When I was a child, my mother had a Pat Boone recording entitled “Take Care of You for Me.” The specifics of his message are foggy now but I suspect it was something like, “Take care of yourself so that you can experience a long and happy life with your loved ones.” That phrase has been hovering at the edges of my mind for weeks and here is what has manifested...
I listened to that record until the grooves were deeply worn and Pat’s voice went from silken to gravelly. My young heart wished and hoped that my mother would follow those simple instructions so that our time as mother and daughter would not have been the roller coaster that it was. As previously stated in other posts, she unfortunately blamed the state of her health on others, including me. I stood by and watched her lose track of all her inner beauty, all her talents, and all the amazing gifts that she truly possessed.
As a result I eventually dedicated my life to my own health of body, mind, and spirit. At first I did it just for myself, to show myself that I could reach a new paradigm - I could reach for fulfillment, joy, and self-love. There has been the usual share of obstacles and hurdles to overcome, that often felt like climbing Mt. Everest as I worked through weaknesses and shortcomings. Though some of those foibles still occasionally threaten to impede my progress, what always remains is a steadfast determination to keep working toward bettering myself, to discover just how far I can stretch, what new frontiers I can unearth, how aware I can become.
Along this ongoing journey I arrived at a fresh understanding that was greatly influenced by a collective of Native American traditions. In comprehending the cultural view of the “web of life,” I understood how each action we take, each word we speak, each breath we take affects all other beings in some way. Finally this philosophy evolved into the recognition that each of us, each earthly component, may be seen as a cell in a larger body, therefore our individual triumphs and obstacles are intertwined, enmeshed. I started identifying ways that the health of my “cell” was indeed affecting the health of nearby “cells.”
From there I started to see my own affect on the immediate environment – rocks, water, plants, and so on – and how my ever renewing self affected other humans. I noticed that some people were asking questions on how I got to the state of health I’m in because they wanted to change something about themselves for the better. I realized how much joy I felt when I shared things that propelled my own healing journey. I wanted to pop champagne corks, throw confetti, and sound horns over another’s attainment of some new-found freedom in reaching a goal, just as much as I celebrated my own!
Why do I care about you taking care of you and becoming all you can be? Because I know the absolute anguish of watching my mother waste away and later have tearful regret for the things she didn’t do. Mom was a gifted artist and singer in her teen years but gave both up, thinking she wasn’t that great, her gifts not important. I care because of the beautiful sketch I shed tears over in her living room, the night of her death – a sketch that she finally started after her cancer diagnosis, one that may have become a painting if she’d had a few more months…or started sooner. I wish on stars and dandelion fuzz that there is something better in store for you.
I care because I know first hand how excruciatingly difficult it is to change, even though you want to in the worst, hand-wringing way. My legs have quivered, my stomach rolled, and my eyes teared when I’ve faced immense, seemingly impossible challenges. I have worn bare spots in pillowcases, chanting uncountable mantras and affirmations that I thought were going nowhere as I drifted in and out of fitful sleep. It’s a wonder that I haven’t floated away on the oceans of tears cried on the deserted beach of futility that inhabited my distressed mind. I care because I know the absolute thrill of, once and for all, overcoming a fear and reveling in a success, however small. I care because the skin of my knees has been worn thin praying for the next bit of inspiration that will spur me or a friend on to the next level.
Many times I have said, “I wish I could give you this on a silver platter” - “this” being comprehension of your spark of divinity, your light, and your magnificence. I can’t give it to you, but I can show you that it is possible because of my own untidy evolution. If I, who has suffered the persona of a scared wallflower can transform parts of myself, anyone can because we are ALL made of the same stuff. We may each have different starting places, yet we can all hold the same finish line in our vision. Every one of us is living, breathing, starlight brilliance.
Take care of you for me so we can cheer each other on! Do it so that we can be there for each other to rejoice in our victories and support each other when we run into stumbling blocks! And yes, do it because as the Dalai Lama says, one thing we all share in common is that we want to be happy. May we appreciate the happiness created as we journey…together.
With Much Love,