Cycles of Life and Death: The Awesome Graduation of Lawn Boy
It's Graduation Season, and I have been thinking a lot about Lawn Boy.
My dear friend and neighbor held the philosophy that we do not 'die.'
In the Fall of 2020, he taught me how to breathe-
during a global pandemic and after he was diagnosed with bone cancer.
For 40 days, we met every morning at 6 am in the lodge (tipi)
and practiced Kriya Yoga.
Grady's death was the most beautiful and conscious I have ever witnessed.
I was graced with the opportunity to write and present his commencement speech at his celebration of life, his Graduation on December 21st, 2021.
His legacy will live on in all the work and inspiration I bring into our world.
I hope his words inspire you too.
Hello Everyone. My name is Monica, and I am honored to be here today with you all and present Grady Cook's Commencement Speech.
Grady and I were in grad school together.
Grady graduated on November 16th from the world's most distinguished school,
the University of Life.
Grady's 4th quarter thesis will be praised for generations as he graduated with honors.
I once asked Grady,
what pearl of wisdom do you have for us and future generations?
He thought for a moment, smiled Big, and responded,
Be Happy and Breathe Deep!
May Grady's Legacy of Life remind us to
Be Happy and Breathe Deep.
Grady so graciously allowed me to interview him on a few occasions.
When I asked Grady to look back on his life and share if any particular events stood out out, he replied,
The One positive aspect that stands out for me has been the Grace of Place that I have had in my life. The consistent change in space, and when I look at what bubbles in my memory, it's place- all the places I have been.
I interviewed Grady in April of 2020, and he said,
I have two years to clean up my room, and then I can go to the Saturday matinee.
Well, Grady most certainly cleaned his room and can indeed enjoy the Saturday matinee.
One of the most remarkable things I learned from Grady was his story about Lawn boy.
Grady shared how initially in his life, his creativity was based on the fact he was here to work, not play.
He realized the 1st thing he could do was blow snow or cut lawns.
By the time Grady was eight years old, he had $3,500 in the bank, money he had earned mowing lawns. At eight years old, Grady even had a business card,
'Grady Cook Enterprises- We're here for you
as he went house to house and asked, do you have someone to mow your lawn?
Can you imagine 8-year-old Grady coming to your doorstep with his business card?
Grady was an extraordinary human, in addition to being a lawn boy.
I am now going to share parts of our interview with you in Grady's words.
We were talking about change, transformation, and transitions in life.
I used to think life boiled down to your young, your middle-aged, and then you're old. Then I started thinking about winter, spring, summer, and fall-winter is when things consolidate- of what has gone before.
I now look at life, not in thirds, but quarters, just like being in college; I just made it to junior college, then I realized I aged- you are over 75, so you are in the fourth quarter.
I am in my 4th quarter, and that is very different than the third quarter- in the 3rd quarter, we were learning how to build the house, make the water heater work, wire the house, how do we keep the cars running-
I have never figured that one out:
of the 36 vehicles I have tried to heal, only three made the cut.
Now, in the 4th quarter, you will have to ride the bus to get home from the movie. There is a part of the movie where you are sitting there waiting, and then you realize the end is the coming-the end is going to come.
You can get away with anything in the beginning, and the 4th quarter for me, is how do you go out the last door before the lid of your coffin slams down-there is an opening and a closing.
How did you go there before that?
Most people think of death that way, as a kind of closure, a kind of romantic, cultural experience for the family, and a time for emotional identification and consensus on grieving; I don't know; I don't think I have ever witnessed death-
where maybe the death that really matters belongs to somebody you really don't know- part of it is let's crack the unknown.
Ok, How do you do that?
Go to the Source- Go In - Ok?
As when you Go In- you have a much better awareness of the body, of the respiration process, and the degree of anxiety, tension, and resolution- a lot of shit you got to go through before you can turn it
This is a time to look and see if you have learned something.
The meditative experience for me has been very informative, and it has taught me two things:
0h, wait no, it has taught me three things
That it is All One
So if you Go to the source, you groc the fact that
This is All Divine Creation.
And we can dilute ourselves as much as we want in terms of our own sense of self-determination.
Still, we have no control over any of this- you can't be in charge because that job is already taken- the closer you get to it, you realize that you are just a little piece of the divine and the size of your piece depends on your perspective, if you think you can change society, you want to be president of the united states, you think you can make things alright, that's possible too.
And the most unimaginable people become president-
You can be One with that bush; you can be One with that tree, with that ground.
This is all the same- We are one
What's the bottom line?
It's all energy.
It has different forms, different expressions, different concepts, has different rationalizations, but the punchline,
this is all energy.
One of the things I learned from Sri Sri:
there is no truth when you deal with Spirit- because truth is a concept, and Spirit is not.
Spirit is an experience.
Now for me, the fourth quarter is totally involved with spirituality but not going to church. It's a different kind of spirituality;
It's an experience rather than a substantiated and rationalized concept. So All spirituality is experiential; it has nothing to do with the mind.
It's all energy; that's the first realization; then, as I get more and more involved in the spiritual practice of mediation, I realize that you are going to the source before going to the source- so when you die, you go to the source, —
part of that process is to understand it has a quality about it that you can experience while you are still alive, analytically, and you can make a concept if you want to; what stands out to me about the source - is there are two elements,
one is space, no question about that, and Light- which are basically how you see the moon and the sun and how you experience the moon and the sun, and they are real polar.
You get to realization when you realize you have been in a separate reality and you have created a separate reality, and now you are someplace else-
I came out with a big question, and you can write down this question:
'how long was I gone?"
You can go to space in your backyard, but you have to practice a lot.
We are living, and we are going to live eternally, so you mine as well enjoy this piece of it because you're probably buzzing around sucking off that plant next time;
we probably have been here before;
we probably have been here before with the same people in different contexts
Place has been more important to me than anything else.
And I have been very, very privileged.
I too have been so very privileged to have been gifted
with the opportunity to
call Grady my friend, neighbor, colleague, and teacher.
Let Us All Be Happy and Breathe Deep