Another cycle of meetings, budget mods, and strategic planning. Not all of my work is that exciting! LOL
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-=[ Health ]=-
“And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.”
— Kahlil Gibran (1883 – 1931)
I’m truly blessed…
My doctor, an attractive young woman, calls me “her miracle.” Of course, this doesn’t help me in terms of my trying to date her, but she loves me in her own special way. Indeed, I am a miracle: most people who have lived as I have — who have been to the hells I have visited — are not here to talk about it.
Most are dead, or dying…
My doctor finds it hard to believe that I fought the drug wars on the frontline of suffering. The fact is this: if you would look at suffering as a war, then I was on the frontlines!
Though she’s been my primary doctor for some years now, my doctor finds it hard to believe that I abused myself in the way that I say I did. I mean, I have to let my doctor know about my past lifestyle because she needs to know what to look for. Despite my past transgressions, however, all she finds is a man who possesses the cardiovascular of a person 10 years younger, she sees a man free of usual suspects of diseases that plague people like me: HIV, hepatitis, and various STDs.
I am blessed, but for a reason… or at least I like to think so.
However, my blessing comes with a responsibility and I see myself as a messenger. The responsibility is to embody a message of hope — to live my life as a power of example for those would despair otherwise. For a while, I used to feel guilty about my “health” — call it “survivor’s guilt.” I didn’t understand it at first, until I realized it didn’t matter why. What really matters is that I’m here and what do I do about it. Therefore, there’s a mission in my life. I guess if I had to put it simply, I would say my mission is to make this world a better place than I found it.
I have also come to accept my health as my birthright as a human being. I understand that health is not merely the absence of disease. Furthermore, there’s no need to worry about my health, eventually it will go away.
Health is also a matter of perception and attitude. Suppose you stub your toe. What kinds of energy have you been conditioned to send to that throbbing discomfort? Most of us are taught to send fear and anger, even hatred, to our pain. My question to you then is this: which is the unhealed — the throbbing toe or the hateful response to the unpleasant sensation?
It’s obvious that both factors are involved in our suffering. So true healing, healing that addresses the whole problem rather than the parts of it, involves meeting suffering with love and kindness, awareness, mercy, and balance, instead of trying to drive it away with fear, distrust, anger, and loathing.
I have seen people struggle tremendously at trying to find healing or wholeness. The reality is that grasping at healing, like grasping at enlightenment, results in more suffering, for all grasping results in distress. On the other hand, to allow ourselves to lighten, to allow ourselves to heal, to trust the process and enter into it without models or preconceptions of how we’re supposed to be or who we’re supposed to be, seems to me the very road that healing travels. When we remember that we are the path and the we must walk it ourselves — lightly, mercifully, and consciously — then we can begin to claim our birthright as human beings, the healing that goes beyond healing, and we truly discover ourselves.
It’s cold outside today, and the wind calls harshly, beckoning to me. It’s the Earth’s way of reminding me that she delights in me and feeling me, playing her hands through my hair, reminding me that I’m truly alive.
EXERCISE: A MEDITATION ON LOVING-KINDNESS
(Adapted from “A Path With Heart,” by Jack Kornfield)
The quality of loving-kindness is the ground out of which an integrated whole life can grow. With a loving heart as the background, all that we attempt, all that we encounter, will open and flow more easily. While loving-kindness can arise naturally in us in many circumstances, it can also be cultivated.
The following meditation is a 2,500 year-old practice that uses repeated phrases, images, and feelings to evoke loving-kindness and friendliness toward oneself and others. You can experiment with this practice to see if it is useful for you. It is best to begin by repeating it over and over for fifteen or twenty minutes once or twice daily in a quiet place for several months.
At first this meditation may feel mechanical or awkward or even bring up its opposite, feelings of irritation and anger. If this happens, it is especially important to be patient and kind toward yourself, allowing whatever arises to be received in a spirit of friendliness and kind affection.
In its own time, even in the face of inner difficulties, loving-kindness will develop. Sit in a comfortable fashion. Let your body relax and be at rest. As best you can, let your mind be quiet, letting go of plans and preoccupations. Then begin to recite inwardly the following phrases directed to yourself. You begin with yourself because without loving yourself it is almost impossible to love others.
May I be filled with loving-kindness.
May I be well.
May I be peaceful and at ease.
May I be happy.
As you say the phrases, you may also wish to use the following imagery: picture yourself as a young and beloved child, or sense yourself as you are now, held in a heart of loving- kindness. Let the feelings arise with the words. Adjust the words and images so that you find the exact phrases that best open your heart of kindness. Repeat the phrases again and again, letting the feelings permeate your body and mind.
Practice this meditation repeatedly for a number of weeks until the sense of loving-kindness for yourself grows. When you feel ready, in the same meditation period you can gradually expand the focus of your loving-kindness to include others. However, it is important that you work on yourself first, you can’t love others until you love yourself.
After yourself, choose someone in your life who has truly cared for you. Picture them and carefully recite the same phrases, May he/ she be filled with loving-kindness, and so forth. When loving-kindness for your benefactor has developed, begin to include other people you love in the meditation, picturing them and reciting the same phrases, evoking a sense of loving‑kindness for them.
After this, you can gradually begin to include others: friends, community members, neighbors, people everywhere, animals, the whole earth, and all beings. Then you can even experiment with including the most difficult people in your life, wishing that they, too, be filled with loving-kindness and peace.
With some practice a steady sense of loving-kindness can develop and in the course of fifteen or twenty minutes you will be able to include many beings in your meditation, moving from yourself, to a benefactor and loved ones, to all beings everywhere.
Then you can learn to practice it anywhere. You can use this meditation in traffic jams, in buses and airplanes, in doctors’ waiting rooms, and in a thousand other circumstances. As you silently practice this loving-kindness meditation among people, you will immediately feel a wonderful connection with them — the power of loving-kindness. It will calm your life and keep you connected to your heart
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