"Mindfulness Practice isn't just about escaping to some magical inner realm devoid of life's challenges. The Practice is about calming your mind and opening your heart enough to engage Life directly, to be more fully Present in a kind, clear, and helpful way."

Your MMM Courtesy Wake Up Call! Musings on Life and Practice by a Long-time Student of Meditation.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Best Laid Plans...

“The most precious gift we can offer anyone is our attention. When mindfulness embraces those we     love, they will bloom like flowers.”
― Thích Nhất Hạnh

The Universe is exquisite.  It provides us with lessons on letting go again and again.  Just when you think The Plan is in place--something shifts.  

Friday began normally enough.  I awoke before 5, set the meditation timer for an hour, and Sat to greet the day.  Usually, I would then grab a cup of coffee with Betsy before sitting down at the laptop to complete the weekly post for Your Courtesy Wake Up Call.  So much for that plan.

When I went downstairs after the Sit, Betsy was lying on the couch. It's not uncommon for her to stay down there after an early morning pee to give the two chihuahuas, Pedra and Chico,  some "puppy pile" time. When she stirred, though, I could tell she was not feeling well.  She said she felt lousy and needed to rest some more.  

It only got worse.  

Within a couple of hours, we were on our way to the Emergency Room at Heywood Hospital in Gardner.  After a series of tests over the course of the next few hours, we got the word: It was acute appendicitis!  Within a few minutes, at 4 p.m., the surgeon, the ER nurse and I were rolling Betsy down a series of corridors to the prep area of the Operating room.  (Thank God for small town hospitals. I was with her until the moment the team rolled her into the OR).  A little over an hour later she was in the ICU beginning her recovery from an appendectomy.  Soon her son Mark joined me at her bedside, and after she fell asleep, I left to drive back to Barre, tired and extremely grateful for the care and skill provided by the staff we encountered that day--and for the Practice.

During the course of that long day I had the opportunity to put the fruit of all those hours on the zafu to good use.  I was able be Present for my beloved friend.  As the hours rolled by, I was able to stay calm, caring, and clear as Betsy and I interacted with one another and the staff we encountered.  Experiencing the entire gamut of emotions (tears leaked through a few times), I had the opportunity to to breath and open my heart into each moment as it appeared without spinning off or turning away.  I was able to be there for her as Betsy experienced pain, be there with her fear--and mine.  One breath at at time, I watched as feelings emerged and dissolved in the spacious embrace of Mindfulness as my partner and I danced through this day along the edge of Life/Death.

Although these procedures are "routine", I had gazed out the window during the operation to see a windblown autumn leaf twirl through the sunlight and disappear into the shade.  I knew the deal.  Each moment is precious as it is. The next is not guaranteed.

So, obviously Friday's post never happened. It didn't happen Saturday as I cleaned house, shopped, made telephone calls to family and friends, then picked Betsy up from the hospital at noon.  Happy to have her safe at home,  I stayed at her side much of  the day, served as chief cook and bottle washer the rest of the time.  It was a blessing to see the color returning to her face.

Today. through the wonders of arthroscopic surgery Betsy is already able to move without a great deal of pain, to walk a bit. 

In fact she's stirring on the couch now after another nap--and it's a beautiful autumn afternoon. 

Perhaps it's time to do some walking meditation?

(Obviously, it has still taken me hours to finish up and get this on the web. The best laid plans.......)

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