Posted by: drjamm | October 2, 2008

Being Present

This past Monday night I arrived early for a meeting in an new-to-me neighbourhood. Because this is a new “inner-city” neighbourhood (I live outside the city), I was especially on the alert for trouble. I seem to have the stereotype that something violent or dangerous is more likely to happen in this inner-city neighbourhood than in my own backyard. I kept my eyes sharp for suspicious details and followed all the “street smart” strategies my former Kung-Fu teachers taught me. I am not saying that I was right to hold this double standard — I am just reporting that this is what I did.

Anyway, last Monday night, I skipped dinner to make it to the meeting before rush hour started. Since I had some time on my hands, I decided to walk to the corner store 6 blocks away to see if I could find a snack. Almost immediately, I was aware that another woman was walking on the same sidewalk — going the same direction. Because of my precautions about being in a “strange neighbourhood,” I crossed the street so we could avoid encountering each other. When I got to the corner store, she walked in and, again, I maneuvered to avoid connecting with her — keeping my distance. On the way home, we got on different sides of the street and walked back the way we had come. Eventually, however, in the last two blocks of our journey, our paths crossed, we said hello, and we walked the remaining blocks together.

We began our brief conversation in praise of the fine Autumn sunshine we had both been enjoying that day. Thank the Goddess for giving us weather so us Humans would always have something interesting with which to begin our conversations! After appreciating the glorious Autumn sunshine, this woman began to tell me her story. She had just commuted into the city to be with her husband who was in hospice care in a house on that same street. He was so seriously ill that he had already clinically died three times in the past year, but somehow — without resuscitation from his doctors — had revived and lived some months more after each “death.” This woman and I talked frankly about the extraordinary attachment her husband was showing for this world and wondered in awe if he still had some important life goals that kept him coming back each time his physical body faltered.

Finally, our footsteps brought us to the door of her husband’s hospice home and it was time for me to say goodbye. We had talked for less than 10 minutes together. I was so touched by the gift of her and her husband’s story. I was so moved by the extraordinary dedication to and Presence this woman brought to her husband each week as she traveled from far out of the city to be with him. I parted this woman’s company expressing my wish that both she and her husband could find what their Souls most needed from the difficult journey that lay before them.

I have thought about this woman ever since. And I have thought about my behaviour and my attempts to avoid her because I was in a “strange neighbourhood.” And, also, I have examined my motives and behaviour more deeply. Before I exchanged pleasantries about the weather with this woman, I think I could sense a heaviness, or something different about her, and at a unconscious gut level, I just wanted to stay in my own little protected “bubble” and not get involved. Now, I can see the Universe gave me three chances to be in this woman’s beautiful Presence — thank you Universe for your patience with me! Lucky for me – and maybe for this woman — we did connect and share a moment of Light and Connection in a period of great darkness and challenge in her and her husband’s life. I am humbled by my attempts to avoid Being Present for this woman; and I am grateful that the Universe found a way to help me find my way into Being Present.

May Love and Light always surround this woman and her husband during their remaining days together. So may it be.

(bright heart singing, copyright 2008 – jamm. Creative commons attribution, non-commercial sharing only (translation: feel free to quote me in context or use this entry but please always credit me for my work, thanks.)


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