Thursday, June 27, 2013

small rituals

I did it, I deleted my Huff-Po app. It was a big deal for me to uninstall this application last night. I'll tell you why. Ever since I returned from the heart hospital with the news that I had 6-12 months left to live I felt even more anxious at night. Okay, I already live with anxiety, this increase was too much. I needed several things to occupy my mind besides when I'm going to die, the sound of my weak yet strong heart beat etc. usually I turn to mindfulness meditation practice or even tonglen/loving-kindness meditations however I really didn't want to centre and be in the now: now being my palliative reality. So I used a few things for escape. Primarily I used to look at our Canadian astroanut's pictures from space. They were beautiful and left lovely scenery in my head to drift off to.
Shortly after discovering his pictures on social media, I found out about two cases involving human right being appealed in the supreme court (of the US). I installed the HUff-Po application to include that as part of my in-bed-time ritual. I had hoped that I would live to see the results of the court cases. In the meantime I had all but stopped keeping up with regular news. Actually I cut down on regular news when I started working in the inner city years ago. I had my fill of drug-overdoses, poverty, street fights and murder that I didn't need to hear about it at a national or international level. So, "gay voices" on Huff-po was the only 'news' I'd read. In that time several states introduced legislation to recognize equality of all individuals. Yesterday was the day I was looking forward to: living long enough to see the outcome of the court cases. I did it, now what. Retiring to bed I realized I had no more interest in reading the news on my app. It's going to be many, many more years before equality ever comes to that country and I probably won't be alive to see it, so why keep paying attention. In the end, it doesn't affect me. I live here, in the land of the truly free. Whatever freedom really means. I just giggled to myself, seeing the tubing I'm attached to, the restricts me to living within the confines of my house minus a few feet out my backdoor. Most people think would think I'm anything but free. Sure, I can't just hop into my car anymore and go wherever I want, do whatever I want, see whomever I want. I am more free than most people who are entrapped by the rat race of going to work, going to a store, purchasing yet another thing I don't need and then storing it away. Freedom is a state of mind, not a physical thing. I don't have to worry about traffic, line-ups, being late for work, etc. Though I am confined to my house I can appreciate all that I am, have had and possibly will experience in the days to come. I could, if I wanted to exercise resentment, greed, and other negative emotions, I could. Those would also keep me trapped and enslaved to believing that I am stuck with no where to go. Instead, I have the choice, the freedom, to CHOOSE gratitude, acceptance and joy for the time that I still have - even though it is limited to these walls.

We all journey towards death. It is inevitable yet very rarely spoken about. How we get there differs for all of us. Some have long journeys towards death and others face it immediately (as in a traffic accident).

Anyway, back to freedom.... the world is also witnessing another big event. The inevitable passing of Nelson Mandela. In honour of his fight for freedom from within four walls I leave you with this thought:

"For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others" Nelson Mandela

Please be kind to each other - every one of us. Gay, straight, black, white, Asian, First-Nations, Aboriginal, conservative, radical, liberal or moderates. More compassion is really needed in this world. People can still disagree with each other, even at a primal level, but still show respect, tolerance and kindness. When our differing "beliefs" do not imprison another living being, that's true freedom. Perhaps I will return to "loving-kindness" meditations as my new bed-time ritual.