Body sick, Mind strong

Day 2 bronchitis ravaged lungs.

My husband, away on a golf trip in sunny Florida, texts to see if I am feeling any better. Interestingly, I find myself respond “body sick, mind strong”.  And re-reading those words makes me weep a little.  Why? Because for so long, too long, my reality was body sick, mind sick.

But we don’t know what a healthy mind would feel or sound like do we? It is our mind alone, and we have nothing to compare it to. Not everyone with a visibly strong body has a strong mind. Not everyone with a strong mind has a physical body to mirror it either.

But the goal is for the body mind to work as ONE; to be unified. What was important for me to realize while sick is that I was filled with compassion and care for my whole self- my lungs, my achiness, my throat, my sinuses. At no point did I delve into despair while nursing this compassion on my hurting parts. I think that’s what we are afraid of arent’ we?  If I spend too much time on my ‘self’, I’ll feel narcissistic, self-serving, I’ll devolve into depression and get stuck there.

We don’t know how to find balance. Just the right amount of rest and nurturing. I was very aware that my mind was focused on gratitude and what was needed- hot ginger tea, peppermint vapors, spicy food, expectorant, neti pot. And sure enough in two days I was feeling 100% better. I captured quickly those pesky thoughts of ‘what if I am sick for a long while…I cannot remember health right now” and burned ’em up.

Singing in an epsom salt bath, humming in a hot shower, breathing diagphramatically and even feeling up to a few rounds of breath of fire have kept the prana moving. I hope the next time you get sick you take a look mindfully at where your thinking leads you.

I hope you too, develop that strong mind who loves uniting with a poor, sick , vulnerable body.

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Burden

You are not a burden

not your morning stiffness

nor your chronic ache

You cannot make me despise you any longer

skip the gym

forget the yoga

eat the cake

You cannot go your own way now

…..because

You are not a burden

I’ve claimed you as my own

no matter your intensity

nor your tendency

to bemoan

just breathe my friend

can you see

we are

not at odds

invite in some more breath

it’s the essence

of the gods

I know

I have not acted

like much of a friend to you

to one with so much need

so much pain

here’s your due

breathe in ease

breathe out dis-ease

Is it really so simple?

I have no answers

if you please

Only attention

And care

simply aware

of the many ways I tried to shame

and blame

when you were always there

carrying the entirety of life’s burdens

but to me?

one born of ignorance

one born of fear

You are not a burden

You are ever so dear

You

are my very same self in form

that I did not recognize

your substance as

so very

very good

said the

mind to the body

One Lone Picture, One Lone Child

As often as I could, I’d sneak in to my mother’s room to study the framed black and white photo of her wedding day.  I was 8 or 9 years old and I’d never met the man, my father, standing by her side with his shy smile and dapper Navy dress whites.  I googled it just now and the hot tears instantaneously wet my face.  Isn’t that strange, since, as fate would have it, that man is unrelated to me.

We are told stories of who we are, who’s we are. There isn’t much more impactful than immediate family and ancestry to a child’s growing identity.

-I’m German

-I’m an only child

-My parents split up right after I was born and I’ve never met my Father

-My Oma, right off the boat, helped raise me. We shared a bedroom for 9 years, like sisters

-I am book smart, earning almost all A’s straight through college

-I”m the first in my family to attend, then graduate

-First half of life people really liked me, I resonate with the stuff of the world

-Second half of life I need to deconstruct everything I thought I knew and suddenly those same people and I have little in common

Except so much of this is not the truth after all. I actually have 3 half-brothers and was fathered by a Philadelphia fireman not a Navy man. I’m not German either

The man in the picture was Mom’s loving husband but not my father.  For 50 years I’d never called a man Dad, or daddy. I’m not sure when I realized that this was impacting my ability to see God as Father.

Reading Inheritance last month by Dani Shapiro has millions talking about their own paternity stories. Did you hear the one about the man who’d donated sperm every week during med school and now has at least 50 children discovering eachother as half-siblings on ancestry.com?

I have a wound that resonates with other’s who’ve been put in foster care, adopted out, or raised by a single parent. Lately I’ve noticed my body responds instantly to children in those circumstances. Maybe they’ve never said the word daddy. Maybe that is the word which carved the wound, which allows the light to get in. 

I pray every day for a sister. And I sent my vial of warm spittle to 23andMe last year.

When I was little, something in me— or maybe someOne— yearned for a sister so much so, that whenever I watched the Parent Trap, I’d tell myself “That’s going to happen for me. I’m going to meet my long lost sister one day”.

I still believe that the story Mom told about how my Father got another local woman pregnant that year will result in us finding each other…and soon. I like to write those words down, even reading them aloud, then put them out into the world, believing that will manifest her into my reality. A woman, my age, to connect with on a deep level. In second half of life; before it’s too late.

The house behind us went up for sale a few months ago and I began imagining that the people who bought it would be about our age and the wife would become my new best friend. Last week the couple moved in and I went over with brownies. The man was so nice, showing me the renovations. His partner had not moved in yet. My dream momentarily dashed.

I’ve met my birth father- three and a half years ago. I bravely drove 3 hours and knocked on his front door. But that’s a story for another day.

He and I talk on the phone a couple of times a year. Last week I called him, my bio-dad, to wish him a happy 79th birthday. He asked me about my book then said, “Maybe it will make the NY Times bestseller list.”  

Maybe my sister will read it and realize we belong to each other. Each time I type that word, ‘each other’, I don’t put a space and autocorrect lights it up as wrong. I don’t care any more, we belong to eachother…side by side before it’s too late. Second half of life thinking will change our view of who we are, who’s we are.

From my bio-dad’s mouth to God’s ears.