Some Thoughts About Simplicity







I’m thinking about seeds today. When planted in fertile soil—sometimes even in inhospitable soil—seeds will grow in accordance with their nature. If you plant a flower seed, you don’t anticipate a pumpkin. Unless spliced with something else, a lemon tree will always produce lemons. We don’t have to know how this happens exactly, we just trust that it does. The seed knows what to do. The soil knows how to support it.

Extending the analogy a bit, the body seems to know how to grow, how to beat its own heart, think its own thoughts, digest, utilize, and eliminate its own food, heal its own cells. It knows how to live its life, barring any unforeseen complications due to injury or disease or genetic mutation. There are myriad scientific and medical explanations for how all this happens, but basically we count on our bodies knowing how to do all that.

What was brought again to my attention this month is that our bodies also know how to die—all on their own, unassisted, and sometimes unexpectedly. Of course we know this. Most people die not at the hands of others, but because their lives have finished inhabiting this body-thing we’re given to walk around in. Unless you’re in the medical field, or the armed forces, you may have not been present when life is done with the body. It’s a sacred, holy, miraculous event. Being present with a loved one as they die is traumatic, yes. It is also truly miraculous to witness the body knowing how to shut itself down, as the flower knows when its season has passed.

This month, my dear friend Donna toppled from her seat and had vacated her body by the time she landed on the ground. Her heart just stopped beating. Period. As grievous a loss as this is to those of us left behind, there was a beautiful simplicity in that moment that separated life from death.

We all “come to pass,” and our bodies will surrender life as naturally as it was embraced. We count on this to be so, so that we can get on with our grief and healing. I’m reminded of the lyrics in a song by JD and Jan Martin, “Nothing is ever lost, and we are not forgotten,” as we live on in the heart of the collective consciousness.

Peace be yours, my friend.                        

Donna Piepgras: 1/15/49 – 8/1/12