… because, for a minute there, I forgot …
“There is no difficulty that enough love
will not conquer; No disease that enough love
will not heal; No door that enough love
will not open; No gulf that enough love
will not bridge; No wall that enough love
will not throw down; No sin that enough love
will not redeem.
It makes no difference how deeply
seated may be the trouble, How
hopeless the outlook, How muddled the
tangle, How great the mistake; A
sufficient realization of love will dissolve
it all. If only you could love enough
you would be the happiest and most
powerful being in the world.”
As a life long long student of New Thought, I am especially excited when I actually encounter one. Today’s new thought was this: “our body isn’t random, it is chosen by our soul.” For someone who has had a tumultuous relationship (!) with her physical expression, this came as a stunning revelation. My first reaction was: why ever would I choose this? followed very quickly by a upswelling surge of tender compassion for my beleaguered body. Both are worthy of attention.
Why, indeed? What are the inherent attributes of my body, its strengths and challenges? What experiences is it uniquely equipped to provide me? What have I learned so far that was only possible because I chose this particular body? How has this body mirrored my preferences and shaped my choices over the years? Have I proven a loyal and appreciative partner to my body in this lifetime? Is there anything I would like to do differently?
Yup! And that brings me to my second knee-jerk response, for I actually feel very kindly toward my physical self and very grateful to her for her faithfulness. The judgments I’ve passed, criticisms I’ve raised, condemnations I’ve made, punishments I’ve meted out, disciplines I’ve imposed, all were harsh, disproportionate and oblivious to my own complicity. Also not helpful. Enough!
New thought, in the best of all possible worlds, is quickly followed by manifested new actions, new behaviors and new awarenesses. So I am willing, today, to see and do my relationship with my dear body differently. She knows me best! And I know her! This could be really fun!
Today we went to the pool area of our current resort and got into the hot tub with a young man I’d never seen before. He was thirty-something with long hair and a full, if somewhat scraggly beard, slender, with his arms and face tanned while the rest of him was startlingly white. He spoke of his children in the big pool, his home four miles up the road and told us that the warm water felt good on his back which the doctors had said needed surgery. When the young man got out of the hot tub a little later, Gil shared with me that he had seen this same man on the TV network news this morning, reporting on the efforts being made to rescue the young soccer players from the flooded cave in Thailand. Gil said this chap was a cameraman and recalled how impressive his photographic gear was, big lenses and all. He then explained to me how he edited his own work as well! He could shift from the seashore to butterflies back to the cave and the music was uninterrupted as the scenes changed. Gil was quite impressed!
My grasp of reality was stunned for a moment as I considered the wisdom of pointing out the unlikely, if not impossible nature of what he’d just said when I remembered a movie I’d seen as a child, which I probably shouldn’t have been watching then anyway. The movie was the 1960 Academy Award winner “Never on Sunday” with Melina Mercouri playing a good-hearted prostitute and Jules Dassin as a conservative American fellow who tries to reform her. He discovers that while she loves the classical Greek theater, she has no understanding at all of the complex and tragic themes playing out before her. In fact, she is convinced that everything ends happily and that they all get ice cream and go to the seashore afterwards! Unfortunately he prevails. He convinces her that the people in her stories are all either dead or horribly unhappy. This awareness, understandably, depresses the dear girl so that she can’t even do her job anymore, much to the dismay of the village gents who relied on her good humor and gentle ways to ease their simple, brutish lives.
I told Gil that story and asked him: should he have told her the truth when it ultimately made her so miserable? He said: No! He should have let her be!
So I dropped it. Maybe next time I’ll remember to ask him to tell me more…
We visited last week at 5000 feet in the pine and cedar forests of Payson, AZ at our niece Linda Mills’ house. She has a lovely, comfy home at the end of a culdesac where it’s quiet and cool. We played with her great dog Cody, shopped, prepared and ate meals together, sat on her porch in the early evenings and listened to the birds and enjoyed the gentle breeze. Before we left she got out her tools and installed our new fire extinguisher and repaired our screen door. Things that would have taken us hours to accomplish, if we could have done them at all, she made look easy! It’s been a peaceful, loving week and we are so grateful for her hospitality and unassuming goodness.
Yesterday we headed southwest through Mesa, where we picked up our provisions, made it through the middle of Phoenix on the freeway, and then back out to the open desert for a total of almost 300 miles before arriving just 10 miles from Mexico in Yuma, AZ. We stopped in Gila Bend for a late lunch at Humberto’s and had a delicious burrito and yummy rolled tacos. Things were going swell until late in the day, and at the extreme end of my availabile energy and attention, both the GPS and my husband insisted that our destination lay in the middle of a cornfield on a dirt road too narrow to get out of without backing up for half a mile! Sigh. And the resort’s phone is answered by a machine which says they’ll call back. Maybe. Sigh. But, as I like to say a lot these days, there’s more than one way to do absolutely everything! After turning off Google Maps and asking my darling to just be quiet, please, and let me think, I discovered a map feature on the resort’s website which gave different (and more accurate!) directions to our destination. Praise God!
So, because of our delay, we arrived after the registration office was closed. Sigh. But all is not lost. A camp host came swiftly to our rescue and got us registered, assigned a lovely spot with a view of an enormous grassy field out our kitchen window, a spot which is close to the pool and laundry facilities, has clear sky access for our satellite dish and then he even provided us with glossy magazine information about how to walk across the border into Los Algodones, which is apparently a haven for retired gringos looking for inexpensive and expert medical services not covered by Medicare.
So, here we are. It was warm enough last night to leave all our windows open, which means it will get hot enough today to close it up and turn on the AC this afternoon. We’ll check out the pool (natch!) and read up on border crossings. The whole conversation about immigration and walls and troops is brought into sharp focus in my mind. I wonder how we will be received as visitors on their side when things are the way they are on this side. I must look up how to say “Sorry!” in Spanish.
Sometimes we marvel at our own audacity. The choices we make, the adventures we have, the obstacles we surmount are really rather remarkable when we consider how predictable our lives were for so many years. I’ve been sitting here writing in the predawn quiet. Roosters are now crowing, rosy fingered dawn is emerging, a trash collecting truck can be heard in the distance and my coffee is gone. Gil has awakened and joined me and a new day has begun…
In the predawn hours, I sit quietly and notice the worlds within and without me. Wind rattles the handle on our closed awning against the side of our motorhome. I feel the gentle rocking and I relax into it. A train rumbles in the distance, moves closer, and louder, the whistle blows once, twice, three times, and the rumbling recedes into the silence again. I don’t know where it came from, what it’s carrying, where it’s gone. I simply notice. The muscles in the left side of my neck and shoulder feel tight. Actually, they hurt. Gently I turn my head in that direction, ease into it and release the tension. It hurts less. Gil interrupts my reverie with questions about where we’ll go tomorrow, when we’ll leave, what he’ll wear. I answer patiently. Then he asks me to explain the end of the book we finished yesterday. He interrupts my answer and I resent that, and I respond with irritation. And the whole point of this writing is brought into sharp focus. When I allow, when I notice, when I let it be, I am at peace, harmoniously in synch with all that is. When I resist, my heart closes, my head pounds, my body tenses and I hate who I’ve become. Today I let that out, told him how I felt, hoping he would understand and empathize … and change. Instead, the look of confusion and sadness in his eyes told me he had no clue what he had done wrong nor how to fix it. Sad puppy-dog eyes. No one kicks the puppy. But one sometimes kicks oneself.
Dawn came. Breathing slowed. Heart opened. I spoke soft, reassuring words to my dearest friend and longtime beloved. Peace reigned. And, slowly, like releasing a tense muscle and leaning into the pain, I forgave myself.
I still don’t know where the train came from, or where it went.
We drove from Lake Havasu City to Salome, Arizona yesterday on Gil’s ninetieth birthday. It was a beautiful two hour journey we stretched to three. We followed the meandering Colorado River, went through colorful rock canyons of improbable shapes and hues, over miles of shrub covered dunes and past remarkable cacti. We even drove through a tiny town called Hope. Careful, don’t blink or you’ll miss it! As we left, we both noticed a sign by the side of the road saying YOU ARE NOW BEYOND HOPE! We laughed out loud! Gil said, “Finally!” And I said, “Yeah, because hope is a subtle illusion and an unconscious compromise!” (Quoting Ernest Holmes from his Science of Mind textbook.) He also said it was better than despair, but inferred that it was not by much. That’s because hope has no power in it, no juice, no generative oomph! Sort of listless, passive even, not much is going on there or likely to happen in the near future. Hope completely abandons the creative energy of the correct use of mental and spiritual law.
An honest appraisal of current reality coupled with a grateful heart however, will actually propel us from where we are to where we want to go with incredible ease and speed. As the non-judgmental voice of the GPS wizard corrects our course, this three part process guides us unerringly. “Are we there yet? No. But we’re not in a ditch either! Great! So which way? Okay! Let’s go!”
Thankfully WE KNOW AND WE KNOW THAT WE KNOW! Now that’s when hope is no longer warranted and we’re finally beyond it!
There was another couple at the pool last week when we went for our dip. In their late twenties or early thirties, they were experimenting with new snorkeling gear they said they’d bought on EBay. They practiced getting the fit right, holding their breath for dives to the bottom of the pool and clearing their masks and snorkels. We asked where they planned on using their equipment as there wasn’t much to see in our little pool. They told us of wanting to go to Hawaii, past trips (for him) in the Caribbean, how fun it is to feed the sting rays while standing on a sand bar, miles away from any “land” and how you position your hand like you’re feeding a horse, but it feels like a vacuum cleaner sucking at your palm. The four of us floated around and talked of many things: jazz and who was really genius versus the merely great; the film industry and how he loves to write and direct movies which, sadly, we have never seen; how we are all orphans with no parents among us still living and how that feels… She reminded us we needed sunscreen. I had forgotten to bring any. She had us use hers and supervised us getting all the parts of our faces covered the way you help a small child who, nevertheless, wants to do it herself. Gil got chilled and we moved to the spa to warm up and our conversation flagged. Before we left for home, I asked their names and told them ours. First names only.
When we used to take our granddaughter Aiden to the park she always made friends readily. They would meet and greet and move forward together, talking, playing, getting drinks of water, laughing and expressing tender concern if one got hurt on the equipment. She could tell me their favorite color and how they smelled when I’d ask her about her new friend on the trip home, but she could never tell me their name. It seems that wasn’t an important piece of information to share and they never got around to it. She was surprised I’d asked about something as inconsequential as a name.
When we walked back from the pool to our home, I realized that I wished I hadn’t asked that couple their names; it actually felt friendlier before I knew.