Gay Luce, friend and mentor, on her way to the other side

I received word that my dear friend Gay Luce, whose health has been failing rapidly the last couple of years, is in transition, expected to die at any time. She’s been so important in my life, I can’t quite grasp the idea of a world without her in it.

As has been true of a number of big changes that turned out great, meeting Gay was a fluke. I’d been taking some classes with spiritual teachers Arthur and Ann Cataldo. They met and liked Gay so much they helped sponsor a workshop in Chicago. Since they lived in FL and I lived in suburban Evanston at the time, they asked me to help field phone calls about the workshop in exchange for a free ticket.

I was happy to help but the workshop was a long haul from where I lived and I wasn’t sure I’d go. Literally up until getting up that morning and driving, I was never sure I’d attend. I felt uncomfortable in the crowd of people I didn’t know and wondered if I could slip out at a break when Gay walked in the room and the light around her drew me in. She hadn’t talked much about Nine Gates Mystery School before I knew I had to sign up.

The tuition for Nine Gates, which is a residential program that takes place over 2 9-day sessions, is high and it took a lot of questioning and negotiating to finally wind up with a time-payment plan and to head off in the winter of 1990 to Westerbeke Ranch in Sonoma for the first session. See here for more info on the workshop.

Not only did the workshop completely blow me away–life changing, really–but I met fantastic people, many of whom lived out there. My life was in transition anyway and after the 1st session I started wondering about moving out there so I could immerse myself more deeply. With that in mind I drove out to Joshua Tree for session 2 and after went up to the Bay Area to look around. By the end of the trip I’d decided to move.

It took quite a while to sell my house, but in spring of 1991 I headed to San Francisco. A horrible roommate left me soon looking for new digs and it happened that Gay had just evicted the tenant in the apartment attached to her house. So, suddenly I was living at the home of my revered teacher. Initially I felt some trepidation, but it didn’t take long for Gay, her husband, David, and I to become a family. We wandered in and out of each others’ homes and our pets felt equally free to hang out anywhere.

They were already talking about selling the 2-acre place in Corte Madera; that didn’t happen until 27 years later, but every time they brought up the possibility, they also told me they were looking for something that would have space for me too and it’s hard to tell you how deeply that moved me. Eventually, due to the high cost of living and having a lot of senior relatives in Kentucky, I was the one who wound up moving away…

The property had been and continued to be the scene of many rituals and spiritual gatherings and it’s hard to describe the magical energy of this land in the hills near Mount Tamalpais. Amazing teachers came through all the time. Constant heady discussions of deep metaphysical topics and learning insights became my norm.

Perhaps the most life-impacting aspect of time with Gay was, for me, experiencing absolute love and acceptance for the first time ever. There was no potential career path or odd plan I could come up with that Gay didn’t meet with absolute enthusiasm and expressing her certainty that I would be good at it. Being more accustomed to being discouraged from following the paths that most interested me, it took a while to understand what a gift it was to be so totally supported.

For many years after I moved to Kentucky we talked often and I went out to house and cat sit while they went to sessions of Nine Gates many times but in recent years between more on my plate with “Mom care” and Gay’s increasing problems with aphasia along with their move away from the home I’d shared meant contact decreased.

This is not the first time I’ve felt terrible at the end that my contacts with someone had not been as frequent as I felt they should have been, but I’ve also realized life just works that way sometimes. In the meantime, I’m gratefully running thousands of images of our years of laughter, shared meals, amazing conversations and adventures through my mind. As far as a positive and major transformational influence on my life, I think Gay had more impact than any other. I also know we closed every conversation with “I love you” so that’s the last thing I said to her…

May her journey into the light be joyful and easy.

9 thoughts on “Gay Luce, friend and mentor, on her way to the other side

  1. Those people that help us lighten our path are such angels. We can look back on those times and feel such purpose in the love they show and share, and make our lives worth every step we have taken. My heart to you Leigh, and to her journey beyond. Of that I know is a very beautiful and profound place to arrive ❤️🙏

  2. Thinking of you Leigh at this sad time. Thanks for sharing your journey with Gay. You called meeting her a fluke but I wonder if there was more at work! What a bright light she is and it is a blessing to have a bond like yours.

    Blessings, Linda

  3. Pingback: Playing all our notes | Not Just Sassy on the Inside

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