Zeke on November 7th, a few days before his transition. [Photo credit: MariLyn Knapp]
Monday, November 10th, was a tough day here in the holler, especially for my neighbor MariLyn, who had to opt for a veterinarian-assisted transition for her long time friend, Zeke the cat.
Later that night, unable to sleep, I became aware of Zeke's absence as a "hole in the holler," an empty spot in the energy field and physical community here that Zeke had held. At the same time I could sense, energetically, his emergence on the other side. In each dimension there clearly seemed to be some kind of re-integration going on -- slowly starting to knit the gap in some way here, and simultaneously opening a space for Zeke and integrating his presence with his new place of being and beings.
I had an idea to blog about this experience, though I wasn't sure how much I could say about it. This sense of a hole had come with few words attached. I did have an immediate association, however, to a quote from a Native American elder about the
significance of even the smallest of creations to the universe as a whole.
An Enchenopa treehopper, one of many very small creatures that live in the holler. [Photo credit: Cathie Bird]
I remembered including these words from Grandma Edna Gordon, Hawk Clan Elder of the Seneca Nation, Six Nations Iroquois in a blog post and found it fairly quickly in the archives of The Daily R-r-r-ibbit:
“Is a flower essential to the Universe? Some folks’ll tell you, ‘Oh, no It’s just a flower! It lives and dies in a day or two. What does Creation need that silly little flower for?’ ”
“Well, I tell you, that little tiny flower…you see it there by my toe…that little white one, no bigger than an earring… That flower is essential—that’s right, I’m telling you, essential—to the whole wide Universe, same as you and me and everybody else. We’re ALL essential, each and every one of us!
“Why, without that tiny little flower there it’d be a different Universe, a different Creation, not this one we have. D’you understand? So THAT’s a mighty power, don’t you think? One little flower can change the entire World! Just like one person can!”
What I did not remember was that I had written about my experience of a hole or gap following the death of my brother-in-law in that same 2010 post:
When I recognize such a space, I try not to rush to fill it. Filling gaps too quickly often attracts second-hand fill―old thoughts, old beliefs, old feelings―and the creative potential in new space is too often buried instead. What began to be born in my Dave-space was a reminder of the certainty of uncertainty, and the notion that the death of a loved one offers this as a gift to us all.
What strikes me now from these previous thoughts on holes is that I recognized the creative potential within them. I can access this if I just sit with the experience and remain open -- not speculate or force things or tamper with what was being born into that space. As I contemplated this, I could feel its presence in this week's Zeke-space experience as well.
As I continued to reflect on this over the next few days, it was more clear that new information in Zeke-space had to do with reintegration. Zeke had not died in the sense of no longer being. He just flowed from one dimension of being into another. I was sad he was gone from here, and I connected empathically with MariLyn's deep sadness around the loss of his physical presence. At the same time, I felt this transition as matter-of-fact, that sense of simultaneous reintegration in all dimensions as the way things happen, as ordinary magic.
The day after Zeke's transition, November 11th, I heard news that Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh had suffered a serious cerebral hemmorhage. An update yesterday from the sangha at Plum Village says that while Thầy’s condition is still in a critical stage and conditions can change at any moment, his doctors are cautiously optimistic. They report that yesterday he opened his eyes for the first time since his cerebral hemorrhage, and was very conscious and attentive to what was happening around him.
As I read the news and the responses from thousands of people around the world who were praying for Thầy’s recovery, I thought about Zeke, too. A little cat and a famous Buddhist monk. Each in his own way having a huge influence in the lives of the people who know them. Each in his own way encountering and negotiating the boundaries of other dimensions.
Plum Village posted a link to this short video of Thich Nhat Hahn speaking on the fear of death. His words resonate very much with my more wordless experience of Zeke's transition, which of course will continue to unfold. I thought sharing it would be a perfect way to end this post.