Yesterday I lost my fourteen year old dog Pearl.  I don’t say this to elicit sympathy but just to say that I am sad today and very tired. She has always been a high maintenance dog, with special needs requiring special attention.  She was also my girl, my pal, my companion and I miss her.
So today, I have been thinking about loss and new beginnings.  My daughter and I welcomed two new puppies into our lives about six weeks ago.  And then I discovered two different nests on my back porch. One is in my grill and has six wren eggs.  The other, a cardinal nest, is in my gardenia tree and has three eggs.  And then Pearl departed this dimension yesterday, and I have observed, with awe, the juxtaposition of Birth and Death playing out here in my own little corner of the world. 
The truth is that we are surrounded by both all the time, and frequently we   pay little conscious attention to these cycles as they occur.  We get caught up in the story of our lives, and they take a great deal of our undivided attention.  Meanwhile, we are also watching our country and our world in what appears to be some kind of death cycle.  It is difficult to watch and just as difficult to look away.  We know something new is coming and something outworn is dying.  It is often easier just to focus on our own personal stories. 
What we can’t forget is that rebirth and new life are always with us.  The dawning of the New World is already here.   Our sacred purpose is to act as midwives not only to the New World’s birth and infancy, but to the demise and passing of the Old World.  Birth and Death are integral parts of this transformation we are all undergoing; indeed they are simply different faces of the whole.  We must serve as witnesses to both, holding our hearts and minds open.  In a sense, we stand in a Gateway between Birth and Death, our purpose to reconcile the polarity between the two, until they and we become One, united in wholeness. 
“We are all butterflies. Earth is our chrysalis.”
― LeeAnn Taylor

***This guidance column was written by Jan Finley for It may be shared freely, but only when the author’s name and website are included.