swallow that she is, exquisite and intentional, swooping and gliding, buoyed aloft by purest love and the light of infinite stars. Like a beautiful bell, music itself, her voice, her laughter, her bright eyes, her face tilted up smiling to receive the sun … radiant with excitement, introducing one soul to another, the grand connector and brilliant creatrice, glowing pearl, shining light, elixir of life! This is how we will remember her–these ways and countless more. The people who knew her were each forever changed for the better, their lives and their very selves magically illuminated by knowing her, truly blessed to have been touched by her singular, other-worldly magic as long as they had, and I know that she will be with us always. No language can express the power, beauty, heroism, and majesty of my Mother, Jane’s joyful love, its radiance, quenchless fidelity like a star.

Her innate, all-encompassing, boundless joy for life, her strength and her indomitable spirit lives on inside me and my family. Endlessly brilliant, insatiably curious, multi-talented, magnetic, beyond generous, compassionate, kind, inventive, creative, intuitive, insightful, inventor, idea-maker, entrepreneur, writer, poet, accomplished pianist, voracious reader and lover of the earth, nature, history, and all things beautiful, exceptional tennis player, talented designer, seamstress, baker, champion of the wrongfully accused and underprivileged, powerful catalyst for social change, alchemist and connector of souls, teacher of what it means to live life to the fullest in the spirit of sharing and love.

Jane sailed on July 18th, her perfect day, as it turns out, because in Judaism, “Chai,” the number “18” literally means “LIFE!” It is considered the luckiest number of Gematria, our mystical tradition that assigns a numerological value to Hebrew letters. Gifts are often given in multiples of 18, which literally signify the giving of life. It means to “enjoy the time we are all given on earth,” and is said at every celebration as a blessing acknowledging the anticipation of all the good things to come …  in her parting, this was the greatest gift she left behind, that of hope and joy, and this is where I draw my strength, knowing that she wants me to continue her legacy of love and celebrating life, no matter how painful it might become in moments.
Many of you have reached out to me to express how awestruck you are at my courage … please know that I don’t feel my courage. In moments, like a silent, steady heartbeat, I may feel the strength I have inherited from my ancestors, specifically from my maternal Grandfather and my Mother, both of whom were powerfully optimistic, “I will prevail,” kind of people, but make no mistake, I am suffering with agonies I have never felt until now, and the manifestation of these feelings is my very breath, or lack thereof.

After we lost Robin Williams this week, having suffered from suicidal depression myself in the past and survived by the grace of some inexplicable confluence of events, realizations and shifts— by some miracle, really … my heart, which was already cracked in two, started bleeding.

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31
Aug

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There are  moments in life when we are lucky enough to meet the secret places inside our own psyches, our own souls where hidden reserves of power and courage have seemed to lay in wait for just the right time.

From my earliest memory, I have been afraid of heights. At age 14, the chance of a lifetime- to go up to the top of the Eiffel Tower, and I had to be dragged onto the elevator by a best friend who swore to me I would live with the regret of missing out for the rest of my life. So I went, and while everyone else was “oooolah lah-ing” about the “La Vue Fantastique,” I felt like I was meeting my maker early. Once, while attempting to climb a fire tower in the Adirondacks with an old flame, I may have made it up to the second landing, (the equivalent of a second story building) and already my knees were starting to buckle and I felt a panic attack coming on.

Last week, we drove to the famed Sunset Cliffs where we were going to start shooting new footage. Little did I know that in order to get to our location, I would actually have to scale one of them. And when I say cliffs, we’re not talking little hills. The photographer looked at me, knowing full well about my fear, but started to scramble down the cliff as if he didn’t. In response to my choice words of shock and anger, the most demure of which went something like this, “How the _____ could you do this to me?!” He gave me one confident, knowing smile, clearly unconcerned that this might very well be the end of our relationship, and continued down on his merry way toward the beach. I started protesting loudly and calling after him, chastising him for bringing me to this place where I would have to actually rapelle backwards with a rope, an actual ROPE! to get down. Yeah. Right.

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