Graduation is coming up. It used to be very painful thinking about this. Now I get that Jason already graduated.

Jason didn’t need to go to college to do what he loved to do; he already did it. The art show at Zumi’s served as a ritual to celebrate this aspect of his life. The ongoing discoveries of his music and poetry brings up emotion not only because he feels so alive in the moment and it reminds me of his absence, but also because it continues to astound me how much he produced in his short lifetime and the fraction of it that he shared. The feedback from artists and musicians that confirm his talents brings up emotion not only because I will miss seeing him continue his career, but also because this is what he wanted in life; to be acknowledged as a gifted artist. He received this acknowledgment when he was alive by many. He sometimes basked in the glow of it and he didn’t always take it in and believe it, but he definitely enjoyed sharing his work with those who appreciated it. Being one of his biggest fans wasn’t enough for him; of course, his mother would love what he did (and I offered professional critique he appreciated)!

The key point is – Jason didn’t need acknowledgment to do his art and music. He was self-driven and created so much that he didn’t need to show it all. He knew how to be in the moment and not look back or worry about the future.

I can still feel that passionate energy he exuded when he completed a work of art of music, when he lived behind his camera lens, capturing the beauty of so much that he left behind for us to enjoy. I miss so much being with his physical presence, yet I am able to feel that presence through the palpable connection with that passionate energy, with his peaceful energy, with that Buddha nature he exuded and continues to exude. I can feel it anytime, getting immersed in his art and music, like being in a StarTrek holodeck.

Seeing him get his diploma isn’t important to him or to me; he received that diploma in a different way. He wasn’t generally interested in the school traditions or rituals. He was interested in following his passion and being in an environment where others followed theirs. His aliveness in his creativity is his diploma.

Jason was a great inspiration to many. His classmates shared this in a high school tribute to him this past week. An anonymous donor set up a college scholarship in his name. Many beautiful letters and internet sharings have echoed this inspiration.

If success can be measured by the inspiration and love felt by others one touches, then Jason was highly successful, and lived a “complete” life. He moved on to his next phase of work. Jason graduated with honors, not the traditional academic-achievement kind. The kind that mattered to him and to all that know him.

It causes me to reflect on how we never feel we do “enough”…..
What’s “enough” in a lifetime?
What do any of us really need to complete before we die?
What would life be like if we celebrated graduation every day?

I vote for celebrating graduation on an ongoing basis. I’m experiencing my transition to a new phase in my life in a mix of emotions – mostly exciting, a bit scary, and often overwhelming. Seems to fit with what most seniors might be feeling, getting ready to leave the nest to start a new life. Jason wishes each of his classmates a great future, and I know he is also wishing that for me.

Pausing to celebrate this as a graduation feels pretty awesome.