Streaming Love

I stand within my late mother’s empty bedroom, where the scent of mildew taints the air. I note the empty wall where the TV hung and the four indentations on the carpet where the bed sat. Only a few piles of miscellaneous things clutter the floor. Most absent is the beautiful being with whom I shared my life.

Suddenly a stab of pain comes to my heart as I realize I gave away the one possession that in the past few years brought us the most joy.

Every Sunday I would go to her home and make us brunch. While we ate fried eggs and roasted potatoes, we would talk about love, travel and adventure.

By this time she was fairly confined to bed. And so, the outer adventures we shared—traveling the world and especially New Mexico, visiting ruins and markets, scuba diving and bird watching—transformed to a quieter one: watching movies.

Every week we would lie in her big bed in front of her massive Sony HDTV and laugh, cry, tremble with fear, or swoon with romance. Afterward we would talk of the movie, how it touched us, saddened us, inspired us.

In the weeks following her passing, I became the distributor of her possessions. A bit overwhelmed by the task, I simply did the best I could. When my siblings and cousins arrived from distant towns I said, “help yourself” to many of her things. They respectfully did.

But now as I stand in her bedroom I realize that without even considering, I let go of my mother’s entire video library. It was a carefully selected set of some 50 movies that she cherished, and that included many of our mutual favorites such as Goodwill Hunting, Forrest Gump and Chicago. I have no idea who claimed them—at this moment they could be in Austin, Denver or Dallas.

I sit down on the dusty carpet and cry. The one movie I most lament giving up is The Mission. It was our all-time favorite. Starring Robert De Niro and Jeremy Irons, it most matched our mutual criteria of epic scenery, drama, music, and most of all, heart. We watched it many times, and discussed it many more. On our travels we listened to the soundtrack, marveling at the artistry of composer Ennio Morricone.

The loss of it so hurts because it seems to embody our life together. It was a life of extremes. She was a master creator, who during my childhood manifested a sprawling New Mexico ranch where people convened for elaborate feasts, hot air balloon rides and cattle drives amidst a stunning setting of green meadows and arching willow trees. Meanwhile, her passion for partying took her down dark roads that I often traveled with her, mopping up the aftermath.

As I built my travel-writing career, she often joined in. When I worked in Asia, she met me in Bali and we traveled back around the world, through Thailand, Nepal, India, Kenya and Egypt. In New Mexico, she often supplied the enthusiasm for my King of the Road column trips, always happy to explore the state’s little towns, even when I left her all day in the No Scum Allowed Saloon. During those years, she endured my worst fear, impatience and anger, and yet loved me entirely. Together we lived a thousand epic movies and found, in our own unconditional love, a happily-ever-after.

Shadowed by a cloud of sadness, I leave my mother’s house. And in subsequent days whenever I think of the loss of that library, and especially The Mission, my heart hurts so deeply I nearly double over.

I release it to the Beloved, again and again.

One day, clarity comes. I recognize that The Mission itself is a small loss. I can likely stream the video on Netflix, as I probably can any of the others. And then this truth comes: In a similar way I can still “stream” my mother’s presence into my life—her love, courage, ability to live expansively and generously, and most of all, her laughter, which I heard so often.

All of these qualities exist within me. When I center in the Beloved, they are here completely. The loss of the movie fades, replaced by a sense of love available to me any moment I ask.

Weeks later, back in her bedroom, I set about the task of sorting through those last miscellaneous piles. I make my way through old photographs, journals, dog toys and cassette tapes.  I lift a box and find underneath a single video. The back of it has swirls of darkness and blue. My heartbeat accelerates in my chest and tears well in my eyes.

I flip the video box over and there it is: The Mission.


Click below to listen.

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Sunflower photo shot near Nambe, NM



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36 Responses to “Streaming Love”

  1. donna September 17, 2013 at 7:24 am #

    I just wanted to thank you for sharing this. I miss my grandma and feel so sad. I’m trying to petition the inner master, but mostly just feel like I’m slipping into someplace dark and deep. Reading this helps me to know she’s very much with me. Sending you love and gratitude.

    • Lesley September 17, 2013 at 2:26 pm #

      Donna, I’m happy this brought you some solace. At times it feels as though the Beloved is splitting our heart open and all we can do is endure. The wonderful news is that that split lets the love pour in and through us.

      • al September 17, 2013 at 4:44 pm #

        I apologize for writing so much…please forgive me. I wanted to share a song by Diana Jones, which never fails to melt me. Listen to the lyrics and how they relate to your above comment. Blessings are abundant in the tears of a chela.

  2. Sherri Ohnemus September 17, 2013 at 7:48 am #

    In every word you write I see the “Beloved” and He is so beautiful to me!
    Thank you

    • Lesley September 17, 2013 at 2:27 pm #

      Thank you, Sherri. I know what you mean, any notion of the Beloved stretches a smile across my face, and writing these posts does that for me, as I hold His hand the whole way. Thank you for encouraging me through these years.

  3. al September 17, 2013 at 9:09 am #

    Splendid post and a tender symphonic recording. There are so many experiences I have gone through in this incarnation that produce pain when recalled that it is a miracle a can still take one breath. Hidden memories that I don’t even want to face come up from time to time…lost loves, attachments broken, embarrassing actions, etc. I am comforted by the Master Power and Love and I am also given knowledge of what is transpiring as attachments are dissolved, one after another. A piece of music that always brings me to the core of my pain is Adagio for Strings, by Samuel Barber. There is great joy while experiencing the emotional darkness of worldly loss and only the soul knows of this secret joy. Thanks for sharing your own pain and gradual retrieval of your attention, which is spiritual success.

    • Lesley September 17, 2013 at 2:32 pm #

      Al, as I write this I am listening to Adagio for Strings. I too so enjoy this piece, though I could never have named it. So thank you for telling me what it is! I also resonate with what you say about the dissolution of attachment to experiences of our past. I find that these really are just stories of illusion. One day they simply go, as does the weight that they use to hold us in the material world. What a blessing it is to become lighter and lighter until we float in the heavens.

      • al September 17, 2013 at 4:28 pm #

        Thanks, Leslie. I am also reminded to mention that there is no such thing as dissolution of karma without a Competent Master…contrarily, karmas accrue and multiply! So, we really have the best of the best. We can dally around in this world, laughing and crying, doing what we desire AND we have the unimaginable gift of our karmic scrolls being lessened all the while! We’ve hit the jackpot and all the chimes are ringing everywhere for each and every chela. All Glory to Sat Guru Sri Gary.

  4. Tricia Ware September 17, 2013 at 9:12 am #

    So beautiful . . . thank you for this.

  5. Susan Stoffer September 17, 2013 at 10:06 am #

    The words are as profound & awesome as the music….both hit the core of my Being. Thank you !

    • Lesley September 17, 2013 at 2:34 pm #

      Thank you, Tricia and Susan. I’m happy the words and music did touch you, as they did me when they streamed through.

  6. Em Porter September 17, 2013 at 10:53 am #

    Heartfelt appreciation goes out to you for this beautiful piece, you are a gifted writer with
    the ability to connect others to the experience that we all can relate to through you….

    • Lesley September 17, 2013 at 2:37 pm #

      Thank you, Em. Truly as a writer I consider myself a good craftsperson. All the rest I attribute to the Beloved Sound Current. I’m happy you related to this experience. Love to you, dear soul.

  7. Debra September 17, 2013 at 11:05 am #

    ah, Lesley……….such transformation in embracing and letting go my dear………If I had enough courage, I would have spoken at your mother’s wake………… that what I remember most working with her was her sparkling eyes and effervescent laughter. those eyes just seemed to dance every time I entered her room and that laugh……well you know it well……….it was uplifting in and of itself.

    Thank you for the gift of working with her for a short time……….she is a precious gem in soul as you are as we all are as we unwind the layers of who we think we are to become that which we are in are glorious, stunning, radiant soul

    BB and love abounding in each and every moment <3

    • Lesley September 17, 2013 at 2:39 pm #

      Debra, you say so much in this comment! My mother really connected with your sweet vibration and wanted more of it. And you are right, my time with her was really a brief sojourn on our long journeys of soul. We are so blessed to share our journey with one another. I’m very grateful to share mine with you!

  8. Ron September 17, 2013 at 1:20 pm #

    How perfect that The Mission is all about the journey of letting go and becoming. I enjoy watching you on your journey and watching your letting go. Let the armor fall and leave it at the bottom of the stream. Let it return to otherness as you journey beyond fears and into love.
    Be Wel My Friend, Ron

    • Lesley September 17, 2013 at 2:41 pm #

      Ron, I can tell in this brief comment that you too are a fan of The Mission. Yes, let the armor fall to the bottom of the stream, allowing us all to rise into our true beingness. I too very much enjoy watching you blossom on your path. A stunning one it is.

  9. Leslie Mason September 17, 2013 at 1:53 pm #

    Thank you for being vulnerable and open about the pain of your loss. What you have learned on your journey is lighting the way for me on my Path. I could not bear to have strangers touch things that were my mother”s, so rather than donate them, I stored them away. Gradually, as balance returned, and hurt became remembrance, I was able to see that others could benefit, and was able to share. Donating her material possessions was immensely freeing. I realized that we were still part of each other, in soul, and that I needed to live NOW. As a chela, I know that with the Master, I am always loved, and never alone. I release and surrender to Him, and this empowers me to grow into the Soul I long to be.

    • Lesley September 17, 2013 at 2:44 pm #

      Leslie, thank you for sharing so much of yourself as well. You are truly a shining star. Hundreds of times in the past three months I have held something of my mother’s in my hands and wanted to hold onto it, but instead put it in the “letting go” pile. Each time I do I feel a release of that part of me that wants to hold onto the material world. Soul truly lives by giving, and I am growing to love the practice of this. Still, I have kept a few choice things that bring a smile to my face.

  10. Marian Royal Vigil September 17, 2013 at 3:23 pm #

    Lesley, I love this post and especially your frank honesty about your own struggle and spiritual growth. Your words never fail to open my heart more to the Beloved and for that I am very grateful. Thank you for the privilege of sharing your journey.

    • Lesley September 19, 2013 at 5:20 pm #

      Thank you, Marian. I am happy to share this journey with you! You too inspire me with your humble walk.

  11. Pat Shirley September 17, 2013 at 4:58 pm #


    Feel the love you have for your mother. It is always there.

    • Lesley September 19, 2013 at 5:21 pm #

      Thank you, Pat. It’s great to see you here. And I know that you live what you say, as someone who has lost much and continues to live and love onward.

  12. Ravi Koli September 18, 2013 at 5:01 am #

    Lesley Ji, the pure and unconditional love that you’ve evinced towards your late mother is a strength for me to recognize my own melancholy if there’s some and stream love as much as possible into my life. 🙂

    • Lesley September 19, 2013 at 5:22 pm #

      Thank you, Ravi. What a great point you make. We never have to sit in our melancholy. Always the love is just a movement in consciousness away.

  13. Cliff Darnell September 18, 2013 at 1:59 pm #

    Yes, they are with us, as the ageless faces from school, still young because I missed the reunion, and when I find my fingers rolling quarters in my hand, touching a “um toto” soft on the head as my father did, when I see a small child I see him think of them and smile. My father never went to Kenya, I did, my mother, my grandmother , My friend Connie did Casey he didn’t go , but the smooth way he lived was there on the Serengeti,The way he moved in a herd of yearlings a reflection of Masai, His Pendelton woven wool patterns there too. Oh thank you, for a window for a window that helps me learn to live with myself ,and not for myself.I enjoy the picture gallery of your memory.

    • Lesley September 19, 2013 at 5:24 pm #

      Cliff, what a wonderful point your poetry makes here. These loved ones do live on, not just in our memories, but in a gesture, a landscape, a texture. We are all one in love.

  14. Rudy Anderson September 18, 2013 at 4:56 pm #

    Sorry to come so late to this sweet party. I loved the tribute to your mother, to her personality in this world as well as the recognition of her as soul — gifted and a gift to others, especially to her kind daughter who loved and cared so intently for her. This post is filled with treasures — thank you for the music, both yours and Al’s. Somehow I missed The Mission, but I will surely watch it soon. And of course once it was surrendered, it showed up on its own accord, where it is comfortable and cared for. The world is in us, after all.

    • Lesley September 19, 2013 at 5:28 pm #

      Rudy, glad you did make it to the party. The way The Mission appeared that day has brought tears to my eyes many times since, not so much in regards to my mother, but as a testament to the power of the unseen forces at work in our lives. When we surrender, we receive beyond our wildest dreams.

      I look forward to hearing how you like The Mission, dear friend.

      • Rudy Anderson September 20, 2013 at 2:04 pm #

        Thank you, Lesley, for your little note. The unseen power and unseen forces, when you think about it, are ALL there is, and yet it’s not until we look and see with the Master’s help, that we start to understand this. I was talking to Sterling about this the other day — how surrendering and having a surprising outcome happens untold numbers of times, and still it is delightful — like a postcard from Heaven letting us know that we haven’t fallen off the tracks, and to just keep on keeping on. And what a precious train ride it is. Thank you again for such an awesome post!

  15. donna September 18, 2013 at 7:00 pm #

    Leslie Thanks for sharing your loss with me as its helping me deal with some sad feelings of my own. Sending love

    • Lesley September 19, 2013 at 5:29 pm #

      You are so welcome, Donna. Blessing to you.

  16. Diane September 19, 2013 at 12:42 pm #

    How perfect a reminder for you to find “The Mission” after sorting through all those feelings of loss and remembrance. It’s like your mom was there with you the whole time and heard everything that was streaming through your heart. Beautiful!

    • Lesley September 19, 2013 at 5:32 pm #

      Diane, thank you. I appreciate the way your phrased that, “sorting through all those feelings of loss and remembrance.” Isn’t that our job each day, to stay in the arms of the Beloved while we sort through those very things, letting the dross fall away to be replaced by the miracle of consciousness.

  17. Bob Watson September 19, 2013 at 4:48 pm #

    Thank you so much, Lesley, for sharing your bittersweet memories with us (your internet family).

    And, what an amazing find under the box!!

    I wonder if the DVD’s that the cousins and siblings took home with them were just the perfect movie(s) for them to watch and experience at this point in their lives.

    • Lesley September 19, 2013 at 5:34 pm #

      Bob, that is a great perspective. I definitely think those movies are perfect for whomever has them. My step-brother offered to help me retrieve the library and I told him it wasn’t necessary because I’ve released it now, and know that those moves are on their own “mission.”

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