I certainly never thought about death back then.
It was encapsulated in a tiny corner of my being that I would never be with.
Death was not here, not for me, not now.
It was September I know that for sure. What year was it it’s more difficult to say and time has shifted into eternity since then. About 8 years ago?
Some crazy adventures and movements in my life – or shall I call them impulses? – drove me into this small Sivananda yoga chateau in Neuville-aux-Bois, France. Now, how did I get there would be another story, but at this particular story now I am just there, sitting, contemplating, struggling, cooking up a storm, cleaning my head off and generally just doing something I did not prepare for to do.
It is called Karma yoga. I found it on the internet some months ago and included it in my backpacking trip. So one morning I woke up in one of their hard beds. And so it started.
My waking up itself was a tremendous experience I know that. How do I remember that? Because it is 4.45 am. It is a rigorous life at the ashram. You get up early and you go to bed late. And you do not stop in-between. I would fall into the bed like an aching vegetable every evening. Aching from the work, the sitting through the meditation times, the yoga and all the work in the kitchen and bathrooms.
I don’t remember how many times I was wishing to walk around in the chateau garden. It was a beautiful garden and the energy was serene. I do remember being extremely jealous when the yoga retreat guests were hanging out outside while I was rushing to make their meals.
The swamis would burn incense at an altar by a beautiful pond each day and the smells would penetrate all aspects of this land. The incense was burning inside too, even in my tiny kitchen and regularly transported me into this magical realm of being. So did the Ayurvedic spices and the meditation and the kirtan and the breathing and the painful yoga poses.
I was on a mad go from 4.45 am till 10 pm, a race made out of each day, each moment, to make it, to perform, to control myself, to sustain, to have the energy for the next activity.
I wish I could have relaxed during the sitting meditations but that was the time I started leaving my body and entering the other worlds. And each time I came back was more and more hard to process the being and the time and the space and frequencies.
So that was I, pushing myself voluntarily into the abyss, the edge, the unknown. Asking all between how did I get there and what on earth was I thinking to come here and live like this?
And that day, when I finally got a half an hour off to breathe, alone, outside, I went for that magical walk in the garden. There was a tiny path between the really tall majestic trees that formed together above like a crown. I am breathing it all in, I feel so alive, I am even happy now because I am getting a little break from all of it, and then suddenly there it is.
I see a tiny birdie lying in front of me on the ground, with her tiny face and belly facing down, and she is…dead. A moment of recognition followed by the moment of fright. I know it is death and I know I cannot undo this, this is here, right in front of me.
I know I need to do something so I decide to burry this tiny body and I go for a shovel. As I am walking back, I hear a crystal clear voice in my head:
“Look into the face of this bird.”
As I lift up the body with my hands to put her in her little grave I dug up, I get so frightened that instead of turning her around and taking a look, I throw my birdie in the grave and hysterically cover it up. Does not matter that I just left my body a few mornings ago and I know there is another world open out somewhere not to be afraid of, fear and trauma takes my whole being completely over.
I run back with the shovel and then continue my walk as if nothing happened. I am still shaking but I am walking away, very fast and cowardly. Or so I wish.
Not even ten steps away from the fresh grave there it is: another birdie. Lying on the ground, dead. Yes. This time with the face up, towards the sky, towards my eyes.
Oh, here is death now. There is no turning away from this.
I see and feel everything all at once. I feel all life and all death. I know this will change me forever. I know my journey has ended and another one began in this very moment.
Yes, sure. I did go get the shovel one more time and did dug up another grave and yes I did my duty. I had the strength for that. What I haven’t had the strength was to stay any longer. To absorb more of this vibration, to continue the struggle, the waking up, the dishes, the breathing, the transcending, the evolving. The teachings.
The next morning some of the guests who came for a retreat were leaving. They called a taxi to the chateau and I knew from the numbers there will be one more space open. I quietly packed my things in my backpack during the night and sneaked out in the morning when the taxi arrived. Sat in it and prayed nobody will notice from the staff that I am running.
I don’t even really remember my journey to Paris. I called a friend from Orleans and told her I left the ashram and need a space for a few nights. I had another friend arrange for a plane ticket to Romania. I sat on the train looking out through the window and traveled through a land I have never seen before. I did not plan this, but then, I did not plan on meeting death either.
I acted like a child in Paris. I indulged in all the foods I was not allowed to touch in the ashram, I went to coffee shops and drank huge amounts of coffee. I felt free and happy but also strangely guilty and uneasy. I was wondering how am I ever going to understand what I have been shown?
I sure was not ready to be facing life in its fullness at that time of my life. Death did not concern me whatsoever, and spirit did not either. Denied them both and lived like I created myself.
What those two birdies tried to teach me back then took me years to understand. How did my life expand itself into a more holistic spiritual way later on is another long story.
Hard to explain, but today I am being called to help with the dying. I did help already one family member’s soul to the other side. I was weeping of joy during this sacred transitioning.
My fear of death is gone. It feels like a beautiful October morning, just like today in Vancouver, when the fog moves in and our beloved Sun seems to have disappeared for good. What do we do then? We can drive in the spirit’s light through the soul to illuminate the darkness.
Thank you for this gift from the spirit realm and for these two beautiful birdies who sacrificed their lives to teach me about death. It was the beginning of the end and a start of a beautiful spiral that keeps spiraling through my soul.
Have I had the courage to turn around and face the first birdie, would the other one survived?