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.