Monday, 20 June 2011

Fathers Day


Today is Fathers day.

Here is a picture of Dad and me looking really happy .

Sadly, my Dad is no longer with us because he died from cancer and this makes me feel sad.

Todays is Fathers day.

Here is picture of my Dads Dad ...

Sadly, my Dad never got to be happy with his Dad because he stopped being friends with him.

According to Pops, Jim SNR was a womaniser and a bully. He would often disappear for days on end and then show up like nothing had happened. Dad told me that  he was only aged 5 or 6 when the war started between his parents. Dad became so scared that he would leave the house and walk the streets. One time he returned to an empty house. Supposedly, Jim SNR had told a neighbour that they were moving home and emptied the house of all its contents leaving the family with nothing. 

My Dad once told me that he didn't know what a normal loving father/ son relationship was. He was never cuddled or shown affection, and grew up feeling unwanted. Consequently Jim JNR never forgave his father for all his wrongdoings and their relationship fell apart like a tatty old sweater.

For many years, Dad and me didn't see eye to eye either.The road became dark, twisted  and lonely. Then one day the pain became so unbearable that I was forced to my knees. I made the unwavering decision to heal my relationship with my father.  Rather than shrink away from truth I chose to walk towards it - peeling away unresolved layers of  guilt and shame along the way, which I  had unconsciously been carrying for my father and his father before him. This toxic guilt and shame  had become so tightly wrapped around my heart that I had become cut off from my emotions. Eventually, I succumbed and what revealed itself was a hurting child walking wounded - and that child was the embodiment of father and son. I held the child closely and in that moment my relationship with my father was transformed and healed. I had remembered love.

This inner work I have undertaken is radical because it goes against the worldly grain. The butterfly effect states that a butterfly flapping its wings somewhere in the jungles of Asia can eventually start a tornado in Texas. When I changed my mind about my father the wings of love started to flap and  I experienced a miracle. Through having the courage to forgive I was able to give to my father the love I thought that I was denied as a child. We held each other and cried - father and son. And in that moment the tear in the sacred fabric started to reweave itself and the way forward became easier.

 Incidentally, today is the first time I have ever seen a picture of my grandfather. In life he may have had a hard shell but beneath the surface he was  a broken man unable to tell his son that he loved him because he didn't feel loved in his own life.
Today is  Fathers day ...
Only the love remains.

 ' We must be about our Fathers business which means the business of our Source which is love and love only. Anything loving that we do or think contributes to the healing of humanity. Any turning away from love literally holds back the planet . We are perched on the brink of a miraculous transition from the ways of fear to the ways of love.' - Marianne Williamson

Around the time Pops was diagnosed with ’that lung cancer’ a lady contacted the family saying that she was my fathers half sister. She was on a heroines journey attempting to retrace her family roots to regain her sense of self. Sadly, Hazel never got the opportunity to meet her brother before he died. But since then she has been embraced wholeheartedly by our family. I pray that the work I have done with my father allows her to be closer to him,and that her heart is repaired, even though she never met her own Father and half brothers and sisters. Auntie Hazel - I dedicate this post to you.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011


When Dad died from 'that lung cancer' it had a massive impact on my relationship with death which resulted in me asking the following question:

 'If I only had 104 days left to live how would I live my life?

I decided to find out and embarked on an epic 104 day journey into unfamiliar territory. This required copious amounts of courage, and combined support from both friends and family. Ell, Brooke, Julia, Cecilia - Thankyou so much - for all your kind words and support - I don't think I could have done it without you.

An Experiment In Conscious Dying challenged my thinking beyond anything I had previously encountered.( probably because I had successfully surrounded myself with enough assorted paraphernalia to avoid ever having to face the the inevitable - my death) In the beginning, the path seemed dark, twisty and wide as I clung desperately to the sides of familiarity. However, as the experiment unfolded I began to trust the process, and instead of seeking specialness in the little things outside of me, I gave myself permission to sit quietly in the emptiness and gradually the path grew light, straight and narrow revealing a life filled with passion, excitement and possibility.

On the afternoon of the final day of the experiment I sat quietly on a solitary rock on Shoreham beach. With death a mere pebbles throw away my heart was suprisingly filled with gratitude. I sipped green tea from Dad's old thermos flask weeping at the profound beauty of it all; the peaceful sound of the big sea ebbing and flowing, the seagulls chaotically diving headfirst into the water, the sun setting on the distant horizon. I could sense the edges of my heart melting. Today was definately a good day to die.

As midnight approached Ell and me looked into each others eyes one last time, and gave thanks for our time together and the love we had shared. Saying goodbye to Ell was profoundly moving. I imagined what it may have been like for Dad as he said his final goodbye to Mum. Then, I took one final look around the room before closing my eyes and surrendering to the Great Heart. Ell kept me company for awhile as she guided me through the last breath meditation. And when the moment came for me to take the last breath, my arms naturally fell to my sides and I effortlessly followed the light.

And from the vanishing point on the most distant horizon, watch as something slowly approaches. It is the first breath of life.
And with that breath arrives a new body. Notice in the desires that arise as that new incarnation approaches the dimming of the light that precedes the point of forgetfulness. Attempt to stay alert through the process of re-entry.
Each breath the first.
Each breath completely new.
Taking birth once again.
Born  back into a body to examine what was born. And what never dies.
Taking birth for the benefit of all sentient beings.
The light body reinhabiting a heavy body. Renaimating life and the possiblity of an awareness so clear it obviates any potential for the kind of stillbirth that lasts a lifetime. Born to serve and explore. To deepen the mercy of whatever world we find ourselves in.
Each breath so precious, allowing the light body to remain a moment more within its earthen vessel.
Taking birth into this world to discover the healing we have so long sought. And to sing the song we have been learning since we sat beneath the bo tree or hung from the cross or looked into the eyes of our dying child. No one said it would be easy, only fruitful.
Each breath the first, the last, the only breath available, to carry us beyond our forgetfulness into the scintillanting center of the living truth. - Stephen Levine

It's been a few days since the experiment ended and the path once again appears dark, twisty and wide. I have awkwardly returned to earth feeling self conscious and paranoid - nailed to a cross of my own making. The ego tells me that uncertainty is the enemy and spends it's days looking for love in all the wrong places - for bigger and better ways to stay in control. I have been scurrying around looking for scraps of safety outside of myself: downloading music; excessive eating; weight training and masturbating - acceptable escape routes to help numb the pain. Perhaps, this is the point of forgetfulness that Stephen Levine speaks about in his book A Year To Live. 

On a positive note...

If there is anything  An Experiment In Conscious Dying  taught me it is this; there is no-thing comfortable about living half a life. God did not make a mistake when he created me.

 It's perfectly safe to let go and listen to the whispers, trusting that I am supported unconditionally by the love of God.


Wednesday, 26 January 2011


I am privileged to have been asked to write the closing words - the blogituary - for Nige's sacred journey into the heart of life and death. I have not said all that there is to say, but I have said what I felt needed saying, and that is enough.

On January 24th 2011, Nige Atkinson completed his 104 day long Experiment in Conscious Dying. Before you read on, worry not - he has not died! (I cannot tell you how relieved I was to wake up next to him on day 105 and see his beautiful self breathing! What a remarkable work of art the lungs are to house life so delicately, yet so essentially.)

"Each breath the first, the last."
Stephen Levine

It has been an incredible honour to walk alongside Nige, to witness him on this journey, and to find myself having a parallel, personal experience with death over the last few months. I am sure there are a number of readers of this blog who feel the same. As death touches all those who love a person, so too does consciously dying, it would appear.

Nige's decision to take the 104 day long journey towards a conscious death - a journey that his dad took in 2009 when he found out about 'that cancer' - set his feet firmly on a path that brought just about the sum total of the human experience to him in a short time span.

In examining death, and in fearlessly facing the prospect of his own expiration, he encountered experience after experience, emotion after emotion, forgiveness after forgiveness, eventually arriving at the Still Point, able to let go, able to say goodbye, ready to greet death and the forgetfulness that a new beginning brings.

"Opening up to the pain of death is one of the most mysterious blessings of life."
Marianne Williamson

One of the sentences I often heard him speak was, "If I only had 74 / 13/ 5 (and so on) days to live, how differently would I live my life today?"

Towards the end of the experiment, this was a question that he fired in my direction more than once! How, he challenged, would I live my life knowing that he was going to die in just a few fleeting days. What a question!, my ego ranted.

Unbeknownst to me, the possibility of Nige dying in a rapidly decreasing number of days had become genuinely frighteningand I wrestled with a strange mix of thoughts and emotions swirling and whirling and whooshing around inside me, all boiling down to a single thought: "Please don't leave me!"

My own greatest fear, met through his experiment. What a blessing.

What a question, then, for all of us. What a question! This is perhaps one of the greatest learnings that I witnessed emerge in Nige from this experiment: if we each lived our lives conscious of death's inevitable arrival, conscious of its complete lack of predictability, conscious of our eventual departure from this heavy body, how differently would we choose to live? 

How differently would we choose to think?
Fear or love - which do you choose?

How differently would we love?
Fear or love - which do you choose?

How much more willing would we be to leave no stone unturned so that when Death greeted us, we could say: 

"Yes. Today is a good day to die, for all things in my life are present."
Fear or love - which do you choose?

Without reservation, I can say that Nige gave himself fully to this experiment, and to answering these questions. I know that you know that - you were there. You read the blog posts. You saw the images. You said your final words to him, just as I did. You mirrored the respectful sacredness with which he entered into this experience.

In doing so, you have been an essential part of a seminal journey of healing. On behalf of Nige, and on behalf of Jim - ever present and greatly missed - I want to express heartfelt gratitude to life, for flowing through us; to death, for always being a hair's breadth away; and to the Great Giver of life, to Spirit, which flows through all things and bestows miracles upon all of us.

"Everything that comes from love is a miracle."
A Course in Miracles

May our eyes see the miracles that we are, and may we live each day ready to greet death, consciously aware of the magnificent lessons that it would have us learn while we live, so that we may remember that in truth:

"Only the Love is real in any situation."
A Course in Miracles

Monday, 24 January 2011

Journey's End

       'The journey closes, ending at the place where it began. No trace of it remains.' - ACIM

A Good Day To Die

DAY  1

Today is a good day to die for all the things of my life are present.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Dear Elloa ...


Once upon a lifetime a person comes along and touches the heart so profoundly that we catch a glimpse of heaven on earth. From the first moment I saw you I have loved you dearly. Together, we have walked the path of the open heart and showed up for love, bravely surrendering our deepest wounds to the light for healing.

 'God heals the world two by two'.

My beloved Elloa ...

Thankyou for being a beautiful soul, mighty companion, best friend and lover. Thankyou for your courageous spirit, gigantic heart, brutal honesty, passion, grace and power. Thankyou for the joy that you have brought into my life. Thankyou for holding my hand. Thankyou for this Love.

It has been an honour to walk with you on this great and holy adventure.

This is the beginning, not an end. Our bond is stronger than death.

May your heart stay open.

May you always follow the light.

Your friend goes with you. You are not alone.

I shall watch over you and protect you.

Till we meet again.

 I love you,

Nige XXX

'You do not walk alone. Gods angels hover near and all about. His Love surrounds you, and of this be sure that I will never leave you comfortless.' - ACIM