When I was young, (8? 10?), I was sitting at the kitchen table when my mom mentioned that a friend of hers had died. I could hear the emotion in her voice, and I began to cry. I had never met this friend, but somehow I was affected.
I’ve always been sensitive, full of emotions, empathetic to an almost unhealthy degree. This week, I am affected in the same way. One of Andy’s friends from his early Omega days passed away unexpectedly. Alysun was forty-two years old. She was a music therapist, sound healer, and soulful singer.
Living in community for an extended period of time (thirteen years at Omega for Andy and six for me) has so many benefits: we literally know hundreds of people all over the country and the world. But the majority of those people are acquaintances, or friends-of-friends. I can barely even say that I knew Alysun: I only met her once. But she has been on my mind constantly since the first Facebook post from her partner Brian, saying she had suffered an aneurysm and they were heading to the hospital. What followed is something that continues to amaze and touch me: hundreds of people have been constantly posting photos and memories and tributes to Alysun. She was pure light and love and she spread that to everyone she encountered. I wish that I could have met her before last summer.
Alysun’s death has taught me more about her life and how inspiring she was. In what ways can I be a more positive person? In what ways can I speak and act from a place of love? How many different ways are there to touch other people’s lives?
Below, Alysun sings a song she wrote inspired by an oft-quoted line of Gandhi’s: Be the change you wish to see in the world.