A powerful legacy

A colleague of mine that I quite adored died last fall from
ALS (Lou Gehrig disease). Often when someone dies from a terminal illness we
say they lost the battle against (cancer, ALS, etc). With Ilene Kouzel, all I
can say is that she won the battle of living fully to the very end and leaving as
consciously and intentionally as she lived. She touched me personally and
profoundly during her life. She coached me, she dove in and helped out at the
Coaching Toys booth at an ICF conference one year and in general offered me support,
love and huge permission to “be.”  She
was also a great ‘assumption buster.’

Through a series of recorded interviews near
the end of her life with her good friend Carol Ross, Ilene’s spirit and wisdom
live on. The conscious living, conscious leaving project can be accessed at www.consciousleaving.com  Ilene’s commitment to learning and healing
allows her to speak candidly about her failing body and her thoughts and feelings
about her approaching death. Her love and deep wisdom offer hope to all of us that
there is a different way to leave this world and a more intentional way to
live. The recordings are poignant, insightful and filled with love, hope and
the lightness of being that was Ilene. You will find yourself looking at your
own life differently.

Being a delightfully creative soul, Ilene loved to express
herself through art and poetry. Poetry became a powerful way for her to speak
about her experience. There are a number of her poems posted on the website and
my favorite “Amusement Park” can be downloaded here; www.consciousliving-leaving.com In the poem she talks about not being afraid
to die, just not ready to leave the amusement park yet. The lines that strike
me deeply in this poem are; “Dragged out tantrumming like an angry child, who
doesn’t know she is sated. Or leave exhausted, dreaming of fairies making love,
magic and mischief. The choice is mine”. Wow – How often do we resist or not
know we are sated and what choices could we make instead?

Not only are the audio recordings, transcripts and poetry a
powerful legacy but now a scholarship fund for diversity in leadership has been
set up for the CTI Leadership Program. I first met Ilene through the CTI
Leadership program. She was an assistant for my leadership cohort. It is an
amazing experience and the program is worth supporting. You can find out more
about it at www.consciousleaving.com 

And a special message to you Ilene– if you can hear me from
the other side

You are a dazzling pink dance bursting out from the center
of a full blooming fragrant wildflower – you pollinate inspiration and love and
wisdom and the power of being, even now. Thank you sweet woman.  Marcy