As I stood in the sun and wind I noticed that the waves came through and around the portal and crashed against the sides and the cliffs creating a deep percussive sound. It could be heard even above the wind. The other amazing sound I heard was from the beach itself. As the waves flooded the beach and covered all the rocks, the power of its flow and ebb caused the rocks to clash together especially when the waves receded, creating a sound like soft rain.
Immediately Cyril came to me again, giving me a beautiful metaphor for this beach, the portal, the waves and the soft rain. Life, our life, all Life is the waves, the ocean, the water. We enter this physical life through a portal, with a certain amount of force and power, flowing and landing onto this planet, this beach. We remain on the beach buffeted by life and the impacts of our experiences, taking in the sun and the wind, rolling around in the sand and experiencing the deep resonant sounds of living. When we leave, we depart through the same portal and this powerful ebbing of life creates sound and rain and tears on the beach left behind, echoing and rising.
The gift of this metaphor came to me in an instant, a millisecond.
Cyril noticed portals everywhere. He recognized the importance of going through doorways that would bring him on another side with a different view and with the opportunity for learning and new growth. His intention was always for deeper wisdom about himself, about being in relationships and about this human experience so that he could then offer what he was learning to others so they might learn and grow too.
He knew he could not stand on one side of a portal looking through and learn what he needed to learn. Even in the most difficult times when the portal was fiery or painful he would say, “What is in the way is the way.” That is not to say he wasn’t ever reluctant, he was. However, Cyril’s tenacity for gathering information and knowledge always allowed him to enter the doorways offered everyday with curiosity, gratitude and no regret.
Even as Cyril approached the final portal of his life, he (and I) lived unconstrained by the knowledge that his physical life could be over, literally at any moment. We lived and savored every minute together. In the last few days of his life he appeared hyper, wanting to do so much. More importantly he spoke with loving urgency, trying to pour and share his knowledge and wisdom with everyone he encountered: the bank teller, the cashier at the hardware store and even the hospice nurse and chaplain. He would ask, “Are you open to learning?”
Cyril poured and shared about the importance of seeking Truth and staying present even if the searching is difficult, painful and unclear, especially if the Truth is painful and caused great rifts in our view of who we thought we were and who we are becoming. The portals need to be entered. He was humble and revealed how his own imperfections opened him to deeper learning and compassion for himself and others, and showed him the most important gift we can offer others is the unconditional pouring of Love.
Now as I stand on this side of the portal that Cyril has already entered, I live with the deep pain of the clashing rocks, and the soft rain of tears for the ebbing of his physical life that is gone. What is it like on the other side of that portal? I can’t really know until I enter. Until then, I want to approach every other portal in my life with: curiosity and beginners mind so that I can be poured into always asking my self “am I open to learning”; courage when the portal is scary and when the Truth clashes every rock within my life; compassion for my own imperfections and unskilled ways; and Love, unconditional Love for myself and everyone so that we all may wake to each day and greet each doorway with gratitude.