“Heart of the Universe” by Snatam Kaur & Peter Kater
The Actual Dance is the name of the play I wrote. The actual dance is a metaphor for a ritual around the end-of-life with someone we love in a different dimension of time and space. It is real.
“It can’t be real, you say?” Stop rolling your eyes. Just for a moment, be willing to cross that boundary of presumed reality to a different place. Let me tell you, it exists, and it is real. I have been there. I know.
Of the many insights I have gained as I have focused on understanding of my own experiences is the importance of the boundaries of thinking and living. Those boundaries are limits we set for our understanding of reality and to create our beliefs. Some of those boundaries are set by science and others by our senses. We know when we “smell fear in the air.” We know we need to open the door first, then walk through the entryway.
We establish boundaries by how we perceive the physical reality of our daily existence. We tend to relate religion to belief in something or someplace else.
As I have reflected over the experiences of my life and as I have performed the play, I have come to learn there are, to borrow a phrase, alternative spaces. A different universe, outside the boundary of shared understanding of our daily routines, exists, a place where the natural cause and effect of everyday lives do not apply.
This week saw Michael Collins pass away. He was the third man on the Apollo 11 journey to the moon. Two men got to put their feet on the moon. He flew around the moon in the return capsule, denied that opportunity. He, however, saw the earth rise in the distance every 40 minutes, and in that, came to see and experience the fragility of planet earth. He broke a boundary of his insight and mind and saw something new and different. The unique perspective of the image in front of him changed the nature of the object. He could “see” earth’s fragility.
Boundaries are both natural fences or limits, and they are self-imposed constraints on our ability to understand that we cannot yet confirm. I have been in “The Ballroom.” It is where “The Actual Dance” exists. I have been ready to engage in the ritual of holding the one I love most in the world as she takes her last breath. The moments were not dreams. They were real. Time stopped, I transported, if you will, and I could sit among every soul of my family back to the first relatives and every generation yet to come as we prepared to honor the transitioning of the one I loved.
My decision as I continue to engage in the process of confronting the true meanings of a limited life is to be open to the possibility – the humility – that we are not alone. Imagine if it is true that there “is a space with us and around where angles sing on rays of light” Then, indeed, we are not.