Last night my friend stopped by and as we sat on the floor of my house, she asked me “What do you think you learned from Steve? What did he teach you?”
In case you didn’t read my earlier posts, my dear friend Steve Bridges died suddenly in his sleep last Saturday morning. Click here to read about him and see photos and videos.
Although I had thought a lot about this all throughout the week, it wasn’t until Annie asked me and I had to say it aloud that I got very clear on the things I had learned from him.
Not from his death but from his life.
He taught me to love my life.
As we were laughing and boarding the plane to Mexico for my retreat in January, he looked me in the eyes and said ” I have a great life, Jen.”
He truly loved his life and lived joyously.
He taught me to be present.
He taught me to listen.
I wrote a poem called One Rose To Another years ago but I think I am going to read it at Steve Bridge’s memorial as it feels fitting.
It gives me the chills when I go back and read it now:
One Rose To Another by Jen Pastiloff
This is how you live when you are close to death.
As I do: as through the dappled light of a linen curtain.
I am the most beautiful now I have ever been.
The sun hardly touches me.
But enough is enough.
I’ve had my sun, my moon, my loves infinite as promises-
I get enough light now that I am perched here at this brink.
Pulling farther away from my lover, from my own body.
We’ve lasted longer than expected.
I have few regrets.
Had the stages of my life been clear to me all along
instead of in a flash when my heart finally sprung awake-
that slight palpitation as I flushed a pink so perfect
the earth even took notice and stopped breathing for a moment,
my own insides balking at my beauty.
I regret its taken me so long to see it.
All that I love is right here with me-
We have a little time left my love,
this puddle of water we’ve been breathing
is not quite gone
we have some time left in this glass bottle.
This is how we live when we are close to death.
As I do.
Dreaming quietly of the seed dropping,
that first morning, that first breath as our lungs opened,
our petals still just a thought under soil.
The words: I am the rose, and by extension, all that is good in the world
still part of the sky, the rain, dew.
“I regret it’s taken me so long to see it.”
I never want to look back on my life and say that.
This is what I learned from Steve.
He looked at his life and said “I love my life. I have a great life.”
Like it says in the poem I wrote, he taught me that I am: the rose, and by extension, all that is good in the world.
My connection with him ran so deep because he saw my “I Am” before I saw it myself.
Now you can see what a gift he has given me indeed. Why I have finally come up with a title for my book: I Am-ness.
We did the I Am-ness exercise at my workshops and retreats he attended. Someone declares what they are in the form of: I am _______. This is followed by staring in someone else’s eyes for 3 minutes with that truth.
His “I am” was: Love.
Like in the poem, he taught me that “I am the most beautiful now I have ever been”.
Thank you, Steve. I too am love.
I realize this now.
Until we meet again.
I’ve got some work to do here.
This is beautiful Jen. This brought tears to my eyes. I wish I would be able to be at his service but I cannot. It will be difficult for all of hiw friends and family but they will always remember what an amazing man he was. RIP Steve.
and you are doing your work very well indeed, Jennifer. i can hear, see & feel the effects of your efforts, your joy, and your loving way from 200 miles away … and i’ve never even met you. some say love is easy. it isn’t. love is the most transforming force in the Universe. my guess is, most of us are not on the same stage of spiritual growth at the same time. it’s easy for the unprincipled to pretend to be loving but inevitably their own inner chaos will reveal itself in the disorder & negativity in their lives, in their superficiality & shallowness. for those who love, who are love, who care about other’s joy & happiness, who live with integrity of their own kindness & empathy, there is always plenty of work to do. and it is precisely that sort of work which is needed most, which is both most rewarding & at times difficult & painful. your caring shows in all you are manifesting, yes … but it i’m willing to bet it shows even more so in the smiles & laughter of those around you, in the warmth of the smiles & joy you “Jenerate” and the smiles, joy, warmth & kindness which are returned to you.
keep Jenerating your light, your i-am-ness, your loveliness & kindness Jennifer. thank you.
You are right up there with the best of the best poets I’ve ever read … With Pablo and Rudyard and Ondaatje and Anne Michaels who wrote one on my favorite stanzas: Like loons we travel underwater
great distances, to surface next to each other.
We burst up from the water to air
• • •
No matter where you are
or who you’re near
we come up for air together.
No matter my pace or distance
it’s you I surface to.
(“Sublimation” 116-18; 120-24)
I think you would really like her work…especially “What the Light Teaches”
We float in death,
the ordinary world holds together
like the surface tension of water,
still and stretched, a splash of light.
• • •
When there are no places left for us,
we’ll still talk in order to make things true:
not only the years before we were born,
not only the names of our dead,
but also. . . .
• • •
The simple feel of an apple in the hand.
The look of the table after a meal.
(“What the Light Teaches” 3.18-21; 7.1-7)
AWWW! SO so so so wonderful. I thought of him and you last night as well. I can hear you both laughing over…”I have a great life. I have a great life!” I am learning that Jen. Through you. And through him.
You have more to do on this Earth. As do I.
your work is workin’ Jennifer. namaste.
Thank you for sharing… its beautiful… touching… healing… loving… the work you are doing is touching the life i am… 🙂 have a most glorious day today 🙂 and I am having a great life too Jen… xx
I Am… by Dwayne Dyer! Saw his show and it was different. 🙂 Cary
I find it inspiring that you are able to find the truth and love in an unfortunate life event. Heal well!
Jen – thank you for all your beautiful posts. When I need some inspiration, or just have a free minute, I read one of your blogs and find kindness, love and then find myself open to being a better person and accepting and loving me for me. I recently bought some of the Conscious Ink tattoos, which really helped me in some negative times, and with your blog, am finally understanding the power behind the “I Am” tattoo that Frank included for free. I’ll be applying that one tonight, and will ask myself that question every time I look in the mirror. Thanks again for your powerful messages, for being a positive influence in my life even though we’ve never met 🙂
[…] so much we felt that we actually had become family. Then, one of our group, the beloved comedian Steve Bridges, passed away a few weeks. It made our time in Mexico, which was already so precious, that much more […]