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Thursday, March 18, 2010

What if - five years on.

I wrote this five years ago in a world before cancer, before hospitals and operations and scans became a part of my life. Perhaps the difference I can now make is in how I live my life through this experience, in the help I can be to others making the same journey through pain and fear.

What if I took this nightmare experience and turned what I have learned into a resource for those who have entered the same nightmare?

What if instead of crying, I laughed and took this moment as a wonderful gift to be lived fully and what if those around me took comfort from this?

What if I used my pain to bring comfort and healing to others?

Now there's a thought to sleep on.

From here is what I wrote 5 years ago. I still think it worth the writing and is just as valid today.

What if ......……

This is a question which has been playing over and over in my mind for quite some time. I try to make sense of a world where there is so much pain and so many acts of horrific cruelty, and I ask myself what role love has to play in this? What difference can one woman or one man make in the devastation that surrounds us, and I find myself constantly drawn back to the idea of how life might be if we lived each day with loving intent.

As I drove back from my son‘s school this morning, all I could think about was the power that love has to heal , to transform, to create miracles. So how would it be if we made simple acts of love, our everyday practice? What if?

How would it be if we each dropped a tiny pebble of love into the ocean of life every day? What might be healed and transformed? What miracles might occur? Where and to whom would all these little ripples spread; whose lives would they wash over; what pain and misery and sorrow would they cleanse? What if all those tiny ripples of love, somehow connected and amplified? What if their collective energy was transformed into a mighty wave, rising higher than the earth, creating a cosmic tsunami, which swept away the sins of the world, and left it whole again. What if?

What if this morning on my school run, I had snarled instead of smiled? What if I had bellowed out protests against careless driving with my angry fist on the horn, instead of forgiving and allowing a story of understanding to fill my head? What if I had told myself that those drivers were “out to get me”, a symbol of the sickness of our society? Instead made a choice; I chose to extend compassion to them; I chose to sympathise with the pressure that they felt, pushing them to make mistakes, to take chances, to risk theprecious gift of life; I told myself another story in whichI pitied them and where there is pity, there is love and the capacity for anger and resentment vanishes. I sent them prayer instead of a curse.

What if, there had been one driver on the road this morning, filled with silent rage and despair, kicked around by life, until battered and broken, they had reached a place of darkness. Perhaps they were ready to die and perhaps they were ready to take the lives of others. Could one smiling face make a difference? Could the space I created for them to allow them onto the main road, when all the others drove past, make a tiny crack in the wall they had built around themselves? Could one simple loving act from a stranger shift their intent? What if all they were looking for was a sign, a sign that there is love and it practices what it preaches. What if?

Then there was the man who drove so aggressively, overtaking a long queue of backed up traffic, who then tried to push back into the line of patient waiting drivers hundreds of yards up the road. What if I had refused to let him in? What if I had looked at him with the anger and contempt I saw in other drivers’ eyes as they moved closer together to keep him out? What if he had been a father on his way to his dying child, frightened and alone in hospital? What if he had been going to lose his job if he was late one more time? What if?

What if we chose to take a moment to smile at the hostile, yawning girl at the supermarket check out, to sympathise about the long day she has had, to make her laugh with a small humorous comment? What if you were the only person who would speak to her that day who actually seemed to care. What if she is a single mum, who made the choice to keep her child, and for whom life is now a constant mind deadening struggle? What if that touch of love meant that her little one was hugged and held close that night instead of frightened by a worn out snarl or worse? What if?

What if you told the customer service agent, what a great job he is doing, what a pleasure it is to speak to someone who clearly knows their business and cares about his customers? What if you told him that you understand that the problem is not his fault and that you appreciate whatever he can do to help you? What if you spoke to his supervisor and complimented her on what excellent training she had obviously given this young man? What if these were the only positive words these two people had heard all week? What if they had been listening to abuse all day because they had been powerless to help? What if?

What if, we decided to look into the hearts of people instead of trying to read their minds? What if we gave them the benefit of the doubt? What if we stopped painting them as awkward or difficult or bad or even evil? What if we actually tried to understand why they act in the way they do? What if we sat down and listened to them? What if we treated them as we long to be treated? What if?

I could have written about war , about what happens when we forget to love, when we no longer see one another as individuals, but as monstrous projections of fear. I was tempted to write about the roots of terrorism and the dark pit of anger and despair it springs from; how all such acts create a hideously fertile breeding ground for yet more darkness to pour into the world. Instead, today I lightly touched on the positive difference one small, conscious act of kindness might make in your world.

What if you chose to be more loving today?

What if you walk out your door and commit an act of random kindness?

What if you were just a little more understanding, a little more compassionate, a tiny bit more patient?
What if you made a choice to live in the light of love, always looking for ways of demonstrating that love?

What if each small act of love dropped into the ocean of life, created that immense tidal wave?

What difference might that make to our troubled world?

What if we truly loved and all our actions came from that love?

What if?

What if.........

Monday, March 15, 2010

Some thoughts on Life and Dying

Today was my first post-operative CT scan. With a grade 4 Furhman scale tumour, this is something I will be doing every three months for the foreseeable future. I know that statistically that future might be short but I remind myself that none of us is given the knowing of the time or the manner of our death. Why should I torment myself now with the unknown when I can live and love and laugh right here, right now in this precious present moment.

Life is a gift. It is also a sacred mystery. We can never know the meaning of that gift; we can only sense it and for me that sensing is something so beautiful and so filled with light that I cannot even begin to express it. Holy is as close as I can get. Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of Hosts, Heaven and Earth are full of your glory, Hosannah in the Highest.

Here in my heart, in the depth of who I am, beyond this body and this mind, there is a song of love and transcending power pulsing in harmony with a universal heart that unites all sentient beings. I live, I love , I am.

There is no death and though I may fear the process of dying, the sorrow of parting with my loved ones, this passing from one form to another is the changing of a season, the natural energetic shift of new life from old.

Yea though I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, no evil shall I fear. I trust and I surrender. In this moment I know peace.

For my mother

This is the Mother’s Day
I feared I would not see
Would not be here to
Be your daughter,

A day where thoughts
Would be wrapped round
In the grief filled space
That once was me.

So here I am
And here you are
Not just another
Mother’s Day.

A day when I allow
All the love I feel
The deep gratitude
For all you are to me.

For every step
Along the way
Of this particular cross
You helped me carry.

I am here today
Because of you
You carried me
Nine months
And all my life.

Your love sustains me
Your love empowers me
Gives me strength
When my world implodes

Raised me from my knees
When I was broken
With the burden
And the fear

You held me
When I wept
You soothed me
When I hurt
So deep
So badly
I wanted to die
To simply slip away

You held me
Until I found
The inner power
To once again
Hold myself
To be the space
That would have been
An empty void
But for your love.