O Heavenly Touch
I was touched by several family stories over the Thanksgiving holiday. These life stories were the centerpiece of my holiday more than the regular festivities of the traditional family feast. I had brunch with one friend the weekend before Thanksgiving, and she told me the story of her mother's last days before she died in the hospital. The story focused not so much on her mother's deteriorating condition, but on how the family was coping with her imminent death: they talked over her, around her, about her, but not to her. Except for her sister who also sat by her mother's side, the family stood a careful distance from her hospital bed.
My friend's instinct was to brush her mother's hair, massage lotion into her hands and feet, trim her nails, and sit with her. Sit with her. Be with her. She was very aware of the presence of fear in the room from the other members of her family. They were afraid of death, choked up with emotion -- and didn't know quite what to do. Perhaps they were afraid of their own mortality. To visit someone else's death is to recognize our own death will eventually come.
I was touched by the fact that the lotion my friend was massaging into her mother's legs and feet was scented, the scent of flowers. Her mother loved the scented lotion, giving her quiet moments of pleasure. Touching the dying helps us create a living bond. These remaining moments of connection between mother and daughter linger on in timelessness. As the body gives way, the recesses of the heart are more accessible: arm-to-arm, cheek-to-cheek, heart-to-heart.
A Broken Hip and Broken Heart
Within a few days of hearing this story, another friend told me a story over lunch about her mother's recent hip injury. Her mother's hip broke in October, and she required surgery. There were complications with the surgery: a blood clot formed in her leg, which put her at risk for congestive heart failure. During all this time, her husband was irritated with all the care that she needed, more concerned with the condition of the yard than his wife.
All three daughters came to the rescue showing up for a week at a time to care for their mother who lives on the east coast. One flew in from Hawaii, another from Colorado, and the third daughter from Florida. They established a detailed caregiver's schedule in an Excel spreadsheet: the vitamins, medicines, and physical therapy exercises she required throughout the day. They reorganized her sewing room and moved her sewing machine to the first level of the house where she was sleeping now. Sewing is her life's pleasure and the three daughters made sure she was within hands' reach of her greatest joy. Their father was mowing the lawn, working on house projects in the basement while they tended to their mother.
It's at times of crisis when our ability to be emotionally present with another shows itself. My friend in the first story commented that the family avoiding being present for their dying mother was typical of her family. If there was something big happening - an emotional event - her family pretended it wasn't happening. They disassociated from the event; they left. That life passage of being close to death is a defining moment. We learn how we approach life when death is near. Do we embrace it or run away?
My friend whose mother broke her hip is furious with her father for not being there for her mother. All three daughters are angry with their father. The sad truth they know is that he hasn't been there for his wife all a long -- for many years. Sometimes a hip injury marks the end of a woman's connection to her sexuality, and bonding with her partner. Sexuality is life energy. A break of the hip can be serious. If sexual/life energy is not cultivated in new ways, it can sometimes be a foreshadowing of death in the not too distant future.
Crisis can be an opportunity giving us a chance to show up emotionally more than ever before. Why wait until the time someone you love is in the hospital on their deathbed or in the emergency room for critical care to touch them, care for them, demonstrate your love? Do it now before the dam breaks.
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Here are a few book recommendations on the power of our words and thoughts:
Be Careful What You Pray For, You Just Might Get It
By Larry Dossey, M.D.
Dossey is the author of several books on the efficacy of prayer, Healing Words and Prayer is Good Medicine. Dossey is changing the field of medicine by bringing an awareness of the healing arts, the ability to heal at a distance. Healing is at its essence “nonlocal,” unencumbered by space and time. You don't have to be present with a person for them to receive your healing energy, or your harmful intentions…
In this book, he looks at the shadow side of prayer, the power of curses in the words we choose, the thoughts we repeat, the grudges we harbor. This book is a powerful cautionary examination of the underbelly of the power of prayer, negative prayer, when we wish someone harm. Some of the contents include: Can Prayer Harm?, Negative Prayer in Everyday Life, The Biology of Curses, and Protection. If you are thinking about a person and they're sitting in the next room, the next building, the next state or country, they'll receive your thought. Learn more about how this works.
Messages from Water, Vol. 1., 2., and 3
By Masaru Emoto
I first came across the work of Masaru Emoto when a massage therapist friend on Maui recommended his books, Messages From Water. I prefer these 8 by 11 renditions of his book to the one that's more commonly on the market entitled, The Hidden Messages in Water (a paperback). I was stunned when I first looked at his photography. He shows how a word or a prayer can alter frozen water crystals. His work has also been highlighted in the well-received documentary, What The Bleep Do We Know?!
What I love about his work is that it shows us visual results of our thought patterns. His work is shockingly revealing. When you examine the affects of the word 'war' on a frozen water crystal, you see a distorted, dismembered pattern. The word 'peace' turns the water crystal into the image of a beautiful star. Since we are largely a body of water, imagine how repeated word and thought patterns impact our crystalline nature. Emoto is also helping to heal and clear our polluted lakes with group prayer.
Signs and Symbols: How Words Weave Reality
Words shape the mind, and the mind shapes our word choices. If you're afraid of moving forward, watch your word choices. Our intentions form our words/thoughts; our word is our mantra. Words have the power to build up or break down. Intentionality is written in the quality of our words.
I attended a potluck in the spring of women's writers and I got into a discussion with a writer/editor about the differences between the words eager and anxious. She has worked for several people where English is not their first language. Explaining the subtle differences between words can be a fascinating challenge. The word 'eager' suggests anticipation, willingness, enthusiasm: a possible-good-outcome state of mind. The word 'anxious' suggests fear, worry, nervousness, skepticism: a worst-case-scenario state of mind. Our word choices reflect our state of mind.
If you want to really know a person start by listening to the words they use.
Words create space
Two words that can haunt a person are the words “I can't.” These words indicate an internal gridlock, a feeling of not being able to move. The person may want to move forward, but there is an obstacle. When you say, “I can't,” you may be meeting some internal resistance. Underlying the words I can't is another meaning: I won't -- a choice. Sometimes the resistance is simply that you aren't sure how. Convert the “I can't” to a “how can I?,” and you'll unlock the gates, so you can leap forward. “I can't” is confined space where “how can I?” opens and gives the situation space. When you are feeling stuck, seek out words that give you space.
A question can joggle a shut door or window -- in a person's frame of mind -- enough that it opens. Absolute statements tend toward rigidity. Although statements can offer us security, they can also box us in rather than set us free.
Words and thoughts can heal, bless, and they can harm
Words are incantations and inductions: they move energy. Words and thoughts can heal, bless, but they can also harm.
A father telling his son, “You'll never be able to make a living writing,” will stick to the child's bones and resonate, making it harder for him to express his natural creativity. The risk of the word “never” is that it's a strong brew of impossibility - a psychological intoxicant. The word “never” cuts off the soul's circulation and reduces flow in a person's life.
A wish can be a blessing or a curse. Hateful thoughts are like poison darts and they can affect the health of a person. Shamans acknowledge illnesses in the supernatural realms as acts of God (karmic illnesses) and acts of harm (evil intentions of others). In allopathic medicine, the harmful affects of jealousy and envy on a person's health are not recognized. Unexplained illnesses can have their roots in acts of harm, negative energy, sent from a jealous or hateful person.
In curanderismo, a holistic system of folk medicine from Latin America that encompasses the spiritual, psychological, and social needs of the people it serves, there are several illnesses that are recognized as stemming from envy: Dano is an illness from having persistent feelings of envy or vengeance toward a person. That is, when we harbor harmful feelings toward others, we can make ourselves ill.
The receiving end of dano is called mal de ojo or “the evil eye.” An intense glare or a look of jealousy or envy can cause illness. I've discovered that the affects of the evil eye hit the digestive system first. Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, fever, weight loss, insomnia, and depression can result. The eyes can send a bolt of strong energy, a high voltage electrical current. Practice soft eyes rather than a hard glare to insure no one comes to any harm.
The golden rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” applies here. The sender experiences bad luck and sickness for sending negative energies to another person. Ill will is a boomerang that returns. Both the sender and the receiver become ill in the case of excessive jealousy or envy. Another reason to be more conscious of the quality of our thought patterns.
Information on the specific symptoms of dano and mal de ojo is from the article “Ayahuasca, Shamanism, and Curanderismo in the Andes” by Steve Mizrach on the web at: http://www.biopark.org/peru/ayashaman.html
Thought for the day
"The ancients used to say that curing is not as good as caring, caring is not as good as diagnosis, diagnosis is not as good as prevention, and prevention is not as good as foreknowledge."
-- Chen Kaiguo,
from Opening The Dragon Gate: The Making of A Modern Taoist Wizard
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