"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...

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Friday, July 24, 2009

Thoughts from Karen Hoskin

David, Ananda and my family have been neighbors sharing the glory of Silverton.

My refrain to David from the first day we met, as he invited me on retreats and long walks, was that I am just not teachable in this lifetime. I am not interested in self work. I was closed to him. This lifetime for me, I said, is about giving to others, taking as little for myself as possible, returning the love I receive in greater measure, practicing generosity. Embracing his teachings seemed self centered to me, too much about me.

David was infinitely compassionate. He gave me space, maybe even reveled in not being teacher for a moment. We found a common and shared place in service and storytelling. My children became his friends. We shared meals, music and tea, leisurely breakfasts that he could not fully enjoy in the sunroom that I still thought of as Dolores'. I cringed to watch him eat with so much pain. He played his guitar and told stories. I realize now that I never knew him cancer free or 'well'.

I called down the street to him one morning to ask him to step onto his front porch and look up at Kendall Mountain. There, the rising sun was lighting the peak from the back and creating a breathtaking penumbra around the summit. When I saw it, the first person I thought of was David. "It makes me believe in God", I said. David captured the moment and returned it to me in spectacular form inside a frame. Scratched below the vivid image were the words "It makes me believe in God".

He created for me another piece last winter, in the depths of his own pain in Ashland. This time it was a visual altar to a preschool I had helped conceive and birth. The altar held images of my origins in Maine, my deep love of temple India, my obsession with service, softness and light and color.

All this generosity came to me when he needed to hunker in, preserve his strength. I was stunned. He was modeling, in perfect form, the life I was striving to live.

When do you suddenly realize that someone has reached inside your heart? When do you cross the threshold from acquaintance to loved one? I remember the moment exactly. It came as a rush of gratitude, an inflow of feeling blessed...chosen, lighted from within.

I was never good at sitting at his bedside, massaging his feet, tossing away his tissues. I was plagued by selfish wishes, that he would stay whole for my sake, so that we could venture out as an unstoppable team with Ananda. The service we could have undertaken! The lives affected!

At nearly the exact moment that David died, Silverton experienced the most wildly-dramatic, ear-splitting crack of sumultaneous thunder and lightning I have ever experienced. There was no warning, no distant rumbling to prepare us. It took out technology all over town. I believe this was his strong message to us...stop your didactic chatter, take note of Mother Nature, be humbled, remember that you are alive, feel blessed, turn your face up to the rain, let the earth feed you, forgive.

That evening, I asked for a goddess (from among 44 goddesses that I occasionally consult for stamina) to guide David on his journey. Kuan Yin emerged. In the image I hold of her in my mind's eye, she was lighted much like Kendall Mountain in David's photograph. Ananda had asked me to hold David in the light for his journey but in my ignorance, I had no idea how to do such a thing, so I turned the task over to Kuan Yin. I imagined her stripping David of his pain, nourishing him with delicious foods, taking him to the light, laughing with him. He was strong and fierce, his color had come back in, and he had a handful of colored pencils.

Karen Hoskin

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