Christina (1941-2014) died unexpectedly in the morning of June 15 of pneumonia. By that evening, there was already a growing worldwide swell of gratitude for her life and grief at her death. Christina belonged to the rare breed of people who walk their talk. Spirituality was not something that she reserved for her lectures, workshops, and books; it constantly penetrated her entire life including the most mundane everyday activities. She did not miss an opportunity to start conversations with little children in parks, people walking dogs in the street, or employees checking-out merchandise in grocery and department stores. She usually found something beautiful about them to make a compliment about.
But her special attention belonged to homeless people. Being aware—on the basis of her own experience—of the menaces of alcoholism and addiction. She never gave these people money but bought them a sandwich, fruits and fruit juice or took them for a meal in a restaurant. She was also the major inspiration for our family trips on Thanksgiving Days and Christmas holidays to Glide Memorial Church to prepare and serve meals for the homeless.
Another important channel for Christina’s creativity was art and appreciation of beauty. Early in her career, she was a very gifted, resourceful, and original art teacher, who cultivated and nourished in her pupils their natural talents. Later, she became an accomplished painter, who used art for pleasure and also as an important tool in her healing process and self-exploration.
Christina Grof was born December 30, 1941,
Her extraordinary creativity and sense of beauty manifested in many everyday situations, such as in the exquisite setting of tables for birthdays, dinners for friends, Thanksgiving Days, Christmas, and Easter.
Christmas was Christina’s favorite time of the year. She organized pre-Christmas workshops, in which our entire family participated in creating hand-made decorations using wooden balls, beads, dowels, assorted pieces of fabric and leather, thorns, crab claws, pine cones, feathers, paints, and other materials. Over the years, our collection of handmade decorations has reached a size that exceeds the capacity of our trees to hold. All Christmas gifts came with intricate wrappings and cards with puzzles alluding to what was inside the boxes. Also, Christina’s specialty for all different occasions was creating gorgeous flower arrangements.
Christina with her daughter
One of the powerful forces in Christina’s life was her unconditional love for her daughter Sarah, son Than, and the five wonderful granddaughters. It was very interesting to witness the ingenious ways in which she was able to lead her children and grandchildren lovingly to desirable behavior without using disciplinarian methods. The best examples were the promises of Children’s Day that she introduced to Esalen and of “messy meal,” during which the children were allowed to be as wild as they wanted if they behaved at the table all the other times. Christina’s captivating stories and imaginative plays worked wonders with the children.
Christina’s preparation for Christmas did not start with Thanksgiving Day, but extended through the entire year. The intention to find the best gifts for members of the immediate and extended family always permeated all her shopping. I feel deep appreciation for the role Christina played in my life as a Muse who directed my attention to various areas in which I would not have otherwise been interested. On her 50th birthday, her son Than, daughter Sarah, and I created for her a rite of passage that took her blindfolded to a boat on the San Francisco Bay for a dinner with our transpersonal friends. After we took the blindfold off her eyes and our friends revealed their faces hiding behind Victorian masks, it was time for birthday wishes. In his brief speech, Roger Walsh said something that I believe best characterized Christina’s role in this lifetime: “I do not know any other person who has been able to transform major problems in his or her life into projects that serve humanity.”
Christina and Stan at Esalen
This was further complicated by the fact that, in later years, low energy due to her chronic autoimmune disease did not allow her full participation in many of the events. Witnessing Christina enduring for a significant part of her life immense back pain patiently and without complaints and bitterness. was for me, an invaluable example in my life. Because of her modesty and humility and in spite of major appreciation that she received from our workshop participants, trainees, readers of her books, and professional colleagues (including two honorary PhD. s), I do not think that she realized the extent to which she positively influenced and even transformed thousands of human lives. I will certainly remain grateful for the blessings she brought into my life. In spite of all the hardships and challenges that we encountered on the way; it was an amazing and wondrous journey.
Dear Christina, You will always remain in my mind and heart and in many people´s hearts you have touched with your being! You must know by now that a successful Eggshell Landing on the Yonder Shore does not require a pier.