The Times of Our Lives

The muse has been whispering to me for some time to write. I have wanted to explore “daughter-energy” in my life, and the lives of others.  I, who am daughter-less, have felt the vibrant, enthusiastic healing energy of several young women who have come into my life as practitioners or friends, some both. I am grateful for their youthful wisdom and intuition, for stories of motherhood journeys, life transitions, and new passions.  Early adulthood, from an Ayurvedic perspective, is the Pitta time of life – the fire and water elements – it is the time of action, flow, dynamic energy, the time of ‘doing’.

Happy Photogapher!

Thank you Madelyn for grabbing my camera, taking this photo, and grabbing my glasses! Much gratitude to Orson’s parents, grandparents, and the aunt who passed him on to me, sharing the joy!

New grand babies in the lives of friends has made me notice, ponder, and want to write about how the role of grandma transforms, softens, fills hearts in new and wonderful ways.  I momentarily, and gratefully, fell under the spell myself when baby Orson (son of Signe Rose and Trevor, grandson of Paula and Greg), from of a distance of a few inches starred deep into my eyes, smiled, giggled, and for thirty minutes pulled me into his world of joy and wonderment, right after he pulled off my glasses! (Unfortunately for me, and others who fell under his spell, Orson lives on the east coast!).  In Ayurveda childhood is the time of the Kapha dosha, the elements of water and earth – a time of ‘groundedness’, nurturing.  This is what young children need, but it is also what they give.  (During this time, for their own balanced growth, they need the air and ether elements of stimulus, creativity, and movement.).

Unfortunately, the muse has been stifled once again by cancer.  I wrote previously that “spring trumps cancer”, but cancer can be tenacious and just when I felt it was becoming smaller, taking less space in our lives, it has became very large, leaving little room for much else. I have danced with cancer twice, had friends and family members who followed its jagged journey to the end – heroes whose bodies succumbed but whose spirits were victorious.  Others, with strength, grace, and tears, rerouted the journey and found the path to healing. This time it has invaded my husband’s body and life and it seems more surreal than my own crazy cancer dance.

“This isn’t supposed to happen, we’re already ‘dealing with’ cancer!”, “our plates are already full!”, “we are overwhelmed” – all the expected first thoughts. I move quickly to ‘information gathering’, my default.  But that mode has its limits of usefulness.  There is the waiting – for pathology reports, treatment plans, and doctors on vacations while your life hangs on thread of unknown strength.  There is the letting go of everything, then choosing what you need to pick up again. Quiet conversations, tears, laughter, peaceful moments, resolve, and resolutions occupy our days.

And there is watching one’s best friend, soul-mate, partner, beloved be in pain, turn inward, grasp for understanding, question what the future holds, find his own grace under fire. Though I have been, and I am, in that place myself, each person’s experience is uniquely their own. Where Mike goes I can not follow, any more than he can follow me.

IMG_6296Mike has always been ‘one step’ removed, carrying on with the routines of his life – work, chores, even while being supportive and concerned about my health dramas.  Though aging has brought the usual challenges, he was grounded in his ways.

We are in the Vata (dosha) period of life – dominated by the elements of air and either.  A time of creativity, but many diseases of aging are from too much Vata.  Groundedness, nurturing moisture, calm restfulness are all important to support good health as the body ages and the air and ether elements dominate.  In the natural course of many people’s lives, as they age, adult children bring Pitta energy of dynamism and action to help when energies falter, and grandchildren bring the nourishing elements of earth and water to off set the imbalances of air and either.  So where does this leave us, and many others of our generation who do not have extended families of balanced energetic dynamics?

Water and earth balance air and ether. Grateful for the lushness of Nature on a warm sunny day, we try to stay immersed in the green, the bird songs, feet planted in the ground, we find nourishment.  Marred somewhat by constant traffic noise and movement (Vata air energy), we sink into the woods and let our eyes feast on our yard.  Gone awry from neglect, it is still lush and offers blossoms from past efforts (along with the weeds!). Vibrantly colored Rhodies, blue and white wood hyacinths, forget-me-nots, wild bleeding hearts, flowering bitter cherry trees and old apple trees offer healing bouquets.  We accept them with gratitude.

P.S. We also accept baby ‘hits’ and young adults who want to re-vitalize momentarily stymied oldsters.

You can read my article about Ayurveda here: Mother of all Healing, which includes links to other resources.

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wild bleeding-hearts carpet the woods and spill into our yard this time of year.

Our Precious Children

IMG_1464_2The tragic sadness of today leaves most of us speechless, especially because it involves so many young children, and because it comes just days after a shooting closer to home in a mall in Portland. A mall, a school, a few months ago, a temple. All places everyday people go everyday, and where they usually feel safe.  Young friends who are parents have posted their compassion, shock, and anger on face book. I am sad that as parents they now have to think, “could this happen to my child, at our school?”  We all think of children, teachers, people we love whose lives, ages, work place are not unlike that of the victims.  With compassion we think of the tragedy that a son, someone’s child, was so disturbed that he killed his parents, then turned the gun on others and himself.

The arguments and blaming have begun about gun control, mental health care, both complex, multifaceted issues, but to me the larger issue is how we value children as a culture, a society.  From TV programs and music that teach and desensitize young people to violence, to the growing incidents of domestic violence, as a culture we do not cherish children in a manner that makes them so precious no one would think of harming them. Today’s tragedy is a situation where a broken adult-child committed a heinous act that has left many children dead and traumatized.

I know most people do feel children are precious and special, but we must be proactive to change those aspect of our society that counter our personal values.

I’ve had the joy of watching friends and family raise children who were indeed cherished, but a life time in social work, including working with those with psychiatric problems, has given me more than enough exposure to the damage done when a child is not loved, respected, and treated as the Divine gift he or she is.

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The very special and precious son of friends,
now twice as big!

The greatest way to honor those who have been killed, and those whose lives have been changed forever, is not to let the incident, nor the person who did the killing, invoke fear and paranoia, but rather to let the incident invoke a heightened awareness that every child we see, whether we know them or not, deserves our smiles, our love, our kindness, our concern.  If you view every child you encounter with a deep sense of personal responsibility for them, you contribute to them feeling precious, and perhaps that child will grow to be a person who will change how we value children.

There are cultures we consider ‘primitive’, or ‘underdeveloped’ whose attitudes toward children make our cultural values toward children seem barbaric.

Endless prayers to those who have suffered today.