In last post I wrote about Pat Dolan who died last week, and offered to share some ideas about her view of death.
Pat, while living in the ecovillage, became enamored with Buddhism. She grew up Catholic. For many years she was involved with the Grail, an organization of Catholic women. She connected with some Buddhist teachers who came and presented at Grailville and began her practice. At Grailville they set up a group that meditated together. This went for years. When things weren’t working any longer at Grailville they moved to Earth Connection located by Mount St. Joseph College.
Pat, over the years, practiced and also taught Buddhism. She carried her practice in preparation of her eminent death. Two concepts, among many, that she found important in Buddhism were the notions of impermanence and detachment, especially as she approached her death. Who we presently are is not who we are. This is an impermanent state and we will move on from it to be reborn, possibly in a higher state as we move toward Nirvana. Along with this is the notion of detachment, that being attached to things, even ones own body, leads to discontent. Things can’t bring us happiness and contentment. Only by detaching ourselves from things do we find contentment.
Pat loved having people visit her over the last months of her life. She was vibrant, communicative and attentive – and without much pain. It was only in the last week of life that she experienced pain and slowly drifted off over that week. She demonstrated in her own death, a wonderful way to approach death.
This coming Saturday we will celebrate her life and passing on. She insisted on having a celebration, because she has moved on to another stage of life. I have the honor of reading the following poem by e.e. cummings at her celebration:
i thank You God for most this amazing
i thank You God for most this amazing day:
for the leaping greenly spirits of trees and a blue true dream of sky;
and for everything which is natural which is infinite which is yes
(i who have died am alive again today, and this is the sun’s birthday;
this is the birth day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay great happening illimitably earth)
how should tasting touching hearing seeing breathing any—lifted from the no of all nothing—human merely being doubt unimaginable You?
(now the ears of my ears awake and now the eyes of my eyes are opened)
From e. e. cummings, 100 Selected Poems
Yesterday we learned that Pat Dolan, a co-founder of Enright Ridge Urban Ecovillage, died. She was an important part of our lives for many years. The first meeting, when we founded Enright Ridge Urban Ecovillage in June, 2004, was held in her home, as were many meetings following.
Eileen and I first got to know Pat well in 1969. She was in graduate school working on her Master’s degree in Social Work and had a field placement at Catholic Social Service Bureau in Covington, KY. Eileen was the head of the family services department there, and I was a staff person. It was shortly after she came that Eileen and I began dating. One of Pat’s papers for school related to supervisor/supervisee dating. Pat later was hired to start the Social Work Department at Northern Kentucky University, a place where Eileen taught for several years.
Pat moved to Enright Ave., destined to become Enright Ridge Urban Ecovillage, in the 1980’s. Eileen and I started Imago, an ecological education organization in 1978 in our home on Enright. Pat became its first president. A number of people, through the years, moved to Enright through their association with Imago, as did Pat. In the 1980’s and 90’s we had a dinner group that ate together five or six evenings per week. One of the dinner group would host the meal at their house and cook the meal, once a week. We usually had eight people in the dinner group, so there was some pairing for meal preparation. We got to know each other quite well.
Pat hosted many gatherings in her home. We had a small food coop and buying club which was located in her basement for years.
Pat was a major part of our lives up until she moved from her home in Enright Ridge Urban Ecovillage. She determined that she did not want to continue taking care of her house and half acre lot and decided to move to an apartment. The last few years of her life she spent in a condo in a Senior facility.
Even after she moved we would get together. She was part of a monthly book club that we started. We would go out to dinner at times. But, it was never the same as when she lived just four doors away from us.
Next time I’ll write about her spiritual life and her death.
This is a reminder that this evening is the Solarize Cincinnati presentation at the Imago Earth Center. Solar really is NOW! Come join us if you can. Solar won’t only save money but will both reduce our carbon footprint and also reduce the amount of damage done by the extraction of coal and oil from the Earth and reduce fracking. The Earth is this amazing, sacred place. It is so much more than just a resource. It is also our species and all the species that grace our everyday lives.
Walking in the woods around Enright Ridge Urban Ecovillage yesterday, we came across this new resident of the ecovillage, one of our thousands of residents. We were sure that the mother was nearby standing in fear. We quickly took the picture and moved on. The doe had placed the fawn in a secluded place which happened to be right along side of the path. The fawn hardly moved as we stood there, which I am sure is a genetic feature. It was a wonderful experience.
I have completed a book on Enright Ridge Urban Ecovillage. We are now searching for a publisher. It is a kind of “how to” book, how to form an urban ecovillage in an existing neighborhood.