"When we are being our true selves, we are making our greatest contribution to the whole." —Marcia West
"Happy May Day, Chris!"
"Thanks! What's May Day?" I ask, flipping the calendar page.
"May 1 is an ancient festival celebrating Spring!"
"Yes! I have so many fond memories of celebrating May Day with my mom when I was a little girl." Marcia said. "We'd dress up … and dance … it was such a happy time. I have so many good memories of that," she gleamed.
It suddenly clicked, "Oh! Like dancing around a … maypole!"
Marcia's storytelling delighted me as I imagined her as a 6-year-old with flowers in her hair, carouseling around a maypole, giggling and smiling as little girls do when immersed in joyful play.
I met Marcia in my early 30s shortly after she wrote her first book, Seven Portals to Your Soul. Since we were both fond of portals, we quickly became friends.
"Tell me about your journey," I asked one day as we shared tea. She told me about leaving her job as an engineer mid-life to follow her calling as a writer and to start Bridges of Unity. She also had a degree in ceramics and taught high school home economics.
"My Home Ec teacher was named Mrs. Button," I laughed. True story. "She had us sew H-shaped pillows — "H" being the first letter of our school's name. The pillows became autograph canvases to our 8th grade class on the cusp of graduating junior high and going off to high school." It was a fun memory, and the last time I threaded a sewing machine.
Marcia was one of the first friends I had with a very different take on life. Our differences made me curious and helped cultivate an openness to experience, stilling my need for answers, and a seeking towards resonance in the small strokes delicately laid upon a canvas with a picture I couldn't fully see. I soon realized we longed for the same things and used different language, symbols, and metaphors to describe it. She taught me how to listen with my heart and when to follow the prompts. She helped me to see that creativity is the expression of all of that, so multi-layered and intricate in its stitching. Our conversations were intimate and deep, imbued in namaste, kindness, and joy.
"Will you put my book on your Web site?" She asked me last fall when she started hospice. "I want it to be available to everyone in the world to download for free."
"Of course," I said.
She wrote her second book, Big-Hearted Change, in 2016 continuing and expanding where Portals left off. I asked if she might write a little something to go with the book download to introduce readers to her work and say what she wanted to say, which she did during that delicate time.
My friend and mentor Marcia West left us on May 24, 2021. My last phone call with her on May Day was a gift wrapped in the sweet memory of childhood. I will miss her and will always remember her laughing and dancing around the maypole.
If you haven't already, you can download Marcia's gift, Big-Hearted Change, here.
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