- 1.Conversations with Dead People: A Series – Home
- 2.Conversations with Dead People: A Series – The Gravity of Relationship
- 3.Conversations with Dead People: A Series – Light
- 4.Conversations with Dead People: A Series – Beyond Voting: Albert and Kristina
- 5.Conversations with Dead People: A Series – The Energy of Summer
- 6.Conversations with Dead People: A Series – Zen Koan
- 7.Conversations with Dead People: A Series – Looking at Death
- 8.Conversations with Dead People: A Series – The Last Time
- 9.Conversations with Dead People: A Series – Stick-to-it-ive-ness
- 10.Conversations with Dead People: A Series – Forces of Nature
- 11.Conversations with Dead People: A Series – Courage
- 12.Conversations with Dead People: A Series – September 3rd
- 13.Conversations with Dead People: A Series – The Illusion of Time
- 14.Conversations with Dead People: A Series – Finding Voice
- 15.Conversations with Dead People: A Series – A Talk Amongst Rocks
- 16.Conversations with Dead People: A Series – How to be in Conversation with the Universe
The Gravity of Relationship
Pen to Paper, 20 Minute Writing
Albert Einstein, Carl Jung, Georgia O’Keeffe, and I sit at the lake’s edge with our feet in the water, deep in conversation.
“Are we dead?” they ask, in unison.
Carl lets go of my hand to swoosh a fly.
“You look awfully dead to me. Skeletal even.” I say, watching Carl follow the flight of the fly. “Besides everyone else knows you are dead. It’s recorded, in books – everyone says you’re dead.”
“Kristina!” Georgia yells, her smile covering her face, like clouds in the sky. “We are asking ONLY YOU: do we feel like we are dead?”
Georgia emphasizes her words by puckering her lips like a child with a sucker. Then, she raises her arms up, lifting her hands into the air above her head, spreading and waving her fingers, pulling down and flicking up four fingers – symbolizing quotation marks.
“No, Georgia, none of you ‘feel’ dead to me. And, since when do my feelings have any to do with whether you are all dead?” I say, kicking water up with my feet.
“Ahhh, now we are getting somewhere,” Carl says, cleaning his thinly wired glasses. “You don’t feel we are dead, do you?”
Albert is rolling on the ground, laughing. Perhaps his furious laughter has something to do with fingers in the air. I worry his bones will fall apart, even on the soft grass.
“Just where are we getting, Carl?” I ask, standing up, wading into the shallows of Lake Monona, deciding if I shall go swimming. I want to swim. But this is the first time all three of them are together with me: Georgia O’Keeffe, Carl Jung, Albert Einstein.
All dead, and all in one place.
I don’t want them to leave, but I am a bit annoyed by their inquiry. Of course, they are dead. I’m not sure why they want my words to define their reality. And, I don’t trust my words, or map of reality anyway. After all,l they are here with me, hanging their feet in this lake, shooing flies.
I find a new strength, turn back toward the shore, and say, “Albert, could this have something to do with the illusion of time? My ability to be in relationship with you?”
Albert is resituating himself from rolling on the ground, laughing, to sitting back at the lake’s edge. I realize he did not hear me so I repeat the question, “Are you and I in relationship because we have somehow pierced the illusion of time?”
Albert smiles, picks up a stone, slowly stands up, and says, “Look at it this way.” He leans back, readying his body, his arm, his waist, and hand for what seems like a long skip of the stone far out into the lake. Instead Albert throws the stone straight up in the air. We are all watching the stone rise, and rising more. And then, it stops, seemingly suspended in midair, and then the stone drops, slamming into the grass, next to Carl’s hand.
“Albert, you could have hurt someone!” Carl squawks, grabbing the stone.
Albert, dancing now, doesn’t apologize but says, ”Gravity. Did you see Gravity? No, you saw the effects of gravity. You saw the stone suspend, pause, stop in midair, that is spacetime, that pause, that gap, that is where we are all inhabiting now. And Carl, give me that stone back.”
“No,” Carl says. “You are dangerous.”
Albert walks over to Carl, gives him a big kiss on the cheek, and takes the stone from his hand.
Conversations with Dead People is a series of stories which show up in my meditative practice, Contemplative Writing. With this practice I sit with pen and paper, twenty minutes, and write to a prompt from a meditative space. I share these stories with minimal edits to share the depth, the directness, the deep body sense, I experience with my teachers.
Albert Einstein pops into my writing often, we hang out, giving us both a direct chance to explore the illusion of time. Albert feeds me tremendous encouragement to trust the irresistible urge I have to grieve, and heal, through death.
We also meet Thomas Merton, Georgia O’Keeffe, Carl Jung, and more through this weekly blog, Conversations with Dead People: A Series. Please join us each week.