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“ You gotta be careful what you wish for!”
I have always been told! It’s true!
When you choose to be an advocate of change and the power of choice, when you believe your mission in life is building resilience and supporting others in doing so, it’s probably not so surprising, to ever so suddenly lose your vision while driving 50 miles an hour, wondering what this bag of sand is blocking your vision. Only to worsen the situation by rubbing the eye, thinking it’s just a dirty contact. And next thing you know you are 75% blind! What would your first reaction be?
Here I am, offered a prime opportunity by the universe to practice what I preach. Could I stay calm , reach out for resources, weigh my options, accept the possible outcomes and choose my response? I should say I did, until the check up after the first operation when I was told that,“It didn’t work!”.
“ Make arrangements for your child, surgery in a few hours, possible over-night hospitalization, complete anesthesia. Do you have a“living will” by the way?!”. I confess, tears were irresistible for two hours while I was making arrangements for a 2 two week bed rest and a one year follow up recovery time.
As Diane Hamilton puts it, one day, sooner or later we have to wake up from our spiritual honeymoon and live a real human life, applying what we learned to real situations. Not that I haven't had wake up calls before but I think the final chapter of my spiritual honeymoon ended with fear of the uncertainty and was flooded with pain killers that made the sensation of the 22 stitches in my beloved eye a little less unwelcome for a week. Pain sure beat the alternative but suffering was an option I didn’t choose. During the first two weeks of bed rest, teachers and mentors kept me company through websites and podcasts. They generously turned my recovery period into a retreat( Thank You,Terry Patton). Practicing just to "be" and not "do", accepting my limitations and letting go of the high expectations I always set for myself was a road carpeted with change and choice, traveled by surfing on breath and connecting to my body.
Adyashanti has a point when he says:“Change is chaotic.” In the chaos of my paralyzed life though, my son never missed a class or after school activity, meals were prepared for us, and the house was kept in order because as humans we all have the capacity for compassion and care and I am blessed to be surrounded by many who held that banner high. How could I have been so blind to so much unconditional love cradling my life, allowing feelings of separation haunt me by the illusion of physical distance, living thousands of miles away from home?
When during the first check up the doctor said,“It will all be a bad memory soon.”, I thought, sure it will be a memory, like everything else in life but how has it changed me? What have I learned? What was this experience here to teach me?
I hope I remember that:
_ Pain is mandatory. Suffering is optional. And in every breath the choice is mine.
_Love and compassion do not speak any particular language, they don't have ethnicity and sure don't know religion. They flow amongst us. They are discovered in the most unexpected curves of the road, like that $20 bill one finds in that old jacket pocket, surprisingly, graciously and overwhelmingly, always at the right time and place. One just needs to plant the seeds.
_This too shall pass. Acceptance and letting go in every breath makes the every minute experience of life as fresh as morning dew. This unfolding work of art called a human being reflects all that is" let go" and all that is being "hung on" to. The choice is present.
_Gratitude is not a word just to be exchanged during a hand shake. It’s not a prayer to be said just before meals. It’s not a slogan to make postcards and fine decor with to hang over the fireplace. Gratitude does’t get angry. Gratitude doesn't expect. Gratitude doesn't forget. Gratitude is an expression of a graceful heart, lived and felt in every cell, with every breath. Grateful is a way of being one can choose.
_My Body, My Temple!
Need I say more?!