Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Practice... makes practice...

Practice can be stated very simply. It is moving from a life of hurting myself and others to a life of not hurting myself and others. That seems so simple--except when we substitute for real practice some idea that we should be different or better than we are, or that our lives should be different from the way they are. When we substitute our ideas about what should be (such notions as "I should not be angry or confused or unwilling") for our life as it truly is, then we're off base and our practice is barren.

-- Charlotte Joko Beck

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Words you don't want to hear... or do you?

"It's probably not cancer."

When your doctor says this to you....

Well, it's not entirely comforting. You came in for a routine check up, the usual advice about fiber, exercise, and weight management. And you get "It's probably not cancer".

Now you weren't even thinking about mortality. Your To Do List is immense, and you don't really have time to consider the possibility that you might be derailed with a series of traumas and treatments, or even demise. No way. You've got places to go, parcels to mail, correspondence long overdue.

So "It's probably not cancer", and you're off to the lab. Some extra poking and prodding. Stay tuned for results. In a week. Or so.

What goes on in the mind in that week. "It's PROBABLY not cancer." No need to worry actually. But it COULD be. And who even knew it was a maybe?? Hmmm. What if it WAS cancer. What would I do? Would I be fretting about this deadline? or would I be off playing frisbee with my kids? or walking in the woods (with or without them?)? Or just sitting on the beach and watching the immensity of the ocean?

And if I wouldn't be doing this if it WAS cancer.... then why am I doing it if it ISN'T?

Hmmm. Pondering whether I am celebrating this day as the treasure it is. Pondering whether I'd rather be ..... (everyone can complete that sentence!)

So. Those comforting (?) words bring life to full stop again. It COULD be cancer. The end COULD be near. This day IS a treasure. My kids ARE glorious, and every minute with them (laughter and tears) is precious.

And I am thankful for those words that detour my mind. I am grateful for a moment of full stop. Look around. Celebrate. Pause. Breathe.

A week later.... "It's just a minor condition called (complicated and incomprehansible latin name with many syllables)." Aaahh. Fine. That's great. I have a lot on my To Do List, and really don't have time for any kind of traumas and treatments. I've got a deadline to meet.