Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Ceremony as a Way of Life

I am recalling our unique goddess-blessing ceremony Sunday evening: imagine us in a retreat setting. Imagine we had prepared by exploring the grounds of this imaginary retreat center and found things in nature to ornament ourselves and each other with. What if we had rolled-up antique paper scrolls to write our goddess’s advice on, before making our proclamations? What if the mother and daughter pair being anointed were sitting on a throne as we anointed them? What if the retreat was staffed by mothers and daughters who had been there before, who knew how to hold space during ceremony, who provided us with examples of full presence? And imagine that, after our lovely rose water blessing, our chef had dinner ready, then after dinner in this scenario which, as long as we are using our imaginations, we can place in Northern California, we mothers got into a hot tub and the girls hopped into a pool, and we soaked up the warmth of the water and the remaining sun. Sigh.

That is my dream and my vision: taking Sunday night’s mini-ceremony to a higher level of pomp and circumstance, making it desirable for daughters everywhere (yet maybe even a bit too edgy for the average mom). A weekend retreat like the one I envision will add a sense of ritual, a coming of age ceremony, a pageantry, that secular America lacks. What if all girls’ spirits were honored? What if girls were told and shown how their unique spirit comes from their goddess lineage? Look out into the world: we see adolescents making up their own “coming of age” activities…not involving their moms. Let’s preempt that with something spectacular. When girls believe they are more than what our culture teaches, when girls are tuned into their inner voice, when their mother-daughter connection is experienced as sacred...it will change the way girls interact with each other and the world.

I’m writing a manual to go with my book, so that any mom who wants to can create a MoonBeams mother-daughter circle to unplug and honor each other’s humanness and inner goddess. Hold the vision for me! See all girls everywhere honored simply for being who they are! See a world in which girls can grow into their adolescence consciously, and moms can, just as consciously, honor their daughters’ impending independence. A mere 90 minutes a month in a MoonBeams circle can pave the way for enlightened mother-daughter relationships! And at the end of each MoonBeams year, mothers and daughters would come together en masse for a weekend of seeing and honoring each other in unforgettable ways.

Our daughters are our MIRRORS and our LENSES!

For more information on setting up your own MoonBeams mother-daughter experience, please contact me.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

The First MoonBeams Mother-Daughter Group


CIRCLE UP for Community Support: Book Clip from Chapter 7

My vision was to lead a ritual and celebration when Lily started her monthly cycle.  But when she was about nine, I began to realize that I couldn’t just spring it on her; she and her friends needed to be eased into this celebration with a monthly group, a group of mothers and daughters who would enjoy coming together and creating sacred space and being--simply being--together.  That idea tapped me on the shoulder, but I wasn’t convinced it was time to begin, and in fact I wasn’t even sure just what it was we’d be doing, since my intention was to just be!  Of course I wanted to have a clear idea of what it looked like before inviting people to a monthly circle.  I put that idea on my back burner, and the shoulder-tapping became downright pressure. More than once, I wondered, “What if another mother had this idea and invited me to her group?” but I knew I wanted to be the one to do the inviting and plan the evening.  It was welling up in me. Overriding my uncertainties, I sent out an email to my list of yoga students and friends, inviting mothers with ten-year-old daughters to join me in a circle to honor our daughters.  I had cast the net, and ten mothers immediately responded, so I set a date and opened up to whatever the curriculum was going to be.  I trusted it would emerge, just like the curriculum for my yoga workshops always had.

Lily was slightly uncomfortable with this prospect--the prospect of her mom potentially looking foolish in front of all her friends and their moms.  I agreed: how horrifying if Lily were to be embarrassed by my antics—though I am one of the most composed, low-key, unembarrassing people I know.  Nevertheless that was Lily’s number one fear, and I had sympathy. So we made a deal:  I committed to run the mother-daughter evenings by her in advance, and she would have the right to reject anything that seemed dumb, embarrassing, or not fun.

For our first evening, we packed roses, a cloth for our altar, water and cups, cd’s (!), tissues.  Lily helped me set up the room. Her friends giddily showed up, sat beside their moms, and looked at me expectantly.  I felt their trust. Taking in the gazes of the daughters, I felt alive with a heightened sense of adventure, tuned in and open to whatever might happen.  

First we played what eventually we called the blindfold game, which wasn’t a game at all—more than just an icebreaker, a chance for girls to tune into each other with their hands, as an extension of their hearts, and then we talked about it.  Moms were supportive and offered comments that helped the girls open up to share. I assured the moms that girls’ inevitable giggles were ok with me. We placed meaningful items on our “sacred space,” or altar, as symbols for each of us, individuals creating beauty when arranged together in a sacred space.

The following two evenings, over the next two months, went equally and fulfillingly well.  On the fourth evening, I began to run the agenda past Lily.  “Mom?” she interrupted, “Can you not tell me what we’re going to do?  I want to be surprised, like the other girls.”  Here was my green light; I had won over my daughter.  She trusted that this wouldn’t be a group about me embarrassing her.  Each month we went a bit deeper, from honoring our daughters externally with rose petals to allowing a special word, describing a quality that they wished to embody, to be revealed to them—from their own hearts.  The girls learned that they deserved to be honored—in fact they loved it, they soaked it up!  And they learned how to grow, how to create themselves, consciously, from the inside, out.

A couple days before each circle, that circle would be revealed to me.  The lack of effort was amazing and humbling…I felt that I was “doing” practically nothing; the level of reward for simply opening up to these ideas was disconcerting…but I got used to it.  There were plenty of wonderful ideas in the world for rituals and exercises that the girls and mothers could do, that would allow them to see each other, and honor what they saw.

Four months after we began, we decided that everyone who was going to join had joined.  So we formally, and symbolically, closed the circle by taking a ball of yarn, passing it around, wrapping our own wrist three times and handing it to the person on our left until we were all tied together in a circle.  Then we each cut the strings that bound us together and declared that symbolically, we were still connected, then passed the scissors to our left. We tied each other’s loose ends, and were each left with a yarn bracelet to remind us of our connection to ourselves and to our supportive group.  It was beautiful and deeply felt.  I was doing what I most wanted to do.  I was manifesting my dream:  our mother-daughter circle was real, and had a life of its own.


MoonBeams groups create new and fertile terrain and provide an opportunity to check in on a deep level.  They give each girl a chance to practice being seen by her mom and her friends at the same time, which challenges her to be true to herself. They give us a chance to practice noticing if we feel judged, as mothers, and to let that go. If you are motivated, rally your friends from high school and college, the soccer moms, your facebook friends, and ask for a commitment.  Our original group has lasted six years and is still intact. Ask your daughter whom she’d most want to invite, and whom she’d least like to invite, and see if some of the girls she is not friends with have mothers who are open to the possibility of creating one magical evening a month that will transcend cliques and old rifts.

The most difficult aspect of starting a group is agreeing on a time to meet.  Our first group met one Wednesday evening a month for three years, then one Tuesday evening a month for a year.  When the girls reached high school, we switched to Friday nights, when there was less homework pressure and the girls could stay up later. But Friday night brought new conflicts: dances and dates.  Although everyone was fully committed to our MoonBeams group, sometimes there was a conflict that took precedence.  An occasional play rehearsal, a religious holiday, a school performance…but we stayed flexible. We were fully committed to showing up and being, once a month, and we are still thrilled when we can make it happen.

Reserving a couple hours once a month, in a supportive group, to tap in on a deep level is a great vaccination against depression, alienation, and acting out.  It is also a good vaccination against eating disorders and self-medication, against losing ourselves in someone else, against tuning out who we truly are.  Hearing and honoring the inner voice: THAT for girls is what defines an individual—not piercings or eyeliner or a boy’s attention.  When we insist on not hearing our inner voice, it sometimes needs to roar to get our attention—a monthly check-in helps prevent that roar.  Let’s allow that voice to exist as it is meant to be, as the “still, small voice,” rather than it having to morph into something much less pleasant, like anger or pain.

Although it is easier to schedule on the same evening every month, it is an unusual and exciting option to schedule monthly around the moon—I prefer the new moon, because that’s when the farmers sow seeds, as opposed to the full moon, when we are “out there,” and less internal; the full moon is when farmers harvest.   

So make a monthly appointment with your daughter and her friends to do…nothing.  Together. To get absolutely nothing done.  Together. To let your spirits play.  Together. That’s what today’s girls are calling out for—they want to be with their moms, unplugged.

When we create a place where our daughters can be seen and celebrated for the voice of their heart, that is the place from which they will conduct their lives.  When they are able to hear and follow their inner voice, they will live in happiness, health, and harmony. When we take time out to honor them, they will learn to surround themselves with others who honor them.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

MoonBeams Book Clip from Chapter Six: Beliefs about Food


My mother is a really great cook!  She uses fresh ingredients and makes things from scratch. Rarely did she open a can or a box during my childhood.

Her parents would kill a chicken, when it was time to eat chicken.  And that was just…normal to her, because she grew up with it.  When I was little and she’d describe it, I couldn’t even imagine eating a chicken that had previously been running around my yard.  As a child I was relieved my parents didn’t do that wringing of the neck thing my mom had so nostalgically described.

In my own childhood chicken memories my mom sliced her own chickens, bought whole from the butcher. I remember too well, the sound of the chicken’s back breaking—apparently a necessary step in the slicing of a chicken.  Frankly it was a tad horrifying but…I sure did enjoy my mom’s chicken stew, her chicken soup.  She never made anything that was not delicious and that back-cracking sound was not an impediment to my enjoyment.

As an adult, when I saw already-cut-up chickens at the grocery store, it made so much sense to take one further ancestral step away from chicken preparation. I made it well into adulthood never having cracked even one chicken’s back.

Later I stopped buying chicken altogether, for a yoga-teacher reason:  I just didn’t feel great about having a dead chicken in the house. Therefore, my daughter had never seen one, though she had eaten chicken soup regularly in restaurants and with friends.  When she was five, Lily asked me how to make chicken soup.  I told her:  first you put a chicken in a pot, cover it mostly up with water, add and onion, carrots, and celery, some spices, and simmer it.

“What do you mean, a chicken?” she asked.

“I mean, a chicken,” I replied.  
“A real chicken? Is it a dead chicken?” she asked.  I nodded. She was fairly shocked. I found it slightly amusing, but also a reality-check, when she asked, “Where do you get a dead chicken?”

She was surprised to learn that you get them at the grocery store, and asked to see them.  She was and still is a tad horrified.  Eventually she re-integrated it, because her mother told her it was ok, that people do kill animals and eat them.

Is it ok?—there are various points of view.  I was willing to say it’s ok. And she was willing to believe me. If I had told her it was wrong and horrifying, she’d have believed that.  That’s how kids get their beliefs. She would in turn validate my belief that it was wrong and horrifying, by believing me.  If I told her people who kill chickens are wrong, she’d believe that.  Yet my parents grew up with parents who killed chickens for meals.  My mother didn’t even consider it a belief; it just was. In this enlightened age I get to choose what beliefs I pass on, about bodies and food—about everything.  And my daughter gets to choose which ones to embrace. Beliefs can change and evolve. This can be disconcerting to parents.

After years of enjoying chicken soup, one day out of the blue, as a teenager, Lily decided she was no longer a meat-eater. It just didn’t feel right to her anymore. Though this made my role as cook a bit harder, I was happy to find protein alternatives to support her decision. It’s up to Lily what she wants to teach—and feed--her daughter.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

'tis the season (an oldie, re-posted)

Lily has been obsessed this week with “feel-good” movies. Coincidentally (surely!) I’ve been crabby, and looking for the route out.

“Mom, is this a feel-good movie?” she asked in the middle of Burlesque. That was the first time I heard her use the term. She was born a feel-good person, so of course this term would catch her attention. So far, her few personal dramas have had happy endings, but she seems to find it a bit suspicious that it’s actually a movie genre.

The afternoon after we saw Burlesque, because we’re homeschoolers and we can do whatever we want, she was watching Amelie, as a French assignment. Kind of. Afterward, I asked her how it was. “It was a feel-good movie,” she said.

“Seriously?” I thought she was teasing me. But I do recall it had a happy ending.

I have a reaction to the label ‘feel-good.’ It smacks of marketing. How gratifying that my daughter is suspicious, because she’s otherwise fairly gullible. I imagine her questions, the ones she’d ask if I weren’t in such a crabby mood: “Mom, does anyone NOT feel good after a feel-good movie?” I imagine myself making a crabby retort.

“If people don’t leave feeling good, is it still a feel-good movie?” This is the kind of question that makes me gaze at her speechless. I am going into a mini-trance just typing it. Wisely, she never asked either, which gave me space to wonder why I’m so unreceptive to feel-good movies. I seem to assume that these movies cannot possibly be works of art and therefore must be works of marketers, because they know, they totally know, because they do focus groups, that people will PAY to feel good. Sure, people pay for movies that aren’t feel-good movies…but I’m not suspicious of those movies. I only feel the wariness about feel-good movies. They seem to be written by grade-B writers. I’m so crabby.

Two of my facebook friends recommended The Blind Side; Lily has been avidly reading the comments to my status update query regarding feel-good movies—perhaps only because she receives notifications on her phone. As she reads my comments and critiques my facebook comment-writing style, which makes me crabby. “That was confusing,” she points out, and indeed the next person who commented was indeed confused. (Somehow, her friends’ comments are not confusing at all…even though they don’t use vowels.) Anyway--Lily and I once tried to watch The Blind Side and couldn’t. We tried--I actually thought she was enjoying it; I thought she’d object when I said I’d had enough, but she agreed.  “This movie is lame,” she had said. I was relieved. I excused my facebook friends’ questionable taste with the fact that they are from Indiana, and Lily was curious. “Really? Really, mom? People from Indiana have bad taste in movies?” She was asking in earnest. I was hoping she was not going to make this the thesis of her homeschooling term paper.

“I don’t know,” I said, “maybe just the ones from my hometown.” I’m from Indiana, so I can say whatever I want, right? Ever so crabby.

Meanwhile, I was writing a eulogy—bummer--and coming face to face with who I even am and how much of my ancient human-ness I am able to transform to Light in order to come ever more into harmony with my partner. It was a long two days. I could see why people take pills. I have every skill and tool and awareness to not declare war on the world, on my partner, on my kid, on myself, so I didn’t, but I was still edgy.

So I was driving north on Sheffield, pondering what would lift me back up, knowing I had a choice—what was it?! I was trying to remember what had lifted Katrina out of a similar feeling just last week…when she was having her own auto-immune-ish type of reaction to Love.

Our shadows, we have seen, sometimes react against Love Itself. We see how it works. We’ve got it’s numba. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t make us pause, sometimes.

And then I remembered what lifted her up, into a mini-epiphany: she had missed feeling good, she missed being close to me, and simply chose to change, reroute…immediately…yes! That’s all I needed to do; realign with love, just because I missed the feeling.

And just then, a white Honda pulled in front of me with the license plate: “LOVE WINS.”

Confirmation. So much better than a movie! So much quicker. Absolutely arresting. A stunning moment by the Universe that caught my eye, and was followed by a series of numbers in a more esoteric but still staggering communication to me that all is well. In truth, there was a part of me that wanted to stay crabby nevertheless.

Do I even deserve to feel happy and be loved right now? On my crabby drive up Sheffield? Even though I am totally flawed as a human being? Apparently yes. Even though not everything is totally totally sorted out yet? Apparently yes. Yes. Love wins. Love whatever’s in your way, love whatever is blocking the way of Love. Got it.

Turning toward the Light, I am convinced, is immediately rewarded, with good feelings and license plate communications and lucky numbers, and is worth accessing by almost any means necessary…even feel-good movies. Really, whatever it takes. In case I still didn’t get it, LOVE WINS proceeded to park right in front of me when I reached my destination. LOVE WINS.

--I must add, people from my hometown also recommended my two favorite choices: Slumdog Millionaire and Little Miss Sunshine. Actually people from my hometown have GREAT taste in movies, when it agrees with mine.

And hey, is Burlesque indeed a feel-good movie? And if so, aren’t all musicals, Corrie Lenn Borris? Because otherwise they’d be operas, wouldn’t they?

Saturday, December 21, 2013

My Brother as Mirror: a family drama

I sat next to my brother at my dad’s wedding dinner five years ago.  It was difficult to avoid; my mother wasn’t there—since it was my dad’s wedding—and there we were, the close relatives of my father, all two of us.  My daughter spent the evening writing funny notes to my cousin, sitting beside me but in a totally different world—she is so blessed, while I sat beside my brother listening to his monologue, which was one third victimhood, one third scarcity and lack, and one third humorous commentary on current events.  I tried not to wonder if he had showered recently, or if he was high, and just observed with my best witness consciousness—not the easiest point of view to attain at a family event, but I had just come off of a long and blissful week of tantra in Northern California.  I had seen dolphins and whales from edge of a cliff.  While having sex. The last thing I wanted to do was turn around and spend—well, money, first of all, and---time in the midst of my relatives.  The Universe was offering me a buzz kill and I was declining.  I’d smile through it.  I love the pictures from my dad’s wedding; I look radiant.  Darn glad my dad was marrying a woman 20 years younger who is an elder care giver.  I could not have written a better plot for myself.  So I had managed to buy tickets for my daughter and myself that let us land in time for the wedding and leave the following morning, which felt very corporate, and I kind of liked it. 

Somehow my father chose an excellent Romanian restaurant, and although there was practically nothing that I could eat, given my austere Ayurvedic dietary restrictions, it was certainly a huge step up from what I’d expected when I’d heard the words “Romanian restaurant.”  Plus I got to dance with my dad, which is always a treat, because he chants the beat in my ear, which, one, really demystifies the whole dancing thing for me and, two, makes me feel taken care of.  One two three, one two three.

So I sat with my younger brother and received knowing glances from our aunts and cousin, who see him more regularly than I do—which isn’t difficult since we don’t know each other’s phone numbers and my brother hasn’t showed up for a family event in several years.  But they know him.

“Dad stole three grand from me,” my brother mentioned, after his witty and articulate update on the state of the bumblebees and how it is affecting the economy. 

“He did?” I asked.  Maybe someone with…balls…or a few Landmark Forums would have called him on it immediately, but I wasn’t there to start a fight.  The last time I had called him on anything—years ago, certainly well before my now 12-year-old was born—he had thrown a beer at me, from across the room.  He had held onto the glass, but just whipped the beer itself across the kitchen, and as I stood, stunned, wondering if I was in a past life memory about being cowboys in a saloon, my dad had gotten a dish towel and started soaking it up.  A pragmatic move I guess, as opposed to holding onto any shred of hope that Nick would suddenly snap into some level of sanity, or even momentary clarity, let alone clean it up.

So I sat at my dad’s wedding dinner and looked at the sumptuous, beef-laden platters and listened to the drama of the three grand, eagerly awaiting the moment when I was alone with my dad, so I could mention it. 

“That’s ridiculous,” my father said, when we took a walk in the fresh air later in the evening.  I of course had known it was ridiculous but just wanted to have that moment of sharing, bonding, with my dad, more amusement on my part than his.  He said that if anything, my brother had taken money from him, mostly in the form of bills that my dad has paid of my brother’s without being reimbursed.

After I had returned to Chicago and was asked how the wedding was, I said, “My brother is a living tribute to my family’s deepest ancestral dysfunctions.”  

Where I am hyperaware of any shred of victimhood, or feeling of financial lack, and consequently change my attitude or my energy or my verbiage on the spot, my brother spouts it out, uncontrolled; our ancestral lack is running his life. 

Granted, a little medication would take the edge off for him, if he’d consent to a prescription, but I am not sure how even with medication a person could dig himself out of a hole he doesn’t know he’s in, and I knew during our conversation and actually ever since the thrown beer, that to point out to him that he is responsible for his own life results in conflict, or a mess.  We were surrounded by food.  I was wearing an absolutely heavenly dress.  I was unwilling to be a perpetrator of even subtle truth, under those circumstances, or any, actually, which is why I don’t know my brother’s phone number.

“Do you mind sitting on the other side of me,” he had requested, “so I can hear you; I can’t hear out of this ear because of my accident.  I’m just lucky I have any ear at all. Hey, if you sit on the other side of me, you won’t have to look at the carnage.”  That was enticing motivation to change seats.  The accident—that would be the accident in which he was DUI, the result of which in Arizona is an immediate loss of driving privileges.  He rides a bike everywhere or his girlfriend drives him—his girlfriend, whom he hates, so much he wouldn’t go visit her after her mastectomy, his girlfriend who is the exact same age as my dad’s bride, who I am thrilled to say is indeed a happy, nurturing, Romanian eldercare giver twenty years younger than my dad, which gives me no end of relief, since my brother is clearly ill-equipped to handle caring for my dad, if ever the time comes, even though they both live in Phoenix.  I suspect my dad will outlive my brother, though.

My father has been to Romania several times in the last 15 years, representing a bank that never did get off the ground, leaving him and my mom fairly devoid of savings—between the bank and my brother’s legal bills.  My parents would rather have no money at all than have their son in jail, where he deserves to be, where he might actually have the valuable experience of hitting bottom.  So—my inheritance.  That’s where it is!  Two DUI accidents and a bank that was so bound for success that even I invested a few thousand.  No one in my nuclear family has any money at all.  And it’s not our fault. That's the story.

On one of my dad’s trips to Romania he went to visit family.  Before his first trip, his business associate had informed him that he had been using the equivalent of hillbilly Romanian grammar all his life—my dad is quite the English stickler and would be horrified if I ever said the word “ain’t” which he apparently was saying in Romanian.  Who knew?  He just spoke the Romanian his parents had spoken.  But that wasn’t going to cut it in the banking industry.  Or even in the city.  So he brushed up.  And on one of his trips he went out to the country to visit relatives he’d never met.  He knew a couple of cousins in the city, a professor and a dentist.  But the other side of the family was a day trip.  So he arrived, probably nattily dressed, because my mom had trained him well, and was offered wine, which they served him in a tin cup.  He drank, politely. After he had eventually placed the empty tin cup back on the table—apparently he was the only one partaking---the head of the household picked up the cup, refilled it, and took a sip, which is when my father realized that this family owned only one cup.

I have been told that our ancestors were shepherds—that my father’s father was a shepherd.  It is an absolutely stunning realization to me, that my edge—it is just an edge and not a full-blown acted out fear, not a shadow that I’d don and act out of at a wedding dinner for example---that my edge of slight, teeny tiny fear of homelessness stems from these shepherds.  My life made so much more sense, once I’d learned of the shepherds.  No wonder I dislike and fear moving.  No wonder I was destined to choose a husband who would lose all of our money, plus. --plus enough more to keep us in debt forever.  And I had imagined we were vampires.

I would like to be able to break in now with a riveting drama.  Something that ties together the one wine cup, with our inheritance. This is all I have: my brother and I have three alcoholic grandparents, just short of 100% destiny toward self-destruction.  So we as siblings inherited a wine cup, but only one.  And he got it.  It could have been a silver spoon, but nooo.  If you do the genetics, there is a certain probability, a likelihood of who will inherit being a victim to alcohol: 50-50.  I win.

Maybe there is something else at work in the world of families, something else less quantifiable. 

I received an unquantifiable gift sitting next to my brother.  I am still stunned, when I realize what an incredible mirror he is, spouting off the worst of what our lineage has to offer.  Our family can’t do anything!  We can’t even hear!  Due to circumstances beyond our control!  And we couldn’t afford to do anything anyway, even if we had the freedom, because we’re broke; money’s hard to make, and there is great unfairness involved.  Thank you, Nick! 

My mom told me, a few years ago--and why she never thought to tell me sooner, I’ll never know; had it just occurred to her that second?--that three of her father’s three brothers had committed suicide.  Let me rephrase that.  All three of my grandfather’s brothers killed themselves.  What’s up with that?  I’m not going anywhere with that; I’m just wanting to take the burden off of my dad’s cup-sharing relatives.   Lest anyone blame my father for my brother’s carnage, I needed to mention that my mom’s side of the family has some undertow as well. 

I am sorry that my brother has turned into such a vivid cartoon of my ancestral dysfunction.  He was a brilliant and creative child, very sensitive, probably too sensitive.  Super cute.  It probably didn’t serve him well, or more likely my parents didn’t know what to do with a sensitive, cute boy.  Neither did they know what to do with a tomboyish girl.  Somehow I managed.  Somehow he didn’t. I have invested zero energy in him in so long, that I can honestly say I’m near neutral.  He feels more like a second cousin, sad but true.  I talk to my guy cousins more. Sometimes I feel a tiny bit of guilt—it barely registers.  I love whatever energy of him, whatever Love we share, the energy that We both Are.  I am sad that he seems to be a shell around that Love, impenetrable.  There has been a part of me over the years that has wondered if it is my responsibility to pull him up, but I have attempted to resuscitate a few dead men in my life, and I’ve never been successful, and it’s been, ultimately, draining.  I think the best I can do is just honor the Light that he is, and when I think of him, hold him in the Light.  Think of him as that Light.  And not as a bottomless pit of wasted money.