Remembering my Uncle Ole'
Two ears, one mouth, and ten fingers to cover it with. So many things I "could have" written of, these past three months, in an effort to make connections. But oftener and often, I feel that all my connections are ships in the night, that personal communication is merely a proxy for or distraction from what's really going on, that "what's really going on" transcends space and time, and death.
I found out last night that my Hanai uncle Ole' left this embodiment two days ago. He was in his 70s--younger than my dad, older than my mom. As far as I understand, for the type of cancer with which he was fairly recently diagnosed, the demise was mercifully rapid. We were ships in the night; we were also deeply connected. In a post-Ole' world, will I still be so sure that deep connections transcend depth?
I talk to myself--would I have listened?
Dear Former Self,
At this point, you would rather die than have a weight in triple digits, and you say so sincerely. You can’t hear how melodramatic that sounds; in fact, from your standpoint at this time death is close enough to lose its melodrama. But at some level, admit it: you must realize that weight gain is on the cards. You’ve gained a couple pounds already because of this ghastly new thing binging and purging, even despite all the brutal fasting you’re doing the rest of the time, your other tricks aren’t working anymore, you know you’re out of control and need help, and, at bottom, you know that your chances of finding a practitioner who would help you lose weight from below 90lbs are approximately zero.
a litany from the open heart
I want to pause a moment on this insight I mentioned last time, that nothing has been wasted. Even when it felt like my life was unadulterated pain and misery, there were elements that got me to where I am now.
On Saturday evening, I went to Dances of Universal Peace, a Sufi event where all comers sing and dance together, songs and dances from traditions all over the world. I had a moment of self-consciousness about this bigger body I now find myself in, and I looked around the room at the 12 or 15 of us ranging in age from 20s to 70s, ranging from tall to tiny, from broad to spindly, dark skin to white skin, myself included in the circle, and my heart opened wide.
"Physician, Heal Thyself"--sine qua non
Given that I learned to honor and take care of myself in the thick of working all day long helping others with their health, I was aware of the danger of falling back into old habits once that structure and motivation were gone. My intention was and is that the clinic experience was transformational for me in this respect; although I’m not working at that pace right now, I’m holding the space and entrainment to continue to work with people, at that degree of intensity when necessary.
So here are some of the ways I’ve been continuing to take care of the sacred vessel; many of these will merit follow-up posts of their own.
finding the flow
Direct quotation from the last blog I posted here:
I still need to tell the story on this blog of how being thrown in the deep end as chef and health coach has been transforming my sense of self and with it my self-care.
It's time. I've been baptized, immersed, had my face rubbed in the mirror of old beliefs that kept me small, and I emerge shining with the conviction that I deserve to express my gifts and be valued for doing so, and that there are so many people out there who deserve to benefit from my gifted help.
perhaps a monster no longer
From the other side of the world, from the other side of thirty-nine years, I salute my then-new mother on the other side of her hard labor.
From the other side of the screen, you--dear reader--come to this blog to see what's new. Sometimes there's a new post every time you check; other times, all is static for a month at a time. Perhaps that unchanged front-page post each time is no less fresh/novel/new than the parade of new posts.
From the other other side, I am still here, I am working hard, I am in material precarity but trusting in divine guidance.
So, what else is new?
spirituality without religion
Today, December 17th, is the 742nd anniversary of Rumi's death. The Sufi community celebrates loved ones' or heroes' death days, or urs, with informal but intentional gatherings in celebration of the life and to reflect on how that life lives on in our own lives. So tonight was different from the normal Thursday night Sufi gatherings.
We shared our favorite Rumi poems, we squeezed a couple of Dances of Universal Peace into the narrow confines of the Little Chapel, we did a couple of zikr practices and a carefully contained dervish whirl.
Interesting to reflect on Rumi's perennial appeal and what an apt representative he is of what we call Sufism.