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LoVE – Pay it Forward

June 6, 2010
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First of all, if you are reading this in a reader or by email, please do take a moment to come and see my beautiful new blog header, created for me by Caroline at Constantly Evolving. This was a prime example of not really knowing I needed or wanted a change, but seeing afterwards that it was definitely meant to be. If you are feeling like your blog needs a little ‘rebirth’, and (like me) have no graphics skills whatsoever, do check out her offerings.

This is Matt Wadleigh, whose death I wrote about at this time last year, and whose life I wrote about a little bit later. This video is the tribute offered by Dave Matthews at one of his concerts, and this picture is Matt holding his famous LoVE sign. You can read more about that at the foundation created in his honor by family and friends.

That part of Matt’s life – the DMB concerts and LoVE signs – were not the part of Matt’s life I knew best. The part of Matt’s life that I knew was his profound spiritual search. He was perhaps the most profound seeker I have known in this lifetime. It was an honor and privilege to witness and nurture that spiritual journey, and to see the LoVE emanate from him every time I saw him.

He passed mysteriously from this earth at 30 years old, of causes that are still basically unknown. He laid down to sleep and did not wake up – at least not in this world. The very mysteriousness of his death, although a shock, seems to have been a gift in its own way to everyone who knew him. In a world where science and technology seem to always have the answers, how could a very healthy 30-year old with everything to live for just not wake up? It’s been a lesson in humility, in surrender, in recognizing that life itself is not fully within our control. It is mysterious. It just unfolds.

It’s been my great privilege to get to know his family in the last year, and through his (amazing) mother to hear about how other family and friends have processed his passing. Everyone – family, friends, acquaintances – have been pushed to go inward. I see this also amongst the meditation group that he was a part of with me. His passing was a profound deepening. For myself, I probably would not be teaching or blogging now if I hadn’t known him.

At his memorial last year, I read a set of quotes on love, from all different religions, and thought I would share them here, as they demonstrate what we all do know at some level – that LoVE is the essence of our being, and the impetus for the universal human spiritual drive, including the creation of religions (whatever may happen to them afterwards!):

No one truly has joy
Unless he lives in love.
– Saint Thomas Aquinas

I awake every dawn with a winged heart
And give thanks for another day of loving.
– Kahlil Gibran

Live in joy,
In love,
Even among those who hate…
…Be still,
Free from fear and attachment,
Know the sweet love of the way.

Come out of the circle of time,
And into the circle of love.
– Islamic Sufi poet Rumi

Our real personality
Is all light, all love,
Always shining.
– Hindu Upanishads

Open your eyes of love, and see that which pervades this world!
– Indian poet Kabir

The important thing
Is not to think much
But to love much.
Do in life what best stirs you to love.
– St. Teresa of Avila

I think the best way to commemorate Matt’s passing, or maybe more importantly his message, is to pay it forward. Do something kind, something loving, for someone today, just out of the blue. The more unexpected the better. A random act of love. For someone you know, or even better, a perfect stranger. Don’t scare anyone – they don’t even have to know. But you know.

So that’s my request today, in Matt’s honor, of anyone who reads this. Pay it forward! And for fellow bloggers, Facebookers, Tweeters, consider asking the same of your readers/friends/followers in coming days. No linkback here, that is not what this is about! Just quietly, let’s create a little ripple of love.


31 Comments leave one →
  1. June 6, 2010 4:53 pm

    More quotes on love, from the Holy Church of Rock N Roll:

    “All you need is love.” ~The Beatles
    “I…I…believe in love.” ~U2
    “Love is worth the fall.” ~O.A.R.
    “Love will keep us alive.” ~The Eagles

    Paying the love forward is a great idea. I’m in!


    PS – The new header ROCKS!!!!

  2. June 6, 2010 6:29 pm

    Ha! Love Jay’s comment! Wow to go to sleep and not wake up at 30….whew…sure puts everything in perspective! I love the quotes you share…especially from all the different religious perspectives. I guess we all have one thing in common. LOVE. Now why can’t we all just get along???? sigh.

    Thanks for the mention…the header looks wonderful here! xoxo

  3. June 6, 2010 6:34 pm

    Love the message on LoVE and about this man’s life and death. Maybe his death is a gift to everyone who knew him and maybe somewhere he knows that and is smiling and holding up his sign.

    I like the Pay It Forward idea and will do just that. And I love the new header. Time for a bit of an update on my own blog so thanks for starting the trend. ;>)


  4. June 6, 2010 7:50 pm

    I am joining you in that light ripple….love, love, love, love is all you need.

    I love the new blog header.

    Peace and love, Nicki

  5. June 6, 2010 8:24 pm

    The header really feels so “you”. I love it, and the representation of this space. Caroline does magnificent work (hi Caroline!!)!!

    I recall the story of your friend from last year, very vividly. It touched me deeply, and still – I didn’t know the full circumstances behind it all. So – today, to read how this mysteriously happened…that just really makes LIFE feel more precious today. Thank you so much for sharing this.

    And the message of LOVE is one which is so deep and good…especially when it comes from a place in the heart. Lisa, you and your site here shine that always. It is so good to know you, to call you friend, and to be touched by the words you share.

    “The way to happiness: keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry. Live simply, expect little, give much. Fill your life with love. Scatter sunshine. Forget self, think of others. Do as you would be done by. Try this for a week and you will be surprised.” ~ H. C. Mattern

    May LOVE rule…today, this week, always…

  6. June 6, 2010 8:25 pm

    your new banner is beautiful, as is this post. sending love your way and every way.

  7. June 6, 2010 9:18 pm

    The header is nice and actually conveys a message.

    Well through your post you let us know your friend too and in doing so shared some beautiful thoughts. Thanks for that.

  8. June 6, 2010 9:20 pm

    Way to go, Lisa and Caroline! The lavenders and blues and greens feel so right for this site. I get the Eye of Ra but not the symbol inside the lotus. What does that symbol/word signify?

    Matt’s LoVE Signs live long. Very inspiring.

  9. June 6, 2010 10:36 pm

    HI Lisa, I love the new look.
    Hearing the message over and over is so encouraging. I will not act kind to a stranger, I will be love in every moment or at least be aware of this declaration. I just did with John, when he did something to irritate me -talked when I was reading your post – I did not snap or look deadly at him, I smiled and told him I was reading about love.
    Oh Lisa, the world will change with love. It just did for me, thank you Matt, xox Wilma

  10. June 6, 2010 10:47 pm

    So nice to come home to these comments after sitting through my daughter’s seemingly endless dance recital dress rehearsal (preceded by my husband’s annual company picnic.) Ah, the things we do for LOVE…

    Jay – Matt would love these, thanks for contributing.

    Caroline – thanks again for the header. It’s interesting – I would probably never have thought of lavender/purple as my color. But after seeing your header I think it is perfect. It’s the color of the third eye in the Hindu chakra system, inspiration for the wonderful poem “Whem I’m an old woman, I shall wear purple”, etc. I love it.

    Melinda – yes, I know this is the case. Actually, your recent post on your anonymous prayers for others is really a kind of ‘paying it forward’ don’t you think?

    Nicki – thanks for participating, and peace and love to you too.

    Lance – wonderful quote, thanks so much for contributing it.

    Sarah – thank you, as always.

    Abubakar – thanks for visiting. It’s nice to have some new readers introduced to Matt and what he stood for.

    Brenda – I’m glad you like the header. The symbol above the ‘mommy mystic’ is the Sanskrit ‘Om’ sign…I love the way Caroline put the yin/yang inside the eye of ra, don’t you?

    Wilma – thanks so much for sharing that moment! That is it, right? We sometimes think it is about big grand gestures and offerings, but it’s these little moments on the part of each of us that really ripple out. I will try and remember this in coming days myself…lots of testing it today!

  11. June 7, 2010 12:11 am

    Hi Lisa

    That was beautiful!

    Well first, I love your new header!!! Both the colors and the images seem to represent so well what this site is all about.

    And isn’t that something you are right about a 30 year old just not waking up. I will always remember Neale Donald Walsch’s words on death – that no death is ever an accident. Every single one has a perfect time and place.

    And so I love your idea of paying it forward and just letting love and kindness shine through!

  12. June 7, 2010 1:48 am

    Thanks for this wonderful post. I had a friend who died in 2004 at age 27 (Justin). He was larger than life, worked closely with the Clintons in the WH and beyond (they both spoke at his funeral); had every major political figure’s cell # on his “favorites” list; ended up becoming a spiritual seeker and befriending and working closely with THE most famous spiritual teachers in “the biz.” Very “kennedy” ish in his life and death. Your friend, Matt, seems like he had a “larger than life” sort of story, too, although not perhaps in the same way. Of course, no “one” (small o) is larger than life, and this, too, shall pass.

    Justin’s life and death showed me things that I never would have known. For me the most profound was that… if/when you let your heart break, rather than holding it all in because it is just too much to bear, your heart actually breaks OPEN and that’s where the LoVE and grace pour in.

    Lotsa love (that is what Justin’s parents say when they end their letters…), and here’s to paying it forward.


  13. June 7, 2010 8:04 am

    Done and done 🙂

    Interesting as I posted yesterday about choosing from the heart and how near death experiences can be conducive to that.

    This is so precious this life and experience.

    Much love to you.


  14. June 7, 2010 7:38 pm

    Beautiful header, and just right for the site. Congrats to you and Caroline!

    Love the idea of paying forward, and what wonderful tribute to your friend. Lovely thoughts. My favorite quotation on love is from Rumi, who said true love is expansive and unconditional, just as “the sun loves the earth.”

  15. Hathor permalink
    June 7, 2010 8:46 pm

    Love is here, Thank You:)

  16. June 8, 2010 12:37 am

    Evita – you are right about every death, and every thing really, having its own perfect time and place – although of course it’s sometimes hard to see that at the time. Thanks for the encouragement on the header.

    Kelly – Wow, that is fascinating, Justin does sound so like Matt actually. Yes, about letting our heart breaks open, this is a phrase from Gangaji that I have always loved too – letting our hearts break open. Thanks for sharing

    Ruth – great, can’t wait to read it. I went through this phase awhile back of reading a lot of books on near-death experiences, from Elizabeth Kubler-Ross and the like. It was so fascinating. And a book I reviewed a couple of months ago, Fingerprints of God, covered some of the scientific research on it – what is going on in the body during near-death experiences, and what registers when the person ‘comes back’ etc. Meditation really can take us to the same place I think – the descriptions of nirvakalpi samadhi and near-death experiences are so alike.

    Kaushik – lovely quote.

    Hathor – yes it is, thank you too:-)

    Kaushik –

  17. June 8, 2010 11:12 pm

    Beautiful quotes and message. I had an adult student pass away in her sleep at age 21. Some things just can not be explained and we have to embrace that with grace.

  18. June 9, 2010 12:48 pm

    Lisa, oh such a beautiful post. The love shines through…It does sound as if Matt and his unexpected passing is one of those beacons of light to points us to greater awareness. Such joy and loss, all at the same time, but yet that IS life isn’t. It makes the heart break open just considering it. Here’s a wave of love for Matt and others this morning…..

    The quotes are so lovely that I have cut and paste them and put them into a pile. All of them are so special. I often think of the Gibran quote when I awake next to my beloved each day…Pure gift. xo

  19. June 9, 2010 6:25 pm

    I find Matt’s story very interesting. I’ve never heard of his name before, but I do know a few people who passed away in the same manner. Death is really mysterious, but I think we should all be prepared when it comes. Maybe Matt has done his job in this lifetime. I’m sure he’s happy wherever he is.

    On a side note, I’ve been studying a lot of ancient scriptures relating to death and it has been really helpful in eliminating almost all of my fears (not to mention that I’ve also experienced what dying felt like when I was younger). The Dalai Lama once said that thinking about death somehow makes him feel excited. He states further that it’s just like “changing a new set of clothes” (incarnating into a new body). I feel the same way, somehow, although it would be great to be naked just like Adam in the garden of eden (to be in nirvana). A lot of people don’t appreciate it when I talk about death. It appears to them that I must be out of my mind or something like that. Well, I guess I am.

    Great post, Lisa!

    Peace and respect,

  20. June 11, 2010 9:56 am

    sweet header…. and i had so wanted to do that for you! lol

    i have passed it forward, this afternoon, just for Matt.

  21. June 11, 2010 3:18 pm

    Cate – yes, sorry to hear about your student. It’s amazing how many people have shared similar stories.

    Jan – actually at least some of these quotes came from the book I won at your site by Ingrid! It’s in Utah right now so I couldn’t find it to check, but she has so many beautiful quotes in there…

    Ryhen – yes, funerary/death texts are a special interest of mine also – the Egyptian Book of the Dead, the Tibetan Book of the Dead, and some of the medieval Christian funerary texts. It’s interesting all of those are also considered (by some) to be guides through the spiritual journey to enlightenment in life – it is a type of death itself.

    Mon – I would have loved that, I actually didn’t know you did that! I knew you had helped some people port or set up on blogspot…next time, please:-)

  22. June 12, 2010 7:07 pm

    I haven’t been here in a while and I hope u remember me. this is such a deep post. It teaches me more than anything the importance of surrender. That we don’t always have the reasons.
    Thank u..

  23. June 12, 2010 7:37 pm

    I just mentioned your blog in my latest post–I was so inspired!

  24. June 12, 2010 10:52 pm

    truly beautiful…the best part of being a teacher for me was always learning more from my students than I could ever teach them…and usually that teaching was about pure love.

  25. June 13, 2010 4:06 am

    Hi Uzma – good to see you again, hope you are well, and yes, I think surrender is something that gets all too little play these days.

    Cate – I’m so touched you were inspired,and thank you for the mention.

    Laura – yes, teaching is a path, no? I have no doubt of that. I learn more from my students that I ever thought possible….

  26. Nettles permalink
    June 13, 2010 4:49 am

    This is very beautiful Lisa.

    Reading about Matt is humbling for me, and reminds me to live my life with loving intent. To be aware of life’s preciousness. To live with grace.

    Thankyou for sharing this Lisa, and for the softness, the kindness that it has given me today. Peace be with you.

    And I love the header too : ) gorgeous.

  27. July 1, 2010 1:31 pm

    I love your thought on creating a ripple of love, which of course you started with this post. We don’t always know why someone leaves this plane of being, however I do believe it is usually because that person’s purpose has been achieved and sometimes their passing is the purpose. Take Matt’s passing for example and think about how his life and passing at age 30 has impacted so many people. Blessings of love and peace to you.

  28. July 6, 2010 6:35 pm

    ToBeMe – you are so right, and it is really the root of humility for us to all realize that we don’t always fully know our purpose or timing. We just do what we do, with love as much as possible, and we may never fully know who it impacted or how.

  29. November 30, 2010 7:05 pm

    Pass The L.O.V.E. Forward!


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