February 19, 2012

Whitney Elizabeth Houston (August 9, 1963 - February 11, 2012)

Listening to an anthology of Whitney Houston's songs on the radio today, I was filled with a deep joy and sorrow. Public people can play such a heavy role for all of us, playing out our fantasies of how rich and fulfilling lives might be. We can see them as sacred characters living outside the pressures and confusion of everyday life. Now her form is gone and we grieve how such beauty could be lost, yet isn't it the undeniable story of life--the innocence of youth and beauty transitioning into the seeming loss of it? Such a horribly sad story for everyone of us who have both denied and unexamined the tremendous cost we pay for believing it. My teacher said, "How I marvel at how this wealth has found itself in such poverty." And yet, how could it not be for us, gifted and cursed by the ability to imagine a world that we naturally limit ourselves to, feeling so lost and trapped in the reasoning we craft it with.

In releasing Whitney and those persons, situations and relationships that we cling to in our lives, it would be wise for us to remind ourselves at how repeatedly consistent this drama plays out. To quote an old Dave Mason song, "... there aint no good guy, there aint no bad guy, there's only you and me and we just disagree." The stories about what could, should or would have been serve only to distance ourselves from vulnerably experiencing what actually did happen. Hindsight has no bearing unless it is applied in the moment with a presence that's willing to make a difference. Bobby Brown didn't cause Whitney's death, nor did society or any specific person or policy. Whitney left because, like all of us, she lived her life within her understanding of the world she believed herself confined within. We all do, no matter how it appears or how many sign on in supporting roles.

For me, there is great sorrow and joy, knowing that this drama of isolation and self-responsibility that we play is the real cause of life's suffering, loneliness and desperation as well as the immediate possibility for life's joy, loving union and freedom when we come off the stage together. Billions of souls for thousands of years have acted out the flaws in this earthly passion play of insufficient compassion, unconsciously knowing that together by doing so, we can find our way home, out from the madness of separation into the sanity of how deeply and unconditionally we all care.

Thank you Whitney for doing your part so well. Thank you for sharing with us your beautiful voice, but most of all thank you for living out so courageously the part you accepted to play. You and every one of us have spent our lives modeling how the flawed premise of overcoming life necessitates ongoing troubles and tragedies to face them with. Yes, it's hard to give up the stage alone, when most everyone else is still in character, but your life has helped me see more clearly that until I, along with at least one of you, take that step (if only to share our weariness), the same curtain on this sorry tale, will just keep on rising, day after day after day. You deserve more, my sweet sister.And so do I. So do we all.

Welcome home Baby.


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