The water glistened in front of me. The glorious morning sun, shining fresh and clean in a blue October sky reflected on the waves with thousands of tiny diamonds sparkling at my feet.
“Please take a walk and go down by the waterfront, just to see it and enjoy some outside before your flight,” she begged, hugging me goodbye. I promised her I would, and now I sat silent, grateful I had followed through.
Perfect opportunity for my newly established meditation practice. With no one nearby, I decided to record a mindfulness meditation about the practice of staying in a place of Loving kindness, and releasing old negative energy that no longer felt necessary. This was my new promise to myself.
I had just finished a week of intense writing, at a beautiful cottage in Grand Manan, New Brunswick. Touching nature, feeding my mind with the perpetual sound of the waves, digging deep into my soul for access to the painful past- the week had helped me personally to release so much that no longer served me. I wanted to move farther on this path, re-energizing my daily life by establishing a habit of calling myself on my own shit.
Easy to say, STAY IN LOVE, much more difficult to run up against your own natural reactions to people or situations and refrain from judgement. Judgment always took me out of love and right smack dab into fear, aggression, disregard. I wanted this to stop. It wasn’t helping me grow or become a better person.
I pulled my phone out, hit the record button and began to speak, closing my eyes and pulsing my energy to expand out around me. I wanted to reach the thousands of diamond sparkles on the water, joining the flow of the water and its non-judgmental caress of the shore.
I heard a footstep and a loud sigh as someone dropped heavily into the red Adirondack chair 4 feet to my left. My mind IMMEDIATELY went to “this is my spot, go away! I’m busy trying to become a better person doing my meditation on love and kindness.” OUCH!
But weirdly, I actually caught myself making the jump in the same second the thoughts entered my conscious mind. AND I STOPPED! This is exactly what I wanted to quit doing. So without opening my eyes to see who had sat down, I redirected my mind back to loving kindness. I surrounded this person with love and warmth, willing myself to gently send him high energy vibrations of acceptance and connection.
I opened my eyes slowly and without turning my head, observed what I could see. He was out of my direct line of sight, only his lower leg and his shoe, scuffed and dirty. He pulled a pint bottle of some kind of blue glass out of his coat, pulled loose the crinkly paper seal and immediately threw it on the ground in front of him. I sensed more than saw him raise the bottle to his lips and guzzle a good third of the liquid, which I felt was liquor. Mind you, this was Halifax, Nova Scotia, pristine, clean with no trash anywhere on the street or curbs. Again, the mean monster thoughts surged my head “Pick up your damn trash!!” Judgement.
I closed my eyes again, releasing the need to judge or scold him, and took in a hug breath, and slowly blew it out of my mouth, sending the nasty thought monster with it. I relaxed back into mindfulness, and reached mentally towards him to wrap kindness around him. I heard him sigh, jaggedly, as he mumbled, “I don’t care. I’m done. It’s over. Finish this and jump….”
I suddenly realized that this poor dejected human, drinking a pint of liquor at 9:45am, was here on the waterfront to leap off. He was going to throw himself right into that icy cold glittering water!
And my ugly monster reared her selfish, bitter voice and silently whined…
Oh no, you’re going to have to jump in to save him! You’ll be soaked! You have to catch a flight!
I wanted to slap myself hard! I caught the thoughts the moment she uttered them. This unkind, nasty, inner habit. She didn’t care about him, about his pain. She was only concerned with the inconvenience he was going to cause HER!
I stood up immediately, and walked behind his chair. H wasn’t even aware of me there, so lost in his own drunken pity and self-loathing. His head was down, his greasy hair shiny in the sunlight.
I heard another deeper, clearer voice inside me, not my own.
“Send him more love. Tell him he matters, that he is loved. Keep sending him messages to drown out the negative voice he is hearing. Stay in love. Walk away now.” I backed away slowly. Stepping quietly, not taking my eyes off the back of him. My body began to fill with heat. The inner voice, now so strong and loud continued,
“Send him loving thoughts. Wrap him in a warm embrace with that loving energy. Give him peace.”
I turned and started scanning the boardwalk for a guard, the police, anyone who might help. There was no one to ask or approach for help. I felt the fear well up, he would jump if I walked away and did nothing!
I knew that he needed mental health assistance so that he did not harm himself. I started walking, envisioning him wrapped in loving arms, safe and ok. I used every bit of imagery I could muster to keep him from that water. I looked everywhere. I turned a corner and kept walking, thinking of this man, his great sadness, his loss of something….
I understood that loss. The endless pain of loss. So great you no longer cared whether you lived or died. I had lived in grief, day and night and I knew its strength. Jerrod, my 23year old son, had died tragically in an auto accident a year ago, and I had fought daily against the magnetic pull of that loss, knowing if I slipped even a little, the depression and grief could overtake me and finish me off.
Just last week, on a cold stormy night at that quiet lonely cottage, on that tiny lonely island, I fell into a deep grieving melancholy that wouldn’t shake off. I began to cry, and then sob as I realized my boy would never be back. He would never read my book, call me on the phone, kiss his grandmother, marry his sweetheart, give me grandchildren. All I had was a wooden box containing clips of his beautiful curling hair, a container of ashes and the photos of his life. He, his beautiful spirit filled with love and kindness, was lost to me forever. My tears ran blistering hot down the sides of my face into the soft downy pillow. The room was dark, except for the light of my computer screen casting an eerie glow.
I couldn’t bear the pain any longer. I got out of bed quietly, and put on my boots. Pulled on my rain slicker and made the decision to walk out the door, out to the cliffs overlooking the Atlantic and step off the edge. My life had lost its purpose and I had lost my will to struggle anymore. There was no more meaning.
I walked out into the darkness, the wind so strong I lost my footing several times and stumbled into the trees. I trudged slowly to the cliff. The sea was inky black below me, crashing with deafening noise against the base of the jagged rocks. The wind was howling, calling me, inviting me, daring me to take that last step off the edge. I moved close, my boots knocking loose pebbles off the edge. I sighed, a huge jagged sound tearing thru my chest.
And right then, I felt it. The gentle wrapping of an invisible blanket of warmth descending down around my body, as if someone was standing behind me, loving me, leaning in close, wrapping their comforting arms around me. It was the same feeling I had experienced in the hospital chapel a year ago just before I entered that hospital room to identify my son’s broken, bloody body lying on a gurney.
“I’m here. I haven’t gone anywhere,” the voice in my left ear, just a whisper at first. I heard it clearly, over the wind, the sea. It caressed my ears, and slipped into me, soothing and warm. I began to shiver, my tears stopped and I looked around me in the darkness. Chilling icy rain pelted my face, but I only felt the warmth.
“Go back inside. It’s not your time yet.” It was stronger now, I could sense that. “Go.” Completely drained of willpower, I obeyed.
I trudged slowly back to the tiny cabin, not wanting the invisible blanket to let go of me. I wanted to stay with it, this strange comforting sensation that eased my heart. I slipped off my wet muddy boots and left them on the porch. Numb, I crept inside, dropping my wet slicker on the floor and with the last bit of strength in my body, I crawled into bed. My dreams were of flying.
I turned another corner of the waterfront boardwalk, nearly back to my hotel, my intention still focused the poor broken man by the water. I continued sending him all the love I could muster up, knowing there was not much else I could do. I released my thoughts of him to the Universe sending up a prayer and walked on. Just as I glanced up to get my bearings, I saw him, the scruffy man from the red chair- coming up the street, wandering unsteadily towards me. I stopped, shocked and speechless. And in that moment, a police car pulled alongside the curb. A young uniformed officer got out and stopped the man.
I heard him distinctly say,
“I want to help you. What’s going on, man? Come sit in the car.” He smiled kindly at the man as he led him gently to the car. I stood staring. Not moving. He had been going to jump, I knew that. And I knew this cop was not there to arrest him, but to really help, in a way that would save his life.
I watched the police car pull away and drive up the street. Had I been wrong to walk away? The voice inside had told me to do so, as if no physical interference on my part was needed. For once, I listened. Completely tuned in to my inner dialog, aware of the shifting of my energy from judgement to simply love. I listened again to the meditation I had recorded just as the man had shown up. The energetic shift had been enough. Nothing more was needed from me.