In the lyrics of "Let's Dance" David Bowie sings about "serious moonlight". Every time I heard those words I wondered what he meant by them - the intrigue lasted for years. Not long ago, on the occasion of the Blue Moon, the second full moon in a month, I had an experience of serious moonlight while sitting in meditation with a resident at hospice. We had been engaging in meditations on the Full and New Moons for several months as part of a compassion practice. The meaning of our joining together this time was heightened by her impending death - just days away.
Through her I had the opportunity to experience the potential for growth and healing even at the end of life and in spite of significant suffering. She was able to find meaning in and gratitude for what was happening for her in a way that elicited the respect of those she came in contact with. Along with our ability to understand what is happening, and our ability to manage it, our ability to make meaning of what is happening for us is a vital aspect of how we find the ability to learn from what life presents us and to transcend the challenges we encounter along our personal journeys. This leads to what Dr. Anton Antonovsky refers to as a Sense of Coherence, chronicled in his research into what makes some of us more able to meet the demands of life than others. I have learned that it is healthy to give our lives meaning; it creates the potential for resilience in the face of difficulty as well as the capacity for gratitude and joy.
From the perspective of multiple intelligences, declining physical well-being due to ill health or aging requires us to depend more on our other intelligences - emotional, mental and spiritual - to remain resilient. Developing these intelligences more fully provides a challenge and our efforts are rewarded with the increased ability to enjoy life no matter how it unfolds for us. My experiences so far, both personal and from that of those I work with, suggests that it is in our best interest to begin this work before things get too challenging. It is a lot easier and the benefits of this work support us when something does go awry.
Meaning takes on new meaning from this perspective. My understanding of the lyrics of "Let's Dance" in 1983 is far different than the one I now hold. I look back to when I wondered what David Bowie meant by "serious moonlight". I would still love the opportunity to ask him about that but I have learned that what it means to me is what really matters. My sense of meaning has changed and this sense of meaning is a work in progress.
So David what did you mean by "serious moonlight?". I'm still curious. Want to talk? Regardless, I know what it means to me and I honour the spirit of the resident with whom I spent that Blue Moon meditation. It was "serious moonlight", filled with joy, gratitude and some sadness. I treasure this experience and how David Bowie's lyric added to my meaning making.
About the Author
Lois is certified as an Integral Master Coach™ through Integral Coaching Canada (ICC) and as a Spiritual Intelligence Coach through Deep Change. Her practice working as a personal and executive coach is based in Calgary, Canada and she also distance mentors coaching students from across North America. In addition, she is involved with a group of ICC coaches who are co-creating a book on incorporating wellness as an integral aspect of coaching, specifically in helping individuals move from a debilitating illness story to a liberating wellness story, even in situations where full recovery may not be possible. Read more about Lois.