From the heart- a 15 day journal exercise Part 12: the moment of death

I am re-reading Stephen Levine‘s A Year to Live- how to live this year as if it were your last as a personal exercise schedule to take time to slow down and truly listen to my heart.


Part 1: Catching Up with Your Life

Part 2: Practice Dying

Part 3: Preparing to Die

Part 4: Dying from the Common Cold

Part 5: Renewing Evolution

Part 6: Famous Last Words

Part 7: Fear of Fear

Part 8- Noticing

Part 9: A Commitment to Life

Part 10: Fear of Dying

Part 11: Fear of Death

Part 12: The Moment of Death

1. Journal exercise:  What are you saying goodbye to today in order to expand?

I am saying goodbye to NYC 2017.  Can’t afford it. Wasn’t meant to be.  But I say hello to what NYC truly means to me.  Deep in my heart.  For I am an artist.  That is my NYC.


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2. Capture chapter highlights:

Some say the moment of death occurs when the heart stops.  But the heart never stops, for when it is no longer contained between opposing ventricles it expands slowly into its inherent vastness without missing a beat, expressing the truth it has embraced for a lifetime…

Death like birth is not an emergency but an emergence.  Like a flower opening, it is nearly impossible to tell exactly when the bud starts to become the blossom, or when the seed-laden blossom begins to burst and release its bounty.

– Stephen Levine 

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3. Explore another source regarding listening to the messages from the heart:

Everything involves sacrifice. Everything includes some sort of cost. Nothing is pleasurable or uplifting all of the time. So the question becomes: what struggle or sacrifice are you willing to tolerate? Ultimately, what determines our ability to stick with something we care about is our ability to handle the rough patches and ride out the inevitable rotten days.

If you want to be a brilliant tech entrepreneur, but you can’t handle failure, then you’re not going to make it far. If you want to be a professional artist, but you aren’t willing to see your work rejected hundreds, if not thousands of times, then you’re done before you start. If you want to be a hotshot court lawyer, but can’t stand the 80-hour workweeks, then I’ve got bad news for you.

What unpleasant experiences are you able to handle? Are you able to stay up all night coding? Are you able to put off starting a family for 10 years? Are you able to have people laugh you off the stage over and over again until you get it right?

What shit sandwich do you want to eat? Because we all get served one eventually.

Might as well pick one with an olive.

– Mark Manson


4. Today’s angel card(s):



I thought my achy body was grief but perhaps it is birth.

Journal entry December 26, 2015

The surprise Christmas release by LCD Soundsystem epitomizes my achy-boned, sentimental, full of love and nostalgia, time to transition Christmas.

I both celebrate and honor and am in awe that this was the first Christmas without both my kids in the same room or even the same town.

I want to acknowledge that.  I refuse to go through life without being profoundly moved by these small miracles of life chapters and development.


I woke up Christmas morning with just my parrot in the house.

And I loved it.  Because it’s graduation/celebration time.  My daughter in the city she loves.  My son with the love of his life in a snowy wonderland.

And also this TRULY is the first time I feel like I am processing fully my parents in order to celebrate and feel liberated by the life they worked so hard to give me.


I thought my achy body was flu or grief for my dog.  But perhaps it is a type of birth.  In the hot tub, nose just above the water.

I have loved this Christmas.

Been deeply saddened by it.  Grown into it.   Worn down by it.  Grown with it.

The song is on repeat and I cry, grieve, dance, sing, draw to it and I love it.


Fifth Chakra, I love you but you’re bringing me down.

I love the concept of your biology is your biography.  It’s not science but I find it a great way to address pain and blockage and to reassess your life.  It just makes you go hmmm.

Caroline Myss explains:

What I recognized is that your biography becomes your biology–you are one and the same with your life and your history. Events that you have not yet reconciled, haven’t forgiven, haven’t let go of, are carried as that debt in your cell tissue.

Q: Does that mean we create our own illnesses?

I’m glad you asked that. I’m going to say ‘No.’ Instead, it’s much better to say that we influence our health. That is certainly true. Do we create it? No, we haven’t got that kind of power. But we certainly do have an influential factor.

This past week, I have been experiencing the familiar arthritis/bursitis in my left shoulder.  The pain has been UNBEARABLE.  And I have a pretty high pain threshold, so for me to stop in my tracks meant it was time to take stock.

It’s interesting that the 5th Chakra addresses self-expression.   My initial blockage in that level came in the late 70’s with a parotid gland tumor (and was treated into the mid 80’s).  It was the first time I damaged my shoulder as I danced through post-op and radiation treatments (trying to protect my left side).  It was also a time when I completely lost my voice.  My art and my dance were  havens for self-expression.  But my body was signaling that there was blockage in my self-expression elsewhere in my life.

I have lingered between the 1st and 4th chakra since then, so it’s interesting to be back exploring the 5th.

The 5th chakra also expresses issues around trust.  Trusting your life’s journey.  Trusting others.

I know as I take in so many stories of others in my work, I need to take in my own story and to take ownership of my journey yet trusting the path.

How fully and authentically are we expressing our lives?  Where are we blocked?

Write about it.  Draw it out.  Whatever comes to mind.

New York, I love you but…

I had the strangest dream t0 the soundtrack of LCD Soundsystem‘s New York I Love You:

I accidentally poured Drano on my forearm (my left one).  I felt no pain.  But I did notice that the Drano was slicing through my skin and working its way down to the bone.  But not in a messy way.  In clean slices like knife cuts.  I didn’t feel any pain though.  But I told my son I should probably go to emergency.  I was going to try to fix it myself by pulling the wounds tight.  But I knew that would only be a “bandaid solution.”  I knew I had opened myself up.  Made myself vulnerable and was dealing with it right by seeking expertise.


I NEED A SOCIAL LIFE‘s blog entries about NEW YORK.

Photo by Anna T Fabulous