It’s a Question of Life and Death

It’s a Question of Life and Death

The real reason why I urge people to seek joy…

Recently someone unsubscribed from my newsletter, politely and usefully leaving the comment that they are “beyond” what I offer. It made me wonder, did they know what is truly available and offered?

Is Alchemy really only about a warm fuzzy feeling? No.

There is a purpose with far more value beyond that mere band aid. Continue reading

The Alchemy of Death

The Alchemy of Death



“Cindy! The phone’s for you,” my friends called. This was unusual. I was in college and had just turned nineteen. I did not often get calls up there, in New Liskeard, 160 km north of North Bay. On the other end an unrecognized voice said words I will never forget: “Hello, this is your long lost Father.”

In some kind of limbo, I thought of my Dad and, partly stunned, I said, “My Father’s not lost.” Reaching around in my memory, thinking about my Dad at home who raised me and how this was not his voice, I remembered what was not high in my consciousness; that I had another “Dad”. My blood father.

It was quite something to be (re-)introduced to him, and my other half-siblings, already also quite grown, and to learn we had all grown-up in the same city, perhaps even played in the same parks! At first it was odd… getting to know them, and then it just became sweet. Life was so rich, and I was very grateful for my whole, very large family.


On May 28th, my phone rang. The display showed my natural Father’s home number. How surprising, and for a moment, exciting. Due to a family situation, plus the fact a family member was healing cancer (and as the primary care-giver he became very busy), I had heard and seen very little from him the past couple of years even though we live in the same city.

However when we did get together it was like no time had passed and there was only love and affection for and with the man who separated from my Mom when I was one-year-old. We bonded closely, taking walks, and talking, sharing meals, laughter and love. He was a communicator and an avid amateur radio operator. An interest in the science and hobby was sparked within me, and I took the course and also became a license radio operator. We shared many hours communicating across the city through the airwaves.


About six years ago Dad had a heart attack and then triple bypass surgery, a very serious and potentially risky operation. Another heart patient he grew to know in the hospital had the surgery before him, and passed-away afterward. This news was sad to Dad, but it never phased him regarding his own surgery and expectation of survival and recovery. Indeed, his recovery was amazing, and his health was strong and vibrant for many years, which enabled him to give selfless, loving care to his ill wife.

His positive outlook was a trademark for how he lived his life. It was such a part of him for so very long that even as a young man he wrote a poem called “Don’t Quit” which became very famously distributed world-wide, but as “author unknown”.

His education about the publishing business came through the school of hard knocks with this. He had sent his poetry to a publisher and never heard back. Then one day, the poem began to appear everywhere, on posters and bookmarks, etc. Feeling this was larger than him, with no way to reclaim his work, yet feeling good knowing it was doing good, he let it go.

He taught me to mail my work to myself, and keep it sealed with the postal mark and date in case it was ever needed to prove authorship. Somewhere there lies just such an envelop with his work.


Expecting to hear and welcome his long-lost voice, I picked-up the phone–and it was my brother. Why was he calling me from Dad’s? In a flash it registered as something was wrong. I expected to hear he’d had another heart attack and was in the hospital. But just moments before, Dad had re-birthed back to where he came from. There was a blank moment. And then a sort of searching for him…was it true? Where was he? The instant I went looking, he was there, finally free now to visit. A deep peace settled in, and I knew he was ok.

That morning had already been odd, from the moment I got-up. There seemed no “reason” to do anything. I toyed with a few things and then had given-up on the day just before my brother called. 

My attention turned back to my brother, who was telling me he had been present during the paramedics’ attempts to revive Dad, and being highly present myself I knew what was needed in the moment. And I knew why there was nothing of the to-do list to do that day. On one hand, nothing had changed, and on another, every thing was going to change. This experience of the apparent death was unlike any I have experienced before. There has primarily been peace, and even some joy.

Perhaps this is because I am personally at peace with the idea of bodily “death”, or perhaps because I know I am not the vulnerable, time-bound being who I used to think I was, and that neither is anyone else. I know that death is an idea.

People in our current society hold many ideas, most of which they are not aware of, which cause existential suffering. And so my response was “strange” (although welcomed) to most people around me. I look forward to sharing the insights the effects “alchemy” has had on my perception and experience of Dad’s transition with you in future articles.

One final time, through this apparent body, instead of Ring..Ring :

VE3WEH, VE3EQU (Me calling Dad.)…

73 (Best regards)

88 (Hugs and kisses)

“Don’t Quit” poem

–My Father wrote this famous poem

It appeared far and wide on posters, bookmarks, etc. as “author unknown.”


In memory of Lawrence J. Wilcox (1940-2010)

It became so popular so fast, that there was no way of correcting this, and truly, Dad was elated just knowing it was helping so many people. With his passing, it is time to let it be known that he wrote it. I actually read this poem before I was re-united with Dad (at age 19), after which time we became very close. He had submitted the poem to a publisher, who never responded, but later used it. From that he learned and shared with me a clever way to protect your work: mail yourself a copy and keep it sealed because it will be date stamped by the post office. Many people have claimed to write this poem. Hopefully, we will locate his sealed envelope, and that it is in inside.

With love Dad, and thanks. Like all things–and you–I will keep going.

Don’t Quit

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest, if you must, but don’t you quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about,
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow–
You may succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than,
It seems to a faint and faltering man,
Often the struggler has given up,
When he might have captured the victor’s cup,
And he learned too late when the night slipped down,
How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out–
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far,
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit–
It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.

–Lawrence J. Wilcox (1940-2010), Ottawa ON

True Infinite Love

True Infinite Love


A gift arose with the early morning sun on my stroll today.

I had been contemplating the massive changes in my life and my experience of life since last April (when I discovered the joy we all are), when a big picture understanding struck me.

In Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) it is known that we hold values that drive our attention, intention, behaviour, and beliefs. Beliefs cluster around values, and while we can loosen, erode, and replace beliefs one by one, it is a tedious and slow process because there can be many of them, and also perhaps  because they are important to supporting the more important, larger value they are linked to, and so we cling to them. A faster, highly effective method is to shift the order and priority of our values.

Contemplating this and what happened to me, I noted that all of my conscious beliefs had tumbled at once, and so there must have been a major shift in a major value. And then it clearly became obvious! I knew my topmost, utmost, driving value at the time was love. But it had not shifted priority–what had happened was that top value had shifted from “love”, to “love itself“.

Let me elaborate… when we do what is called a “values elicitation”, not only do we discover the true (sometimes unconscious) values which drive your life, we discover their order of priority, and we have techniques to shift these priorities. When you shift your priorities inside, major changes happen on the outside. For example, what if your most important, driving value was love, and then it became money? You can just imagine all the major changes that would follow.

It hit me that we have not (until this moment) looked at the object of the value, i.e. if love was your highest priority–love of what?

If it is the love “of someone else,” as in a relationship, then are are attachments and needs involved. You will require a certain kind of person, and for them to be (or not be) a certain way at all times, in order for you to experience love.  And of course no person will always at all times fulfill your fantasy. With this kind of love, let’s call it “attachment love”, you are actually trading needs, not being in a loving relationship. You hold hope for fulfillment of those needs. You are always on the look-out for those needs being fulfilled, or being violated. You will give and be loving so long as these needs are met, and the moment they are not, you are unhappy. You are attached to something outside of you, believing it to be your source of happiness, and you are needy, and unstable.

What you fear (like this person not fulfilling your needs), appears in mind, even if not in truth. You will believe and perceive what you don’t want to have.

Having had the object of my love ripped from me because of false appearances and this type of needy fear, I could have become jaded, and dropped love lower on my values scale. Perhaps this is what temporarily happens when someone is dumped, they move away from relationships for a while, however the innate desire to experience love remains and so eventually they venture out again.

Instead of dropping love as a priority, when I realized we are the source of love and joy, and that I could feel the love I wanted without the person–that this is actually and truly an inside fact, I shifted the object of my love to love itself.

That intention was seeded already, as there was a growing desire to give and be only love, to have a mutual dropping of the false faces and the mask of ego, to be open, and genuine, and safe in vulnerability, to have and experience unshakable, infinite love. While you cannot be assured the other will drop their defenses, the chances are better if you do first. Knowing you are the source of your happiness enables you to do this. Even if they do not open to the possibilities of true, infinite love, you can be it and thereby have it yourself.

As Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see…” To me this is a very clear, direct, instruction to be the change (inside) that you want to see (outside). The Alchemy of Love and Joy is the how.

The love object ripped from me (and after promises of true love and permanency), yet the desire for, and the presence of, love still remaining, I shifted my highest value onto love itself.  I discovered that we don’t need an object to have the feeling or experience, and that in fact they have nothing to do with each other. I experienced and knew the full feeling and sensations of love without an object of love. Objects and people are not permanent. The love and joy of being is.

The power of the highest value is that it is a driver, it says “this is the most important, no matter what!” That combined with the fact that causing, being, and feeling love and joy is possible, no matter what, uncovers the fact that who we really are is freedom.

When the experience, or feeling itself, without object, becomes the actual value, you no longer need the object, you are not needy, you have more love to give than take, and, ironically, in the case of love, everything and everyone becomes an unattached object of appreciation, love, and enjoyment. You get far more on the “outside” than you could have ever gotten with attachment love, which limits you, puts all that impossible pressure on one person, and makes you unable to truly love them with infinite love.

The practice of The Alchemy of Love and Joy helps people break the belief that the outside holds their happiness, and to become self-fulfilling, to become non-attached–situation by situation. With a powerful enough experience, or repeated experiences, these old limiting beliefs can be dissolved. With a minor modification of the values elicitation process, it can be used to assist people to shift the object of their value from the outside to the inside, resulting in simultaneous mass dropping of beliefs–all at once–and this will now be incorporated into the Alchemy Retreats.

Love is still high on my values, but it is no longer the highest, because our highest value tends to be that which we do not have, and want. Now I have it. Inside. Eternally. What has become of utmost importance is concretely, experientially, beyond doubt knowing who I really am and what life and death is all about (not as a concept or thought), and that is now being revealed, and ironically, with it comes all the love, joy, gratitude, abundance, and bliss that exists within it.

Set your values high, and non-attached, and all you have ever desired will be yours. True, infinite love is a wonderful, attainable starting point.

Today is not the day that Dad died

grandpa_butchToday is the seven-year anniversary of my Father’s rebirth into spirit. Notice how much less a “charge” there is, how much less suffering there is, how much more truth and presence there is in the statement of the anniversary. Today is not the day that Dad died. That day was a long time ago, and that day, that experience, has nothing to do with this day, this experience. This day is not that day, and we do not have to try to “reincarnate” that day now.

If I had not been reminded, it would not have been top in my consciousness and may have passed unobserved. That is not a suppression or avoidance of any kind. It is a simply a clear seeing of truth and reality.

On the first anniversary I received a card in the mail. It did not say much, other than “thinking of you,” and I thought it had something to do with the current moderate challenges I faced at the time, but a card for that seemed a little “much”. There was nothing I could relate it to because I was not suffering. A few emails later, I put it together; it was for the anniversary of his attempted suicide and passing. That first anniversary, I thanked family and let them know how I was, that all was good, and that the anniversary is not important to me, and why.

There were no more cards, and other family members continued to “observe” the anniversary. With my increased compassion and awareness, it occurred to me that this observing was not for me, as much as it was for them. They were suffering even though the 365th day later really has no more significance than the  364th, or 366th. So it seems there is a “rule” that every 365 days we must remember traumatic events, potentially “re-living” them, or more accurately, use memories to suffer in the now.

I don’t need to feel bad to honour someone’s life, and frankly, I can’t see how feeling bad and suffering could honour someone’s life. Certainly, that is not what the deceased wants for us.

Like everyone from my past who I loved, I may bring their memory or the experience of them into my present moment multiple times through the year–I don’t need 365 days. And when I do, I feel good about them, and in this way, I nurture my love of and for them.

That said of my current experience, my current experience also includes living family members who are suffering and want connection. Just like the world did not stop when Dad passed, and that the only thing to be done was to keep going and to do whatever needed tending to, the world has not stopped and needs tending too. Just like loving those who passed 365 days ago, I love and tend to those who are present now, 365 days a year.


Celebrate Life!

Celebrate Life!

In memory of Dawn

Celebrate Life!

On New Year’s eve day I called a friend I had not seen in a few months, and learned she was in hospital, dealing with 4th stage cancer. Fourth stage means that the cancer has moved elsewhere, beyond it’s origin. Her liver was the largest problem; it was not doing a good job purifying the blood of toxins. The day I arrived she had enough energy to occasionally sit-up on her own , smile, and hug. But the disease had progressed fast. At 46 she looked 80, her skin was jaundiced and drooping.

New Year’s eve dinner was a salad in the hospital, sitting near her, and it was one of the greatest gifts of the year. She sat-up with anticipation when her dinner arrived, but somehow she could not eat very much. Drinking was a challenge; she’d often drop the cup. We had a few short jokes, a line or two. None of this was planned, and seeing her I wanted to stay until the next day, but I could not find a way. I had to return to a dog I was sitting so it could eat and do its business outside.

This triggered a deja-vu. A memory surfaced of Dad’s passing and of how old mind presented itself, “My Dad just died, how can the world keep going?!” It was a reminder, that although we apparently are born and die, it’s just more of the same, it is life going on, and we take care, we do whatever we need to do to take care of the moment, however it presents itself.

(I remember a similar suffering when watching a horrific execution online, which I stumbled upon. It so disturbed me–or, I so disturbed me–that in excruciating pain, I wrote a poem about it. ) Suffering says, “the world must stop, because this can’t be.” Yet it is. And the world does not stop. No matter how you wish, no matter how much you suffer “about” it, what is, is. Suffering does not change anything. It never has, it never will. If there is a problem, then suffering itself is it. Life and how it arises, dwells, and decays and renews itself is not a problem.

A few days went by, and I visited every day I could. She would eat, then rest, and wake-up, surprised to still see me there. A few words, not really sentences, here and there. None was needed. Mostly I sat in silence, looking at her, and there was only a deep peace. We visited in stillness. And love. A knowing arose that who she was is not the body. That she is beyond the body, immutable, indestructible–eternal. The more the body faded, the more this ‘brilliance’ shone through to me; a very powerful sense of love and connection flowed through my body, and beyond.

Each day after, the body fell further and further away. And it, and she, was beautiful.

She could no longer sit-up on her own. I appreciated how matter-of-factly she was in each moment and with how much grace she bore her pain and inabilities, her dependence on others. And yet she also remained self-reliant, doing as much as she could herself. I massaged her swollen ankles and legs, and later her back, which was in pain from laying down so long. Eventually she mostly slept. Even as the family made plans to move her into a hospice, there were murmurs in the hospital that she might not last to the next weekend. I know there have been “miracles” at fourth stage cancer, and so I never took to heart anything anyone said…it was just pure moment-to-moment experience for me, and her, with love.

In the short time that I knew her (under a year), her passion for people and her exuberance for life was obvious. She truly lived unlimited. In this day of almost instant communication through various means, it was no surprise that I got the news of her birth, or re-birth, into spirit via Facebook as I was leaving for the hospital.

“Our beautiful friend is at peace now.”

Like another friend’s news of passing which came through email, I stared at it for a timeless moment as the news sunk in. Then I was still, waiting to see if sadness or something would arise. There was a deep …connection, and like before, wonderful love welled-up. She was here.

The responses rolled-in on Facebook; it was an amazing celebration in itself with people posting photos of her, their gratitude and appreciation, love and concern for her family, and the humorous remarks, true to my friend’s style:

“…will always remember her laughing and telling me the story of when she spoke to her doctor and said with much glee–”I’m not afraid of dying darling!” She was one plucky -not a word I use much, but very apt for that lady!”

After remembering through others, and celebrating on Facebook, I went into the kitchen, contemplating this phenomena of life going on, of birth and death being what life does. And right at that moment, very loudly, very clearly came, “Celebrate Life!”

It was her voice.

It meant my life, here and now. And her “death”.

Yes, that is what we did together, and with death being another door of life, that is what we were doing. That is what I did in the kitchen. That is what I continue to do when I think of her, or see her, or feel her, or hear her in my head. “Celebrate Life, darling!” Celebrate your life–and death itself–which is part of life; because without death, there is no life.

Thanks Eileen… :-). It is up…here it is… awakeningjoy .ca/wp .Peace, Cindy

Funeral Rites, and Rights

Funeral Rites, and Rights

As I approached the church, there was love and peace was flowing from heart, along with connection and good thoughts of my friend. Very quickly however, thoughts like “Maybe I should not be smiling so much here,” arose, and I began to contain it, and began to slip-out of the Now. Old mind began to arise as the casket was wheeled in. It was definitely a familiar feeling dredged-up from past sufferings at funerals.

Yet the watching consciousness knew this was an old habit, and began to bring me back into the present, until I saw her son, and the old mind, which had been given some space to exist said “He must have had a hard time at his father’s funeral.” Instantly my throat constricted and tears began to well. I have not felt pain or suffering for myself arise since learning to seek joy, however I just learned it can try to slip in under the guise of compassion. Immediately, I did the practice and asked myself what I wanted, “To know his son was peaceful,” and I began to feel how his son being peaceful feels.

Compassion is not feeling other people’s pain, even if we could. It is the wish for others to feel good, and feeling that wish does not mean suffering. After all, I did not know his state, and we cannot feel stressed or peaceful for anyone else. We are feeling our feeling. We are feeling our suffering, or feeling our peace. Looking at the pain and not becoming it, and seeking a better feeling Now, the light of Now burned out the funeral-suffering habit of the past, and peace returned.

It returned me to a place where I can offer love and peace to his son, and his mother.  For the first time ever, I walked-out behind the procession without crying, and with a deep and pleasant sense of loving compassion for and unity with all.

Waking Joy at a Wake

Waking Joy at a Wake

The wake today was an experience unlike any other.  Of course they all are; every moment is, because this moment has never happened before. Yet old mind habitual response can make things seem the same. Today, approaching the closed casket, and looking into the bright, sparking, and kind eyes in the photo of my deceased friend, for a moment joy began to arise, then I watched as it was quickly shut-down by a thought like, “yeah but you can’t feel that, that’s not her, she’s not here,” and I felt a familiar old suffering mind try to rise.

The impulse was to look away and move away, however I stayed; stayed looking into those eyes a minute longer and then a grin broke-out to match her trademark playful one that could be seen in the photo. And that was both the start and the end of suffering at that event. I chatted with the daughter, grandson, and great-grandson. Sometimes about her, more often about other things. I noted and appreciated that same humour, passed-down through the generations.

Later-on a priest came to hold a prayer that began, “In this time of sorrow…” and a smile grew upwards as pleasant chills went downwards. All kinds of great thoughts came, like “This is not a time of sorrow!” “It is a time of love, and celebration of a divine life.” I felt powerful connection as I stood in the circle, containing my smile from an all-out grin, yet enjoying and sharing my joy.

I am conscious of the power of words over people who think words can hurt them, and hear all the statements that carry energy draining, dis-empowering assumptions (or worse, embedded commands), like that one, built into our society. If you had not been feeling sorrow, you could well be doing so now. I have carefully crafted my response for funerals to something like “I know you will find the strength to see you through this.” That expresses empathy while empowering people, it maybe even uplifts.

Tonight the room was not a sad one, people were slightly more on the celebratory side. Of course we never know what will happen until it happens, and that state was what I “put-out” or held view of people to be. For my friend and the way she lived her life, it was quite appropriate. We’ll see what the funeral holds tomorrow.

Love, Peace, and Joy in Death

Love, Peace, and Joy in Death

This morning, I received the news that someone close to me has passed-away.

This is the first death in my experience since The Alchemy of Love and Joy™ came to me. We first met at her son’s funeral (he is listed on my Gratitude page), and her steady presence, surprising humour, and positive outlook at the funeral impacted me; I was almost shocked to learn she was his mother. We became fast friends, taking each other out to lunches and dinners.  I considered her family. The news came via email… and my first response was a surprised “Oh,” and I waited to see what would arise next, watching for sadness and preparing to practice. As I thought of her and began to feel her, there was no sadness, and in fact there grew a pleasant love. Intelligence opened-up into knowing death is not not the opposite of life. Birth and death are what life does. Life has no opposite, no separation. And I knew we are not separate.

There was also the echo of old mind, a knowing that old mind would have been suffering, and that it was an option.  A recognition “this is new,” arose and with that, a smile grew and love and peace blossomed.

Then the thought that I had not seen her in some time was suddenly interrupted by a sense of her mildly sarcastic humour and playfulness that “that was my choice.” And she is right, and I am glad and grateful to love and to appreciate her now. That was followed by happy thoughts that she is with her son, and a knowing that all is well.

This week I will attend the wake and funeral with a compassionate heart and presence for the family while internally holding a celebration for having her arise in my heart and mind. Now. As always.

Awakening Joy™