Starting the next full moon, September 29, the “H” in HEN: Health, will become the centerpiece and will be called HOTY.

HOTY is the acronym for the book Judy and I co-wrote: Hold On To Yourself: How to Stay Cool in Hot Conversations. The theme remains the same: the symbiotic relationship between Health, stress and conflict – how to self-regulate, how to remain kind and honest or repair if you’ve strayed.

These topics and more!

Meantime, the “N” in HEN – the Negotiation topic, will come to you at each Dark Moon. Yes, we are all going to be reminded of two key phases of the moon. The subject line will be: On Conflict. And, it’ll be from the On Conflict Leadership Institute (the OCLI)! Gordon White and I co-founded the OCLI in the spring of 2021 and I run it today.

And, if you don’t want to receive HOTY or On Conflict – easy! You can opt out of either or both newsletters at any time!

The “E” in HEN – for the Environment – will stay close to my heart. At the moment, I’m thinking I may feature an “Environment” issue for the summer months… We’ll see. It’s somewhat dependant on you, my reader, and the feedback I receive. So always feel free to let me know what you think! I may not always respond or be able to use what you send, but please know I always love hearing from you (as I write – for me and for you!). J

On to today:

“You’re Beautiful.” “I know it.”

In August, I got to see the movie Barbie (as many may have).

There’s a scene in the movie where Barbie has left “Barbie Land” and she’s in the “Real World.”

Barbie Land is a magical Queendom, where women are the leaders and no one ever ages or dies. Perhaps like the mythical Kingdom that the Buddha was born into, it is Heavenly Perfection.

But like all good stories, our heroine hears an inner whisper, a calling to explore the wider world.

In Barbie’s case, those whispers are thoughts of dying.

This morning when I work up, I thought about HEN, and realized this edition is HEN’s last.

I had so eagerly looked forward to the new newsletter I’ve been cooking up, that I didn’t see this coming. My own thoughts of:

Death. Endings. Letting Go.

Recently, I finished reading a book by Mingyur Rinpoche, my favourite Tibetan monk. I studied with him in 2009 and it was a profound transmission to be in his joyful presence. Within a few years of seeing him, he left his monastery and wandered, in retreat, as a penniless beggar for 4 years.

He let go of what was familiar. Ending. Death.

His central learning from that experience (after almost literally dying from dysentery early on in his wandering) was that he was in love with the world.

All the world. Its joyful living and its dying.

He tells us, in his book In Love With The World: A Monk’s Journey Through the Bardos of Living and Dying:

“The biggest challenge to accepting the constancy of death and rebirth lies with our resistance to impermanence and our hopeless attempts to hold in place what inherently changes… Every new breath follows the death of the previous breath…”

That last line about every new breath following the death of the previous, brings an acceptance and normalcy to change, to endings and beginnings.

Back to Barbie.

As Barbie leaves Barbie Land, that never-changing nirvana, and enters into the Real World, she discovers that the Real World has mortality, aging and death.

Barbie is faced with the truth of the Real World when she sits at a bus stop bench. There, she meets an elderly person. In Barbie Land, everyone is young. The woman on the bench isn’t.

In Real Life, the woman sitting on the bench is Ann Roth, a multi-award winning costume designer and personal friend of the husband-and-wife screenwriters. Ann’s in her 90s, still vibrant and relevant, having just finished designing the costumes for the movie Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret.

You can see this old lady is, well, old.

Barbie stares at this nameless woman (who is actually Ann Roth).

Barbie has found what she set out to find: she is staring at the idea of death. And what does Barbie say?

“You are beautiful.”

And, Ann Roth’s response? “I know it.”

We are afraid of dying, of letting go, of surrender and change.

So, instead of facing the letting go of each breath, we project our fears onto our own aging and onto the aging of others.

It is not aging that is to be feared, but our own illusion that there are no endings.

It is our denial that must be loved into wholeness – our forgetting and fear of endings that are to be transformed.

Mingyur Rinpoche, after his near-death experience and 4 years in solo retreating as a beggar and in the Himalayan mountain caves, brings us this teaching:

“Once we accept the fundamental transitory nature of our minds and bodies, then we can develop the confidence to dismantle our most entrenched patterns. Peeling off the outer layers of self is a form of dying, but the process becomes much more workable if we can develop confidence in the benefits of rebirth in this lifetime.”

The true nature of life, is beautiful. Change can be beautiful. Endings can be beautiful in their way, as well as the beauty revealed in new beginnings.

Today, I want to honour endings.

Today, at the second full moon in August, the Blue Moon at August 30, 2023 – HEN ends.

Like all endings then, she is beautiful.

And, she knows it.