I had the honor of spending 90 minutes recently being interviewed by Katherine Woodward Thomas, author of Conscious Uncoupling, for one of her private classes. It sparked powerful memories and fifty-odd years of relationship, love, separation. and divorce.

While many are doing the sacred work of “uncoupling,” I have lived that sacred work with Charles successfully since 1997. Best Beloved Friends is a worthy choice during and after ending what we believed was a “forever” marriage.

Now I share with you the picture that was taken of my first kiss with Will, fifteen years ago at Maui airport saying good-bye and Aloha to the only man who claimed my attention after my separation and ultimate divorce with the Beloved Charles, four years prior.

I pasted this little saying to the photo many moons ago and it’s still there, proudly the centerpiece of one of many altars in our home.

In speaking with Katherine I authentically praised her very successful and best-selling book, Calling In The One. I ponder about “the One,” having felt each time that I was marrying the One. Each moment with the One is each moment with whomever I am with, if that makes any sense to you. That, to me, is full Connection or showing up in full presence with each invitation to become “one.”

In my wisdom years, I now acknowledge there are more “the Ones” than we can ever imagine. Yet aching and yearning for the One is a function inside each of us that drives our psyche and our sexuality forward. In my thirty years of guiding and participating in Tantric Pujas (a moving mandala of loving presence with each person), I developed the skill of bringing one hundred percent of me into presence with a new individual each moment and in every breath. The tall, the short, or the not so attractive are each The One for those few precious moments in time.

This practice has taught me how huge love really is! And as the little sign in the picture says, staying in love is where real love resides. Living the love that I am is not always easy. I get irritable… I get impatient… I move at a different speed of light than my dearest One… I am annoyed when hard of hearing seems to be his choice, rather than his problem.

But real love, not pretend love, is the outcome of this awareness. This is the staying in love, deepening into love, and growing into the love that happens when a couple ages together over the long term of relationship. I would love to hear about YOUR experience of the work and the commitment it takes to continue deepening into the warm river of unconditional love …

To The One, Caroline

Sweetest Sorrows

John & Caroline youngI am quietly processing the passing of my only and dearest brother, my only and dearest sibling. His name was John Cusack. I called him Johnny from the day he was born, July 2nd, 1947.

Since his passing on July 1st, I can barely keep up with daily life, let alone tend to business, pay bills, or think straight. He was and will always be my best friend… my baby brother for nearly seventy years.

My little brother was placed in my arms when I was three and a half years old. I remember the moment so clearly. Our bond never weakened, but only grew. We survived the dysfunction of our family… we always had each other’s backs. The love between Johnny and Caroline was an indestructible force that carried us both through marriages, divorces, cross-country moves, the death of both of our parents, and the birth of at least five grandchildren (so far).

We never fought. The presence of unconditional love was never a question, yet always a balm of comfort for us both. I once accidentally set his house on fire! His response was gentle and with a soft smile, “Oh Caroline… now look what you’ve done!” Shaking his head, he brought me a cup of coffee and we praised the neighbors for seeing the flames and calling the Fire Department.

I saw myself as the mean (or more accurately, ‘less-loving’) older sister, but I also led him into much popularity when I was Captain of the Cheerleaders at our boarding school in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. He was a hunk of a linebacker on our football team, The Panthers. Johnny was the best brother a girl could ever have, bar none!

Hot burning tears drop on my computer keys as I write this. They also plopped into my oysters at a downtown Portland oyster bar when I got the text from his beloved wife that “Johnny has passed.”We immediately ordered the best bottle of Champagne, as Johnny would have insisted on, before we found our Uber ride back to the hospital. My sweetheart Will was with me at the hospital for several days in the soft and quiet hours of our farewell to Johnny.

John & Caroline olderI never imagined experiencing that my next of kin would look intently into my eyes and declare, “I am ready to die. Go get those damn doctors in here and unhook me from all this crap. I want to die.” My response… “Darlin’, I am heading down the hall to get this job done.” As I resolutely exited his room, his wife arrived and assisted me in the task of alerting the hospital staff. Shortly after, the ‘drip’ began and all life support was removed. For three days we stroked and touched him lovingly as his dearly devoted mate poured her love into him and crawled into his bed to hold his body close to her throughout the eerie hospital nights.

I witnessed the presence of his beautiful, loving son and countless friends who came to sit by his side. The soft murmur of “Om Mani Padme Hum” Mantra was chanted to invoke the benevolent blessings of the embodiment of compassion by members of the Tibetan Buddhist Dharma Center. This was a vigil… a death ritual as moving as any celebration of life I have ever witnessed. One cannot live without the other. Life and Death are siblings as are brother and sister. I’m inspired now to begin my study of Tibetan Buddhism from home at Dharma Ocean.

May your Life begin again and again each moment of each day, Caroline

Oregon is one of only four states that has passed legal legislation around Death with Dignity… the FREEDOM of terminally ill people to make their own end-of-life DECISIONS.