(Continued from Who’s Stalking My Soul? – Part I)
I felt miles behind the other members. Margaret’s propensity for finishing my sentences seemed proof of my lagging position. She’d quietly, but emphatically place a finishing polish on my meagre beginnings. If I remained silent for too long, Margaret might jump in with a grin and say, “Amy probably knows about that…!” Not understanding why she would make such a statement, I would struggle to feel, instead of think, my response.
“It’s a long journey from the head to the heart,” she’d say looking at me. “But it’s a journey well worth taking.” Was she placating or stretching this neophyte?
I learned to watch her carefully. We came to Chapter 28, Refining The Psyche. On page 161, we read:
The seeker of wisdom may find that the knowledge found within affects the feelings profoundly and may even be accompanied by visions, celestial sounds, or delightful fragrances.
“Ha!” Margaret said and then laughed.
This time I was ready for her. I had shared my meditation experiences with the group during an earlier chapter. If Margaret insisted on my comment this time, I was prepared. I would quote from a book written by Dr. Nancy Reeves, “I’d say “Yes,” God, If I Knew What You Wanted”. A woman named Tanya wrote about her mystical experience:
“… found an astonishing thing. The more receptive to God I became, the stronger the sexual feelings grew. Oh no, I’m really blowing it! So I asked all the angels and saints I could think of for help. The sexual sensations just became stronger…
Margaret never looked my way that day.
Cynthia began picking up more teaching engagements. She would continue as our Spiritual Leader within the growing Society, but needed a more accessible center from which to spring more easily into various University roles. She began boarding with the Sisters of St. John the Divine at a convent outside of Victoria.
My contract work meant coming and going from the Island. Margaret would welcome me home, “We’ve got lots to talk about…you and I. Come on over when you have some time.” I was never sure what we had to talk about, but my platter was full. I never made the time to ask the question.
Margaret died on December 7, 2011. She was 86 years old. The news stunned me. Ironically I read the news on Face Book – a place I’m sure she never frequented. It linked an article by Cynthia: Remembering Margaret Haines.
This sentence-finishing, multi-giving and ever-grinning friend was much more than she displayed. I realized I had been presented with a feast and never picked up the cutlery.
I sat alone at her Celebration of Life on Friday, December 16, wallowing quietly in the memory of Margaret and assimilating my newfound facts about her:
- Though I knew she was a board member, Margaret was, in fact, the mover and shaker behind the birth of the Contemplative Society. She was the one who brought Cynthia to our part of the world. She mentored Cynthia like a spiritual mother.
- She had once been chosen by one of the Rinpoches to go East and set up Women’s Programs.
- She trained leaders for Girl Guides. She went to help Jamaica and met her friend, Helen, who was to become Margaret’s dearest friend.
- She set up and managed a host of volunteers for the UNICEF program in Victoria. Her support continued from Salt Spring.
What else had I missed? I listened intently to the family’s stories about Margaret.
Helen took her turn at the pulpit. Keeping tears at bay, she presented more facts. She told of a recent quiet time together when Margaret spoke her last words with clarity that defied the destruction of her stroke, “Nothing is important!”
Then Helen told of visitations. “These were not her imagination,” said this well-educated woman of faith.
“The first to arrive was Margaret’s parents. Then an angel. This was followed by an Archangel.” Helen paused and her voice deepened, “And finally, Mary, Mother of Jesus.”
Helen then gathered her papers and left us in silence.
In that energized silence and from the depths of my inner being, I heard, “Ha! …in God’s time!” Margaret was finishing my sentence.
I’d been contemplating what she and I would have talked about. I had just thought, “I trust that I will find out …“
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What a wonderfully written tribute, Amy. I love how you changed this from sounding like a loss to sounding like a birth.
It pays to watch what feast is presented to us! I really missed the banquet, but I have a very strong feeling that more will be revealed! 😀
Beautifully written tribute — even a gift within the loss! Thank you for sharing, Amy!
So true, Becca. Margaret herself was such a gift that memories of her will linger long.
Beautiful inspiring story Amy. There aren’t many people like Margaret who do so much for our one world, but do it quietly without needing to “fluff their feathers and crow” about it, content with the odd “Hah!”
I’m glad you were able to find a photo of the younger Margaret.
Yes, Rosie, most of us fall prey to a good crow! When, out of frustration, I have pulled out my credentials, the results were not what I expected or wanted! Some of our accomplishments may be worthy of mention, but the mention is hugely enhanced when coming from a foreign tongue! 😀
What a fantastic tribute, very nicely written, and an enjoyable read.
Thanks, Mags. Always happy to see your visits.
Beautifully written. Amazing connection when we have people who finish our sentences and we complete theirs…that’s not only a deep knowing but trust.
I think gifts are often wrapped in loss. It must take loss to open our eyes and hearts to the gifts that are right there under our noses?
It’s a blessing, methinks, RW, to see the gift before the loss. Distractions challenge continuously. With attention, I hope to reduce possibilities of this happening as much as it likely did in blatant youth! 😀
These were wonderful remembrances of someone very special to those she met….thanks for sharing.
I am trying to imagine a conversation between Margaret and Aunt Bea.
Beautifully shared, Amy. I can imagine Margaret smiling, and love those profound words “Nothing is important”…xo
Margaret had spent time with Buddhism. That profundity seemed steeped in the Buddhist Path.
No doubt Margaret is laughing with Rumi . . . and finishing HIS sentences.
The fault is in the one who blames. Spirit sees nothing to criticize. ~ Rumi
Nancy…that very quote is on my fridge. You don’t have to take Margaret’s place, you know! Did she just tweak your heart?
Yes, yes again and again. Loved what Tanya said too, so much truth. I was lucky enough to learn at a young age that sexuality and spirituality were two sides of the same coin (my words and perhaps not those that others would understand). As a result at 28 years of age … needing years of therapy I became celibate, contemplative and did the work myself. At first I was thinking crap I am a child of the sixties … celibate at 28 for five years … are you nuts? This was indeed a great gift, for Tanya too.
Again thanks for this … a real pleasure.
Boy, Liz, it feels like there could be a book about that coin – spirituality and sexuality. As I sit here typing this, a shiver is slowly creeping up the left side of my entire body. Helminski touches on some of these effects, but I suspect there’s some good untold stories – if people would dare to share.
Beautiful memories of an amazing woman/spirit.
Bet you aren’t surprised, Victoria, that I plan to spend some time with Helen. I just know she’s carrying around a few more gems! 🙂
How do you come up with such a great circle of friends?
You have a magnetism that draws out the best from the best. Each deposits part of themselves in you and you channel their greatness for all of us to see and feel them.
You are truly blessed, Amy, and I’m glad to have made your acquaintance.
I wonder, Michael J, if it’s more about what we see than what we attract. I usually let people know when I see aspects of “it” in them. (Margaret obviously did the same thing!) I think my mother laid the groundwork for appreciating each human that crosses our path – to whatever degree. I just heard a great line from Tom Waits on a CBC interview: “If two people think too much the same, one isn’t needed.” Because Tom expresses life in unique ways, I welcomed his point of view. To me, each and every person has or has had purpose in my life. Often it is because the heart’s content, not the mind.
Wow, how wonderful to have known and worked with her. We do have angels in our midst i think.. c
Oh yes, Celi, much more than we imagine!
What an extraordinary woman, Amy. Its rare to see such mysticism close up. Thanks for writing about Margaret.
At times so obvious that it can be “missable”. Perhaps it’s when we are so close to their humanness in all it’s dents and crumples.
This was wonderful! What an inspirational woman – this Margaret. Thank you for sharing her with us. My heart goes out to you. I hope you feel her presence with you more than the loss.
Thank you, Amy. Really – this was wonderful.
My grief for someone as steeped in spirituality as Margaret is mostly at the acceptance stage. My sadness is that I didn’t know she had had a stroke. It’s due to my not attending the same church as Margaret. I would have visited her – though I would have learned she was in Victoria. Helen brought Margaret home to die, as Margaret wished.
She sounds like she was an amazing person… and you were blessed to have known her…
I hope you have a wonderful New Year, Amy!
God bless your heart!
Thanks for the support in 2011 – see you around in 2012…
And same to you, Mish. I look forward to spending more time with you in 2012.
I enjoy reading your work and the comments that follow, each so thoughtful. Thank you.
Yes, Liz, some people really take time to put themselves in those comments. The blogging world can be a circuit of simply reading and commenting or it can be genuine connecting. I see you in the latter here and with your comments on other blogs. It shows, dear woman – the recipient knows!
Well, it’s what took me to your site in the first place.
Beautifully written, your admiration for Margaret comes out so clearly. A wonderful tribute. We learn things from many people that’s the beauty of relationships. I love Nancy’s quote from Rumi, about the spirit seeing nothing to criticize.
Yes, we do learn from many people, Dee. Margaret is such an example of extraordinary camouflaged by the ordinary.
Your words are so heartfelt and threaded with love and grace – always.
Thank you, Joss, for your very kind words. I don’t know where initial my response went – but I certainly made one before this. Forgive this delay, my friend.
Beautiful written tribute about a wonderful soul. May we all have someone on our journey who touches us so deeply…
Yes, we can all do with as many as we recognize!
Very inspiring, Soul Dipper – and I absolutely love your name. I love read real & thoughtful posts. Love your categories (‘Aha Moment’) 🙂
Thank you for your visit and comment, WFFME. When I started my post, I had another name with the word “soul”, but it was taken. I glad it was…I like this name better. Short and clear.
I visited you as well – I wish you the very best with your book!
I just got gooseflesh and it is NOT from the chilly weather this morning.
Good Morning,my friend.
Ah, Granny, you are such a sweetheart. Thanks for appreciating my friend to that degree!
Oh the friends and mentors you’ve had, Amy! Margaret seems like one of those persons one needs to know in ones life — impish, deep, grave, wise.
A beautiful tribute, indeed.
Priya…do you think I’ve had these people because I needed the heavyweights? Omigod, I hadn’t thought of that! 😀
You always pen the most lovely tributes to the people you have known. Amy. You are so very fortunate to have had such amazing people cross your path. Yours is a life truly lived, I think.
Have an amazing New Year.
Hi Kath – hope you had a good break. I do remember, though, that they are never long enough! Yes, I feel really grateful for the folks who have tapped me on the shoulder. Hopefully from now on I’ll pay better attention!