While I was busy getting ready to take a month-long trip to Italy this past May, I received what would be Berenice Andrews’ final—and 44th—article for Transformation. She had asked one of her students to type it out because she couldn’t sit at the computer due to ongoing health challenges. Berenice often told me that writing for the magazine and being a part of our community was very important to her. Yet the truth was that we were the ones who were so privileged to receive such a wealth of wisdom and knowledge through her words.
I called Berenice a few days before I left the country to see how she was feeling (not well) and I offered to drive to St. Pete from Sarasota, FL, for a visit. But Berenice insisted I wait until after the trip so she could see my photos of Italy, one of her favorite places in the world. That was the final conversation we shared.
Berenice transitioned peacefully in her own home on June 8, 2017, so I will not get the chance to share those pictures; however, I was holding her in my heart on that trip and I know she was with me in spirit.
We became good friends over the four years Berenice was a regular columnist for Transformation. Monthly email conversations turned into phone calls, and then visits to her home. On my last trip, I had the opportunity to take a shamanic journey under her guidance, and it was a beautiful experience that I will forever hold sacred.
Berenice’s enthusiasm for learning never ceased to amaze me. She was an octogenarian—as she liked to call herself—and a gifted shamanic healer, teacher and author. (She even wrote her own textbook, Rebirthing Into Androgyny: Your Quest For Wholeness, and Afterward.) Berenice also was an impressive scholar with the ability to cross cultural boundaries, researching and referencing pertinent examples for the many spiritual topics she addressed in our pages. As just one example: One of her favorite historical figures was the English Christian mystic, philosopher and theologian Julian of Norwich (c. 8 November 1342–c. 1416). When Berenice had the opportunity to dedicate an article to her work, she dug deep enough to find a perfect example that expressed Julian of Norwich’s inherent understanding of the interdependent nature of all things, and that also exemplified today’s merging paths of quantum physics and spirituality:
“I saw God contained in a tiny particle, a point so infinitesimal it could barely be seen and yet it contained the origin and essence of all things. […] The point I saw was all reality, and it contained no separation from God or the love that sustains the world.”—Julian of Norwich
In the last weeks of her life, Berenice had the opportunity to spend time with her Daughter Diana, who lives in Southern California, and her students, who helped to provide hospice care. In the end, Nana Hendricks, a long-time friend and student, had the opportunity hear what Berenice called her last and most important life lesson, which she wanted to share with us all. When Nana retold the story, I could almost hear Berenice’s soft but firm words touching my heart:
Listen carefully, my whole life I felt like I was supposed to do something—something big. Lying here on my deathbed, I had it wrong all along. I didn’t come here to do or accomplish something. I came here to BE something. It wasn’t until I couldn’t do anything at all that I realized the importance of BEING, my I AM Presence. Whenever we are in a state of doing, we focus on one task and put all of our energy into that one thing. However, the vibration of BEING ripples out through the realms. It makes a much larger impact than what we can do in “accomplishment mode.” The greatest thing we can do is to just BE.
May we all come to know that just being here on Earth is meaningful beyond measure, and may we all remember the light that Berenice brought to this world.