I have been reflecting recently on how much gratitude is available from all of life’s circumstances and this lead me rather inevitably to look at how this shows up in the living and dying process. Upon first learning of my health opportunity years ago, I recall conditioning getting a hold of things and interpreting what I was faced with by pointing out how “things just won’t be the same”. And to an extent, this was, and still is, true. However, certainly not in the way that conditioned mind was offering it to be so. It’s version saw a contracted life. One where possibilities were diminished, opportunities even fewer, and basically, even though I never heard this directly, a life now just waiting to be over.
All of the initial medical advice I was receiving seemed to support this orientation to some degree. Kind of like, “We need to focus on fixing what’s wrong with you (your body) so that you can have your life back again. But, just know that things are going down hill from here so don’t get too excited about your prospects of ever being ‘you’ again.” It seemed that both the internal voices and the external voices were perfectly aligned on how things would be moving forward: a slow march towards death by trying really hard to fix what which apparently wasn’t ever going to be fixed. (Of course the irony in all of that was that the ‘you’ I was referring to myself as, was often no more than a series of conditioned survival behaviors that I now wasn’t going to get to act out as freely as I could have before my health opportunity arose. In other words, the thing that was likely not going to be the same was the relationship with the illusion of separateness that I had been identify myself as, and all the behaviors that were supporting that illusion.)
The interesting thing about this was that there was a perspective I’d identify with from time to time that actually enjoyed this prognosis. Why? Because it was a perspective that got the attention that had always been craved-albeit in a form that was realistically never going to be sustainable, as it required an ever-worsening condition to keep up the attention. Incorporated into this perspective was the insatiable karmic drive to be seen as special, no matter how that came about, and this situation was the perfect fit for being seen as special. And to my conditioned mind, special was the ultimate proof that I (it) was “real” (I have to be a someone to be special, and if I’m a someone than I must exist/be real.) When I look at this now of course, it’s pretty clear that this perspective was coming from conditioned mind, but at the time I never saw it as such. It was simply the other side of the duality of the doom and gloom of “things just won’t be the same”. It was understood as the side of the continuum where I got to, for short periods of time, feel good (special) for being in the situation I was in.
It feels like over the past year my physical health has improved immensely, which, to the extent of feeling stronger and more alive and energetic, it has. However, what actually seems so for me is that I have slowly but surely begun to build up and nurture a relationship with the part of me who has the health opportunity. It is to the point now where he feels like he is in good hands…and he is. He is cared for and prioritized throughout the course of each day, and is no longer alone in having to believe the bullying voices telling him that something is wrong with him that really can’t be fixed. As a result, what seems to be happening is that the energy that was locked up with my attention being on my life being diminished, opportunities lessened etc., is now available in abundance.
With attention ever-increasingly being focused on Life’s possibilities, irrespective of the conditions, situations or circumstances I may find myself in, health or otherwise, I see opportunities to live a larger life now than ever before. (Thank goodness “things just won’t be the same”!) This tends to build even more energy for me to the point where, with mindfulness and exquisite rest periods throughout the day, I’m able to be as physically active as I could ever have dreamed of being and more grateful than ever for this. Physical activity before was a given. Something expected, and even, at times, used as a means of escaping attending to myself. Now, it feels like a gift I simply never take for granted and has become a primary expression of my gratitude.
Yes, things are definitely not the same…and thank goodness for that. What a great gift All of Life’s circumstances truly are.