A beautiful light has gone out with the recent death of my old friend, Kerry Riley.
Kerry is the first of my close contemporaries who has died, so his death, even though we knew it was coming was a blow, a gut punch. We knew it was coming and hoped it wouldn’t. But eventually it did, and, from what his wife, Diane, has told me, it was time.
Battling aggressive prostate cancer became Kerry’s life for more than a decade. In the case of cancer, it’s so often the case that it’s not just the patient’s battle but his family’s as well.
When I reflected on why Kerry’s passing affected me so much I realised it felt like we’d been kids together. Not like six-year olds, but more like 20 and 30 year-olds with stars in our eyes about what we could bring to the world. We wanted to make a difference. For me, it was the health benefits of yoga. For Kerry, it was Japanese therapies including macrobiotics, shiatsu and oki yoga. We were idealistic educators and ever so committed.
I had the utmost respect and admiration for Kerry. He was a pioneer. When he was still a classroom teacher, he introduced the tough Port Kembla kids to meditation and amazingly got them to do it. After gaining healing skills at the Oki Dojo in Japan and the East West Centre, Kerry went on to study the mind and presented large seminars on mind powers training. Then came Tantra teaching and the beautiful collaboration between Diane and Kerry—the Australian School of Tantra and goddess training—which live on.
The crowning glory of a life, I believe, is one’s legacy. With Kerry, there are the obvious achievements of his– some of which I’ve mentioned. He was a magnetic personality and had such a simple and heartfelt way of teaching what he believed in.
Kerry was a lifelong and intrepid vegetable gardener. I would say that his greatest legacy is the love that he’s planted in all our hearts, and most especially those of Diane, Soleil, Lisa, Sam and the grandkids.
Here’s an song that I learned that reminds me of Kerry:
When you were born you cried, and the world rejoiced.
Live your life so that when you die, the world cries and you will rejoice.