Death, Grief and the Magic Carpet Ride When my late husband, John Harris, passed away, I shattered like a body of glass from the impact. In a crushing reversal, the remaining shards of my life morphed themselves back into a formless flatland of drifting sands. With no fire left to recreate myself, I blew shapelessly for a very long time. Among other things, the multi-faceted John Harris was an archetypal Hephaestus, the wounded Greek God of the Forge, cast from Mt. Olympus by Zeus. The ultimate creative genius, the lame Hephaestus labored endlessly, creating stunning palaces, chariots and thrones for all to admire and use. He even created Pandora, the first human woman, in a daring push of the envelope. With the outrageous antics of John's no- boundaries approach to life while he was alive, it was all I could do to follow behind him, juggling as many art projects in the air as possible for our mere survival. Though a successful, working artist his entire life, the thrill of living on the edge fueled his life force and satisfied his rebel outlaw. As his student, playmate, lover, shadow- boxer, business partner and wife, I did it all gladly, knowing I was receiving the gift of a lifetime as he helped free and birth me into who I always wanted to be. Thanks to the firestorm ways of the self-named "Mr. Harris", the real Kate finally stood up. It might not have been stable, but life with Mr. Harris was always exciting and truly alive. If John was unmanageable throughout his life, at the end, infused with the scent of death, he became a veritable machine, ordering his laborers around and pouring every bit of life force and all of our resources into his work. Rigidly intractable in his tunnel vision, I could only get out of his way or be crushed as he siphoned energy from the soul of God for his final creations. Need I mention that his interest in practical affairs was less than minimal, which included bank accounts and insurance policies? When he died I had a massive stash of fabulous art and a more massive debt with no cash. Heartbroken by the loss and flattened by the bleak reality of my life circumstances, I succumbed to an intoxicated, existential void as family and friends watched nervously. Not long after Mr. Harris' death, I stood in the dwindling light of dusk beneath the twenty-foot ceilings of my loft. I witnessed time blink open to reveal, for a moment, the unseen reality of things infinite. A presence circled in a gyro of energy. I felt wings, fluttering wings and a Voice: "Let go. Trust. Step on the magic carpet. Get on the magic carpet and ride." A spontaneous, knowing vibration shifted from deep within my core and step on, I did. I tell you truly, as soon as I heeded that call, my entire reality took an extraordinary turn. I learned to release my controlling, white- knuckled grip on life. Simply too spent, I stopped trying to do anything. Instead, I began to allow things to happen. "Surrender" became my mantra and a way of life, as it is to this day. I surrendered to everything - on a broader stroke, to the tears, to the loss, to the pain, to the beauty of love. On a more mundane level, to the 4am barking dogs, the burnt dinner, the exquisite sunset. Having been programmed by doubt and fear all my life, as most humans are, getting accustomed to living in total trust took some mindful maneuvering and a whole lot of practice but the more I trusted, the better the outcome. At the moments of mastering, it was and still is, a revelation of the true nature of life's miraculous flow. Early on, in my darkest hours, friends and family converged selflessly to assist - another lesson in the power and the glory of love. One dear friend planned a huge party at my loft, grabbed a clipboard, quadrupled the prices of John's art and sold voluminous heaps at top dollar. Then, out of the blue, a major, high-end retailer, mysteriously found me, asking to see some images of John's tree stump tables. Out of the twenty or so images I sent, they purchased all of them. Shortly thereafter, they purchased twenty more for display and props in their stores. I was now debt-free and solvent. A year later, this retailer invited me in as a vendor and began to sell the tables in their stores internationally, which continues to be an ongoing stream of orders. Many additional opportunities have been presented as well for John's work to live on, for which I am grateful every single day. I did next to nothing to make all of this happen for the first year. At year two, I was told by the Voice to "step back into the driver's seat", which I reluctantly did. Once in place, I began to lose my resistance and go the distance, pro-actively parlaying my initial stroke of luck into greater achievements. Nonetheless, nothing short of the assistance of angels and the Hand of God can account for all that has happened. But then, the magic carpet mindset knows no bounds and by staying on, I became co-creator with these great Forces. I recognized that whatever we ask for will be ours in a matter of time, no exceptions, created by our conscious intention and our deeper, unconscious soul desires or fears. All of the support and good fortune I received at the beginning afforded me the opportunity to fully grieve. For it was not only the loss of my husband that occurred, but the loss of both parents as well, all within one calendar year to the exact day: Mother/John/Father - March 1/July 18/March 1. This was a bitter sandwich indeed. I have heard it said that death is a gift and ironically, it was because of the grieving process that I was able to release so much long-held darkness and fear, completely unrelated to the loss of my loved ones, which lead to a deep personal transformation over time. Death gave me a new vision, for within the breakdown of all known structures, a profound spiritual awareness and connection was forged. A powerful, new inner strength and fortitude was initiated. Many truths became clearly apparent: I understood that I was not alone, that Spirit is everywhere and is within everything. I received messages and insights to reveal that separation is an illusion. I am you. You are me. What I do to you, I am doing to me. I experienced that everything is part of everything in one infinite, pulsing field of consciousness. Moreover, there's no such thing as death, only shape shifting. The body dies. The spirit stays. Angels are everywhere, yearning to help us. We need only tune into their frequency, acknowledge them and ask. They always deliver. In fact, they're the ones who help us maneuver the magic carpet. I cannot envision traveling through life without an entourage of accompanying angels wherever I go for comfort, guidance and protection. Thanks to these and many other unexpected gifts which death has bestowed, the years since have been the greatest exponential growth spurt of my life, continuously unfolding. Imbuing myself with magic carpet consciousness, which is, in essence, an abiding connection to the universal Force of Spirit and the Divine, I have understood the greatest truth of all: the only thing that really matters in this world is love, love of self first and love of others, as a reflection of the One Love. I believe now the only real failures in life are not loving fully and not developing our gifts and talents. Our imaginings fill the canvas of our lives with beautiful creations or sad abominations. What I imagined as an eight-year-old little girl was a magic carpet that is now mine and will forever fill me with wonder. What are we really but bodies of energy directing ourselves with imagination and the intention of will towards our next step, our next new co- creation. When I am no longer sailing in the open sky of infinite possibility but instead, mucking about in a muddy little puddle by the side of the road, the magic carpet is still purring, humming, flowing, beckoning me to hop back on. Recently, a dear friend e-mailed me, bemoaning the current mis-shape of his life. I shared the best solution I could think of: the magic carpet ride. "Hmmm...." he mused, his mind circling through a silent moment of contemplation. "Hmmm...yes...what makes me think I'm driving anyway?" Kate Cunningham has worked as a visual artist, singer, songwriter (ASCAP), record producer, businesswoman and teacher of yoga (CYT) and meditation for many years. A published poet and author of many articles, she is currently writing a book on meditation and intuitive development. In addition to her yoga/meditation business, http://www.thebodymindadventure.com she owns and operates Kate Cunningham Company, http://www.katecunninghamcompany.com which manufactures one-of- a-kind, art furniture for the high-end trade. Clients include architectural and design firms, corporations and collectors and she is a vendor for Polo/Ralph Lauren Corp., who sell her unique tree stump tables in their retail stores worldwide.