When I moved to Virginia Michael was still working at The Monroe Institute. In my no-green-card-stranded-at-the-end-of-the-road status, lagging behind with setting up good techno communication systems, I sometimes found myself being fairly lonely. One especially slow-moving day, a car pulled up in front of the cabin. A man stepped out of the car and as I walked down the stairs to check out who this was, he casually handed me a copy of a magazine with a big smile. This, it turned out, was Jim Ward, publisher of Echo.
Forty-five minutes later or so, we had been sitting chatting on the wooden bench at the bottom of the stairs, and I found myself having been both entertained and comforted. Hearing about my background in the magic and spiritual community in Sweden he quickly asked me to write an article for Echo. When I finally got around to feeling secure enough to write in a second language, he not only printed it, but put a photo of me on the cover as well. To this day I do not know why. But Jim Ward always did what he wanted with Echo and didn’t care for explaining himself very much.
There was something about Jim Ward, his way of moving in the world (as there was no such thing as time, but only relationships), his British gentleman style, his chuckles, his way of stating little sentences such as “Good for you!” even if what you had said was the most mundane thing you can imagine, his dry humor and his way of never ever backtalking anyone. To me he was what some people would refer to as a good soul. Caring, it seemed to me, about the important things in life, and not sweating the rest.
Now Jim Ward has passed, and the alternative community of Virginia, as well as the world in general, is a little less for it. But, on the other hand, after having lived such a rich life, giving so much to so many, grieving is not what I feel like doing. Rather I feel like celebrating him, because he was also a very cool dude, that probably decided it was time for adventures in the Summerlands or wherever he decided to begin his new grand journey.
Michael and I had the privilege to spend time with Jim over the years, and that was always a pleasure. How he single-handedly managed to put Echo together, as well as distribute it all over Central Virginia is another of the mysteries that Jim brings with him to the other side. There are two of us, and we make it work on a whim and a prayer.
How do you live right? I certainly don’t know. But I do believe that Jim Ward had some pretty good clues. Here are some things I learned from him, not so much through what he said, but through how he was and interacted. If something seems right, just do it. Don’t care so much about what other people think. Take a chance on something and see where it leads. If you listen more than you talk, you will know many interesting things. Be good. Be happy. Like people. Do what you please.
We will miss Jim Ward. Don’t miss the memorial at Unity of Charlottesville. See details in Michael’s editorial and in this issue. I will leave you with a poem by Mary Elizabeth Frye dedicated to Jim, and to all the readers of The Echo World in this cold December month:
Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep
Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glint on snow.
Editorial by Sofia Karin Axelsson, first published in the December issue of The Echo World.