Thursday, January 4, 2007

Be Here Now

Be Here Now

As a veteran of six surgeries in four years during a challenging tussle with cancer many years ago, I know from whence I speak when I recently proffered the concept of Surgery as a Rite of Passage. The ritualistic aspects of surgery- being plucked out of our familiar environment, being coerced into ingesting, or being injected with, mind and body-altering substances and not being in control of our current circumstances - are obvious similarities of both 'rites' and the surgery process. And it occurred to me that holding what is otherwise a very difficult and often painful experience in this light could be an extremely useful perspective. Rites of Passage take us through an uncomfortable period with the built-in outcome being transformation and the expansion of our consciousness into a better, wiser, stronger place. It seems to me a very worthwhile viewpoint from which to prepare for surgery.

Now I suddenly have a deeper understanding of why this is such a meaningful insight for me. In the past week, I've rescued 2 spiders from the bathtub as I was about to shower. This rescue mode is the result of a harmlessness attitude that I've been incorporating into my life - a respect for the life of all living things. Being a New Yorker I'm still wrestling with the roach population in this regard, but the spiders got my attention and I assisted them up and out to nearby plants. What I noticed when they 'saw' me coming was that they would roll themselves up in a tight little ball - like they really weren't there and if they made themselves tiny enough, I wouldn't notice them and I'd leave them alone.

This is often our very natural and instinctive MO when we're faced with a fearful prospect like surgery. There are few things more traumatizing than the anticipation of this ordeal, and our fear often takes us into such denial that we roll up into a tiny ball, figuratively speaking. Our bodies get tight and contracted and the body/mind system is being flooded by the anxiety producing chemicals that are so valuable when the fight or flight mode needs to kick in. However, in this situation, there's no dinasour chasing us. We're face to face with a date for surgery and, short of divine intervention, we're going to be a major player in this drama.

Here's where the Rite of Passage idea comes in to play. We let go and own the moment. OK here I am - I don't understand why this is here or what I've done to deserve this onerous ordeal in my life, but here I am. And really getting "here I am" is the start of being-here-now. When we're physically or emotionally running rapidly in the other direction from the hand life is dealing us we're totally disempowered. When we stand our ground and surrender to the situation and subsequent process, we open ourselves to the invisible energies that are an intrinsic part of every breath we breathe. A section of this very famous Goethe quote seems appropriate here:
"…….the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way…….." Obvioiusly this quote is all about commitment - embracing the here and now. I say, as challenging as this situation might seem, commit to the surgery experience. Be bold and honor it for exactly what it is - the next your life.

Clearly, it's human nature to be terrified in certain circumstances. Not being fearful when presented with the prospect of impending surgery would border on the aberrant. Being heroic and brave is not about being fearless, it's about moving through the process, regardless of the fear, trusting, perhaps for the very first time in our lives, the essence of ourselves. We are body, mind and most importantly, spirit. Think Lance Armstrong. As I write this I see him so clearly winning the Tour de France over and over again, when he had been so desperately ill that his very life was in question to say nothing of his ever participating in a race again. Be very still for a few moments. Listen and feel the energy within you which is beating your heart, breathing within your lungs, digesting your latest meal, to mention just a few of its never-ceasing tasks. The spirit - the energy that championed Lance is available to all of us - at all times. And the more quiet we become, the more subtle and delicious is our experience of this ever-present energy.

Regardless of the challenges before you, be-here-now in the present and trust in this spirit, this energy that sustains us from the very first beat of our hearts throughout our entire lives. You are now acknowledging your connection to the Life Force of the Universe - God, The Source, The Force - however you chose to identify It. We are all intrinsically connected to It. Embrace that connection. Let It empower you. Be-here-now.