Thursday, April 3, 2014

By Her Grace

By Her Grace 

When you've been with a loved one a long time you think you know everything about them. You're quite sure there's nothing left to learn about the person. Then
Teaching @ Women's Retreat
'life' tosses some curve-ball causing you to pause in the daily routines you share and look at the person in a completely new way. It happened to me when Patricia suffered her second retinal detachment in three weeks requiring a second emergency surgery.

This surgery was much more complicated and painful than the first and the instructions for her recovery period considerably more difficult. This time she had to lie face down 24/7 for ten days. She was allowed a five minute break each hour to stand up or walk around (face down) to relieve the stresses on her back. And, she had to endure a regimen of four different eye drops every few hours, some which painfully burned the beleaguered eye.

Throughout the endless days of her face-down recovery I watched how she reacted to the current challenges in front of her. She accepted the routine as necessary so she would "not have to do this a third time." I already knew she had inner strength and fortitude and would bring those qualities to bear during this ordeal. But I learned so much more. Especially that this was a woman who not only talked the talk, but walked it in a disciplined manner.

Leading Meditations
Most everyone reading this knows she's an accomplished meditation leader. You also know her as a selfless spiritual teacher and dedicated energy healer. I watched as she summoned every one of those resources that she teaches so well, and used them hourly in her personal healing process. Unable to read, she asked me to load her MP3 player with the 10-day discourses of Sri Goenka who taught us Vipassana meditation. Face-down at the dining table or a massage chair donated by a friend, she listened to his uplifting talks each day for a few hours, recalling for me the insights she was relearning. She used those insights as lessons in personal healing or perseverance.

Never a belly sleeper, she had to spend each night on her stomach, face down. I saw her deal with this added challenge in a most relaxed manner. With the theme of Living a Conscious Life from our recent Women's Retreats still fresh in her mind, she invoked what she'd been teaching to so many women over those weekends. Once again she turned on the MP3 player to listen to her own recordings of Yoga Nidra practices as she went to sleep. Sometimes, she'd fall asleep at the "third finger of the right hand" and wake up three hours later hearing her fourth Yoga Nidra recording.

During the ten days she was face-down I learned about her remarkable grace, patience, calm, and caring. Caring that I was doing all the work! Caring that the healing emails that she received daily for those in need would be placed in the Reiki Prayer Box and sent out to the Healer's Network. Caring that those who were praying for her or sending get well cards were personally thanked. Her patience with
Thank you, Steve Jobs
her current situation also had no limits.  (If I'd been in her place I'm not sure I would have handled this as gracefully as she was.)  For she never complained; never once bemoaned the experience; never levied blame; and accepted it all with poise and grace. Even her humor was intact when she commented one day, "This must be what the nuns meant by offering it up."

I also learned about her resilience and ever-present technical abilities. She tried watching TV with one good eye by looking at the screen through a mirror; except the TV image was upside down. She gracefully lived with that for several days. One evening, I attempted to ease her hours of boredom by describing a magnificent sunset occurring over the lake. Using the mirror to see the sunset she had a brilliant insight. Directing me to move the massage chair from facing the TV to facing the opposite wall, she had me position a larger mirror on a chair. In short order she'd figured out that by turning her back to the TV, the mirror now showed the image right side up. She thanked the Universe for the beautiful sunset that allowed her to now watch TV right side up for a few hours a day. This technical insight was followed by another. Sitting at the glass dining table, her head down on a pillow, she discovered she could see through the glass. With that, she actually thanked Steve Jobs for inventing the flat tablet so she could check her emails with 
Can't keep a good woman down!
an Ipad propped on her lap.
Watching her lie face down for so many hours I asked her what was she thinking about during this time.  She said, "Many things.  But mostly this has caused me to stay in the present moment.  I see patterns on the floor that I never saw before. I feel a breeze coming in the window that I may have been distracted from before - so I pay attention to the breeze. I found that I'm simply staying in the present moment - no where else."  She continued, "I'm grateful for what happened because it's made me appreciate more the gift of vision, the gift of seeing differently, and the gift of perspective."

John Lennon said, "Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans." That happened to us.  Those "Life" conditions that we experience or endure are the real markers of a person's character. Because, they hone the qualities that make us humans. And in the throes of adversity, the realindividual is created and known. With new eyes of respect and awe, I witnessed the radiance of Patricia emerge from a potentially calamitous condition and resolve itself,By Her Grace.
Jo Mooy - April 2014