"the feet of Bhagavan are everywhere. So where can we gather except at his feet?
Time and space are no barriers to the gathering of hearts." Sri Ramana Maharshi

Celebrating the life of David LaChapelle

Celebrating the Life of David LaChapelle: Visionary teacher, see-er of souls, wisdom keeper and devoted follower to the great stillness. Friend to many. Dream coach, author, publisher and speaker. Chanter, painter, builder, philosopher and patriarch. His body let go. His gifts live on...

Submissions to this blog greatly appreciated:

To post your entry:
- email text and/or photos to ananda@jeffnet.org
(specify "for blog" and specify if anonymous or not) -or-
- comment in two places directly on blog: on left-hand panel or end of each post

Friday, July 31, 2009

Obituary: Durango Herald

Obituary: Durango Herald

Silverton resident David La Chapelle died from complications of throat cancer in Durango on Tuesday, July 21, 2009. He was 56.

Known as "Randy" as a child, he was born to Edward R. and Mary Dolores Greenwell La Chapelle in Denver on Oct. 8, 1952. He and one other child were taught in a one-room schoolhouse by his mother in Alta, Utah, during the winter months, and he attended public school in Kirkland, Wash., during the rest of the year.

Mr. La Chapelle spent summers with his parents in a small cabin on the Blue Glacier in the Olympic Mountains and learned the complexities of glacier research. Mr. La Chapelle later attended Woodside Priory in Northern California and the University of Washington for a short time.

"David's quest for knowledge and research continued throughout the entirety of his life," his companion and caregiver, Ananda Elise Foley, wrote.

His parents moved to Silverton about 30 years ago for avalanche research. After their divorce, Mrs. La Chapelle became well-known for her writing and teaching in the San Juan Mountains until her death in January 2007. At that time, Mr. La Chapelle and Ms. Foley moved into her Silverton home.

Married Amy Stevenson in White Salmon WA, 1971- 79

From a young age, Mr. La Chapelle was an expert skier and wilderness guide. He later took more than 200 groups into the wilderness.

He was trained in a variety of body therapies and yoga psychology, received eight years of clinical supervision in psychology with a physician and was initiated into Native American healing traditions by John Fire Lame Deer, a Lakota medicine man.

In 1981, he co-founded Wellspring Partners in Health, a holistic medical clinic in Boulder, where he had a private practice as a transpersonal psychotherapist and spiritual counselor. Throughout the 1980s, he was an adjunct faculty member teaching group process at Naropa Institute and directed the counseling program at the September School, a private high school, both in Boulder.

In 1988, he moved to Juneau, Alaska, where he continued his work with groups and where "Stories of the Soul" became the focus of his work. His creative focus turned to writing, and his books included Navigating the Tides of Change, Mountains of Light, A Voice on the Wind, A Hymn of Changes and The Storyteller's Mirror.

Married Shar Fox in Juneau, Alaska 1988- 93

He also had long-term relationships with companions Maggie Jacoby and, since 2003, Ananda Elise Foley.

Mr. La Chapelle is survived by his companion of six years, Ananda Elise Foley, of Silverton; his father's companion of 25 years, Meg Hunt, of Olympia, Wash.; and several aunts and cousins.

A memorial service will be held on Sunday, Aug. 9, 2009, in Silverton. Regional services will are being held in Boulder CO, Ashland OR, Seattle WA, Sonoma, CA, Princeton NJ, Alaska, and in Yosemite National Park in California during August.

Memorial contributions to help pay for the medical expenses accrued during his care are gratefully welcomed by Ananda Foley, P.O. Box 542, Silverton, CO 81433

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Memorial in Silverton

Hi Friends
Please reserve the afternoon of Sunday August 9 to join in remembering David La Chapelle in Silverton. The location and times will be posted in the Standard, go out in another follow up email and be posted on this blog.

Please feel free to forward and make announcements to people who would like to know about this event.

Kindly, Ananda

Note of Service from JH

Hi, Thank you all so much for organizing this.
I wanted to let you all know that I would really like to help with anything needed. I'm open to flying out early to help set up, buy groceries, make airport runs, whatever is useful. I could also stay late, and fly back from Yosemite monday or tuesday. Please just let me know how I could be helpful. I'm so with you all right now.

So Much Love, J H

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Heartfelt Thanks from Ananda & Lexi

Lisa, we took this picture just for you! Lexi and Ananda saying "Thank YOU Lisa" to the camera...nestled between the mountains of Silverton. Lexi's visit was supportive, loving and intuitively led. She brought her heart, her hands, her multitude of gifts and a whole lot of love. I consider these gifts from both of you because you made her trip happen. We held you in our hearts during a sweet mountain walk among the wildflowers yesterday afternoon. Your arms stretched all the way here, to hold me in this gesture. For that we both love and thank you dearly.
Love, Ananda and Lexi!!!

Assembling for Ananda's Constellation: Much Sorrow and Much Joy

Ananda and Momma Cheryl

By Karen:
This gathering created a Constellation (Bert Hellinger Approach) for Ananda, held by Lexi. There appears to be much joy in these photos below. There was indeed much joy... intermingled with an infinite amount of shared sorrow, laughter, tears, shaking knees, clutched hands, opening, holding, chaos, time, roots, representation, form, formlessness... a road map of Ananda's grief. Not something we will soon forget.


Karen, Devin, Kyle, Kelley, Kara, Becky, Cheryl, Margie




Cara and Ananda

Kyle and Devin

The Phoenix, from Adi

Dearest Ananda,

I have been thinking much of you, while the news of David's body gone sink in...many things come to mind, the most potent of which are your selfless giving to David and his selfless giving to others.

A meditation I wish to share. On the night of David's passing, at the circle Jan offered at her house, and while sitting down to meditate on David, the image of a Phoenix came to me... Phoenix, I have found out is a bird of the sun, worshipped in Egypt, Christian and Jewish faiths. It is the bird of death and rebirth.

"Phoenix, hear my heart's desire.
Fill me with renewing fire.
Renew my body, mind and soul.
Loving Phoenix, make me whole.

Keeper of the Fire of Creation

Represents death and rebirth.
Transformation and Regeneration.
Protector of all fire.

This totem gives hope in the midst of despair.
Helps you transform your life into something purer
and brings you closer to spiritual awareness.
Call upon the Phoenix for strength and renewed energy when facing trials of life.

Symbolizes the Sun, dying every night to be reborn with the dawn.
The Chinese believe that the Phoenix has been sent to Earth
to help the development of mankind. Known as the Feng-Huang.

The Phoenix that I know is a traveler
going through the inky vastness of space;
it can take mortal form when it wants to -- during one of my lifetimes as a large red bird."

We are deeply saddened by his passing. We hold you sweetly in our hearts and we send light and love for you and David's spirit.

I love you,

Thoughts from J

My dear precious Ananda,
Our ouija board friends have heard from David. He said, "There is no death, exclamation point. There is only the taking off of the old physical overcoat, and letting the soul soar free".
I'm so excited to know that the contact is already happening. My late husband did the same thing with the ouija board connection and it only got better as 'time' went by.

I love you so much, DearHeart, and cherish the sharing we had at Merci Hospital.

Always and always, in whatever Dimension,


Thoughts from a friend

hello Ananda, I am an old friend of David's

I have been kept abreast of hiss medical condition pretty steadily in
these last months. I had a vivid dream the night before he died so I was not surprised to
hear that he had passed. David and I were old, what I would call Namaste friends, but not
close, though we had spent some of fun spiritual exploring together.

Dream: very very simple. David is standing in front of me. He is
standing tall and not stooped over. And he is just beaming. He is
beaming with a smile on his face and his whole body is healthy and
vibrant and also beaming. He is happy in the deepest sence. The "voice
" in the dream says, "Look, David has had a complete healing. It is
what he wanted."

It was a very direct dream and not at all ambivalent.

I send you my love at this sad time for you and also my appreciation
for all you did to make him happy and comfortable in his last months
and probably years. His love for you and yours for him changed his
life completely. I amsure you know this. Much love to you as you move
throughthis time.

Namaste, F

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Last Days with David, by Cara Cruickshank

Ananda asked me to share my own experience of those last few days with David.

This trip from Seattle has been a true pilgrimge, and one long prayer. After I got the strong call to come help David & Ananda, friend Pamela heroically drove us down. Ananda asked us to prepare ourselves, as David was even more sensitive to people’s energy. So, an opportunity to do the homework from Sensei (as I call David), who often said ‘slow down Cara.’ Ron warned me that David can sometimes reflect people, if their energy was off. So another lesson in releasing my concern, fear, and sadness to focus on giving my love and healing to this amazing man who has meant so much to me; to hold David in the light of who his soul really is, not just what his current body was going through.

Pamela and I arrived Monday morning to a tired Dani and Ron, who had gone through a very tough night with David. Our timing was perfect, as they'd been helping Ananda all week. We centered ourselves again and I sat down at the end of his bed. Thankfully, he did allow me, yet another visitor among many, to gently rub love into his swollen feet and calves. I was so relieved, and happy that we’d done our pilgrimage in such an intentional way, because it helped me feel like I was just a vessel for soothing Davids’ pain a little bit. We didn’t speak, because talking was so difficult for him, and because of the potency of that deep silence he’s talked about. He was coughing so much, and working through that pain, so we just had these long eye gazes, and I struggled at first, with wanting to say so many things to him. It was clear that I needed to simply stay quiet, and let my hands convey the feelings of gratitude, love, and healing prayers. As so many others have done, I figured that this touch might be my main task in being of service to Sensei. And what a relief to finally be able to give something tangible to him! I had longed for this for a year. Though he looked much older, his spirit is so ageless, alive, and forceful! Eyes are the windows to our souls, and his were still so piercing, clear, and strong when he looked at people.

Sure enough, my second massage Monday night, David sensed my energy and asked me to slow down. So I did more breathing, calming, so I could just channel soothing relief. This piece was all I could do, but I had a wish that I could do more to alleviate his suffering! Maybe I could help heal him! Some part of me wanted to rescue him, somehow. There must be a way? Could I get my brother in-law to fly David to Brazil this week? But he was in no shape to travel anywhere, so I had to let that go of my own attachment to just ask for his healing, without knowing what the outcome would be; staying alive, or dying. It was incredibly humbling, because there was absolutely no other place in the world that I wanted to be, but at David’s feet. ‘So this is devotion’, I heard a voice in my head say. I’ve never felt that way before, but it was all that I was here for, all I wanted to do, and I felt it was another gift from David, who has somehow still given and given to us throughout his painful cancer process. Thankfully, our Monday was a good day for him, and for us. We felt needed. Pamela organized meds and charts; I cleaned and massaged. Ananda, along with Kyle, Devin, and Iben the comic relief cat, everybody there was filled with love for each other and for David, so it felt very sweet.

Tuesday morning I brought David Ananda’s incredible smoothie, and he took three tubes. But he was clearly in way more pain then he was the day before. It was the morning of a long distance psychic ‘surgery’ from the healers in Brazil. Ananda came to the bed too, while Pamela sat in the chair. The 3 of us focused on this blessing from afar, but David seemed distracted. I asked if he wanted touch during the distance healing, and he did. So I began my task of massaging his feet, Ananda read to him from a John of God book, and Pamela meditated and channeled a story for David that she later told to him. We three woman totally focused on supporting the Brazilians work, but David was distracted, and seemed barely present for this special healing that had been planned for weeks. We all noticed this, but obviously didn’t know what to say!? We just kept the energy going until he had to get up again. The women left, but David motioned me to stay. He was sending that last email, then seemed so uncomfortable that he just paced around the room.

I didn’t know what to do with myself, except to stay focused and calm, tell my ego to please shut up, and to send him love. When I held out a hand to steady him, he waved it off. So I just quietly knelt on the floor, until that voice whispered again; ‘So this is devotion’. I just knelt there, for I don’t know how long. I wanted to cry, I felt so helpless, but I took deep breaths, feeling gratitude, and so honored to just be there with him; our friend, our Teacher, a wise Metaphysician, and a true Seer. He finally crept back to bed, and I asked if he wanted more touch. He just nodded. Rubbing his feet one more time, I just kept internally thanking him, and praying for his healing. A miracle could still happen! I held both possibilities equally, which was weird, but I was seeing both as possible realities. He was coughing so much, and eating through a stomach tube, but still fighting to stay alive, so I felt like I should support that possibility more. Selfishly too, I wanted him to stick around, like maybe most of us did. One night back in June I went to the woods to pray and cry, begging the universe not to take him so young, when he had Ananda, and so much still to give. But seeing him now, in July, here I was just asking for his healing, because who are we to ask for more than that? I stopped rubbing because he was engaged in emailing and needed to get changed and ready for the doctors’ appointment. Pamela and I said our goodbyes, and off they went.

We focused on working through another lesson from David about maintaining trust in the Universe at all times. I had to surrender to this thing that was happening back on Bainbridge, and Pamela made me shout it out loud, “I surrender!”

Around 1:30 pm we saw lightening and it thundered, the clouds opened up and poured rain for several minutes. We didn’t have a clue yet about David, but the heavens were crying. At 4:30 Ananda called to tell us the shocking news that David had left his body at the doctor's office. O MY GOD he did it! Tears of disbelief, sadness and relief flooded us both. I just kept thinking that he’s free now, he’s FINALLY FREE!

In minutes we were at the mortuary, waiting for Ananda so that we could sit with David one last time. It felt surreal. The place reminded Pamela of a show called 6 Feet Under, so we had a hushed and nervous fit of giggling, which then of course changed quickly back to tears. What was David doing here? He should be on the earth, on a mountain somewhere! Finally Ananda got there after being with David for 3 whole hours. With amazing grace, she, and only she, the sweet nurturing midwife, helped him let go as no one else could have. So we three sat around David for the 2nd time that day. But this time, he wasn’t really there. It was so clear and obvious that his body was just a fragile and empty shell! I was amazed and in awe at how clear it felt that he was finally out of that tortured body.

What a gift he gave us that night. We held the yin and the yang; sadness at the loss of such an incredibly gifted human being, and then happiness that he was free. I went to my place at his feet, Ananada at his head, Pamela at his side. My hands automatically began their job of rubbing his feet, until I remembered that he wasn’t in there anymore, so I just held his feet. ‘So this is devotion’….Quieting my emotional heart, I got an image of David walking down an aisle lined on both sides with a low line of fire, with a whole bunch of beings on both sides of him. It was kind of like a bride walking down the aisle towards people waiting at the alter! These shadowy figures felt like leaders & powerful beings , but I couldn’t really see them. I just saw David walking through and towards them, with fire on both sides of that aisle.

We had the staff turn down the overhead music and sung Hallelujah, chanted Om Nama Shivia. It was so very painful to imagine that there would be no more retreats singing like this, with David strumming his guitar. So again, there was a duality of feeling relief for him and sadness to lose him at the same time. Later, Kyle and Devin arrived, so we gave our chairs to these young men could be with the man that has touched their lives so deeply, and so powerfully. I wish we had a picture of that moment; Devin at his head, Kyle at his feet. It looked and felt ancient. You could feel the strength of their love; it was so sweet, and so beautiful, and so strong. It made us cry some more, from the beauty as well as the grief.

Tears and sadness came and went. We switched places again, and I was at his head, Ananda at his side. This time as I held his head, I quieted down and I got a visual of seeing David’s spirit slipping out of his shell at the hospital. Only I was somehow feeling it too. I think he might have been giving me a taste of what it feels like to leave your body! OMYGOD it felt like slipping out of a very heavy suit of armor! I felt how heavy and dense my body is, and then I felt/saw myself sliding up and out from under that weight and then felt this amazing lightness, but more than lightness; it felt almost like floating, free to move in any direction! It felt SO GOOD! And then it was over, and I was heavy Me again, holding the head of my only Sensei…but it was one more thing that’s made me NOT SCARED of dying anymore!

Running into 2 cougars after a retreat with David on Mt. Rainier was the first thing that helped me get over my fear of death, and now David’s passing has obliterated the residual worries! I thank you one thousand times David. I finally burned some Utah sage all around David. We’d placed a few flowers on his chest, and the guys had also brought wildflowers and a huge feather they placed upon David too. We thought we felt David nearby a few times, but he didn’t seem to be hanging around his body too much. Ananda sweetly led us in a few more chants. The whole evening was one of the most amazing experiences that I’ve ever had. What an honor to be there, and what a gift it all was.

As it got closer to 8 pm I started to get peeved that we couldn’t stay with David all night. Ananda and I talked about how in other cultures, you sit for 3 days with a body. We only wanted a whole night! So I joked I knew just what I had to do; I'd hide in the alcove, and after they closed, I'd open the door so that we could carry David’s body, put him down somewhere on the earth! This made us laugh, but we still wished we could do it! This place was so NOT David…..but then again, HE really wasn’t there. Ananda pointed out that maybe WE needed to be on the ground! So we sat out in the side yard, under huge beautiful trees, lay on mother Gaia and let her hold us for a while, which felt so important for our grieving souls. We sang a bit more, and then Ananda looked longingly at the stained glass window and said, “David is right on the other side of that window!” We let the idea of stealing his body go with a little more tired healing laughter, and reluctantly pulled ourselves away from that building where on one level, David was lying alone. On another level, he really wasn’t! I imagined all those beings in that stone temple, plus his father and his mother welcoming him over, and it felt sweet to see David as a son, returning to their arms. He was free, and probably starting to enjoy it! I know that he’ll be doing amazing work from the other side. Clearly, they need him there.

Now, Sunday, I’m up at 9,500 ft. in Silverton, falling in love with this sweet town cradled by the 11,000 ft high mountains! This wonderful community of people love David & Ananda so much; they cleaned the house, removed medical stuff, filled it with flowers, food, and much love! I am so blessed and grateful to be here. Tonight we will chant in circle at the same time as you who all are doing around the country in Ashland, Princeton, Washington, and Boulder. His wisdom needs to continue through us now. Blessings to you, and I hope on Aug.30th that we’ll be chanting together in Yosemite as we honor sweet David in the mountains that he loved.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Women Holding Me, DAY 2

July 23, 2009 Durango CO
Pictured: Becky, Cheryl, me, Lexi, Kelly, Karen

This was "day two". Unfocused and swirley, day one was the day I woke up to an empty apt (my choice) made the decisions at the mortuary, filtered the business of the transition and the changing of the guards in terms of helpers.

Then here we are, the next day, my girls, loving me up. Today was more grounded supported. Started my day with meditation and asked for what I needed. More well-paced, intimate, supportive, and very very very fun at times and sacred cackly women time ... My Silverton girls Becky & Karen, my Ashland girls Lex and Kelly (Kyle's sis), me and my ma all started on the sleigh bed talking and sharing smoothies, then we toned Om Guru Om (georgeous), then each spoke outloud to Davids spirit, tears streaming, then a cuddle puddle followed by planning the moving of objects and how to be of help, followed by Indian buffet across the street and more unfolding, describing how I let David go, the way time passed after he left. Soo I won't forget the vaporous imprint from my archive, I later asked for recording of what they rememberd me describing (below)... We set an intention marking that today begins the birth of my next chapter, a door to be walked thru mindfully and so I asked for what I need, was heard, and was responded to.

By Kelly Tisdel
I walked through the door of the condo in Durango and was greeted by a smiling, tender Ananda. She’s as you’d imagine - strong, grounded, available heart, purified, with eyes that tell of a beautiful intense journey up a sacred circuitous mountain trail of transition and back down the other side. I reflected to her what I saw in her eyes, “You have so much strength.” Tears came. “Do you feel him?” In certain moments… and she went on to explain as I was led upstairs to a sunlit bedroom with bouquets of flowers and pictures of Amma, Dolores, Ed, Ramana Maharshi, and David with a candle burning next to it. We sat on the bed and were joined by Becky (Friend from Silverton who has helped Ananda and David for the last couple years in so many ways and with nursing care), Lexi (Friend helping with so many details and self care for Ananda, from Ashland), Cheryl (Ananda’s mother), and Karen (Friend from Silverton who has been part of the support and care here).

Ananda shared about how she held space for David’s transition from his body in the doctor’s office and actually how perfect that was. One of David’s favorite doctors was there to hold the space as well, reassuring Ananda just by his presence that everything was fine, allowing her to be fully with David without wondering if there was anything else she had to do. She felt that David wanted that for her.
Hearing Ananda describe his passing, I was overwhelmed with the impression of how innate it is knowing how to serve during those moments of transition, birth and death. She was there with hands on him, whispering that he could stay, that move out of body as well… Over and over "you are loved".

He went through layers of transition out of his body. At one point Ananda stepped back, hands out emitting love and energy and also deliberately unwinding the umbilical cord between them. If indeed this was his moment to move from his body, he wouldn’t be torn with the decision to stay with her or go - he could make his decision clearly.

After a few moments, she moved in towards him again saying over and over, “You are loved… you so are loved…” and also reminding him of various saints, Amma, John of God, and people he loves and those on the “other side” to move towards… that he is held.

It was clear he was transitioning.

His breath was far apart, and eventually that rising and falling of the tidal breath in his body stopped.

Ananda is a midwife of life in and out of body, that is clear. Three hours were spent with his body as time expanded into chanting mantras, washing, tending, loving, blessing, saying goodbye.

She felt a clear distiction from David’s spirit and his body at the mortuary. She describes looking at his body, strewn with the flowers and song that she, Pamela, and Cara covered him with, and actually feeling him very clear right beside her. He was not in his body any longer. Kyle and Devin showed up and were given time with his body as well. When she returned, she saw their constellation: Devin at David’s head, Kyle at his feet, in deep love and silent space.

As we women sat on the bed in the condo we settled into more comfortable space and chanted. The presence and was precious and potent. We began speaking to David – each in our turn. Tears flowed with the overwhelming feeling of gratitude to a man who reflected and gave so much to the world and the people in it. We ended with a large chain of spooning each other in tenderness and chanting again… the vibration echoing through all of us.

Overall, the grief that is present exists with a firm ground underneath it. Ananda is not crumbling, she allows the feelings to rise and swell and subside. She is present with what is unfolding.

We fall into a deep ocean of existence, and wave with the currents that come to rock us into pure places within ourselves.

Thank you David.