Wednesday, 29 January 2014

notes from the brink of death

Staring out over the sea, feeling a bit woozy just watching its lulling waves and listening to the crash of the tide beneath me, I sit upright for the first time in thirty six hours.

Little did I know that the lazy I was feeling and the unwelcome belches escaping during the prior day were heralding the coming of a death-virus; one that felled our household in quick succession.  

If we only knew.  If we only could have prepared.

Illness can bring me such introspection.  The feeling of every ache in my body-- the muscles under the bends of my toes screaming out, a rawness in my ears that goes through to my brain,  my insides feeling like they are vibrating fire-- sensations that make it impossible to rest easy; impossible to rest in peace.

Repositioning myself every few moments, I attempt to fight every thought of, "Oh, I'm so sick," with "I am healthy, I am healing."  I attempt to slow my pain-induced erratic breathing into even breaths.  It all helps.  I can feel a difference, but a sudden cure it is not.  

I send love out to all of those that are crossing over at that moment-- the hundreds, the millions.  Bless them.  Bless their ability to cope with their bodily sensations so that they may go in peace.

At times like these I think about my own death and what it might feel like.  I put in a plea-- can it please not feel this horrible? If it's going to be painful and death is imminent, can someone just give me something to gently rock me to sleep?  

Awakened a couple of hours ago by a business text- can you talk now?  I respond, give me 10 minutes, and miss their contact attempt at 8 minutes while trying to adjust to vertical.  I gather my notes, put on my acting voice and make it through our tele-meeting.  

Now I wonder how long I can survive on the fat in my body because I can't imagine ever ingesting anything solid.  Head still heavy and sore, spacey, this must be what bad-stoned feels like.  

Again, my heart goes out to those suffering so much worse-- the children suffering, elders fading away all alone, the mothers hanging on to their last moment so as not to bid their children farewell, agonising pain from an accident.  

It's like the stories of birth we share so joyfully when mother and child come through unscathed.  The miracle of surviving such an unpredictable physically intense event that brings some to the brink of death paradoxically then ends with the anticipation of the unknown-- of how we will pass on from this world.  

When one can announce, "they went peacefully in their sleep," we all respond as if a lottery was won.  And rightly so.

Feeling so ill brings it fresh for me.  I would not be able to write this tomorrow, because that protective thing that dulls our memories, enabling us to continue to have babies, also occurs after we have been horribly ill.  Our mind protects us from our memories of physical suffering and pain.

All of this pondering brings me to the question-- can we get the government out of our deaths? (and births, writes the one that had to go underground for an "illegal" home birth.)  Stop telling people how to die.  Stop telling people what their suffering feels like.  If it's inhumane to let an animal suffer, than why in the hell is it not inhumane to let a child or any human suffer.  

Let it be gentle.  Let it be kind.  And as we are with our animals that we refuse to let suffer-- let it be humane.  

Yes, when it's that time- please just give me something to rock me gently to sleep.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

life and bliss and the mess in between

we can see sunrises over the sea (if we are upright), but don't see sunsets-- but if you choose to step outside, in the right place, at the right time, around sunset, you may just see something like this: bliss

Life is hard.  No argument here.  

No matter what another person's life looks like, it is important to remember that no one is exempt from pain and sorrow and angst and loss.  

Every one.  Every day.

And it's mostly effortless for us to recognise and wax lyrical about the "messy."  Days and months can go by where we struggle to find the bliss or are too emotionally and physically exhausted to create the bliss.  

But bliss is there.  

Sometimes, when it isn't living in our heart, we need to go outside ourselves and look for it and let it envelop us.

bliss
blɪs/
noun
  1. 1.
    perfect happiness; great joy.
    "she gave a sigh of bliss"
    synonyms:joypleasuredelighthappiness, gladness, ecstasyelationrapture,euphoriaheavenparadise, seventh heaven, cloud nine, Eden,Utopia, Arcadia; More


verb
informal
  1. 1.
    reach a state of perfect happiness, oblivious of everything else.
    "Josh is just blissed out, always smiling"


Notice that the definition of bliss ranges from pleasure to gladness to ecstasy-- which is a huge range.  

Bliss makes me tingle.  

It's the feeling I get when I am overwhelmed with love and pride for my children.  

It's the overwhelming aaaah, I feel when I see natural beauty.  

And yes, sometimes it's created within-- such as when the stars have aligned and I'm feeling peace and love and satisfaction with a job I consider "well done."

Family that couldn't be at my daughter's wedding in September just left our home and they asked me to read the "toast" I'd written for the beautiful couple, which I hadn't looked at since the wedding.  

Reading my own words out loud again, I was stunned that I became all verklempt, I guess because it was a timely reminder for myself, as well as a reminder of a divinely love-filled event: bliss. 

Particularly, this little blip struck home (and yes, this is a fraction of the message, but I think sharing this is okay because it's pretty much a world-truth):
How do you teach your four year old that perfection is an illusion? That life is messy and hard and full of imperfect surprises, but that there will be moments of pure bliss. And it's those moments or hours or days of bliss that make life as close to perfect as we humans can experience. Chasing the impossible "perfect" will drive one mad and would be horribly boring if we found it, but when the moments of bliss do arise, like today: you've peeked into perfect.   
Be patient with those that seem to go on about the good things in their lives-- when they do.  Some folks are just in awe of how the Universe unfolds its magic. 

No matter how "perfect" people's stories sound, there are layers of sweat and grime and tears and heartbreak that lie in support of their bliss.  

No one is exempt from messy.  

But one glimpse of bliss trumps a whole bunch of mess.