Just Listen

The storm has blown over and while there has been definite chaos from the upheaval, I am working feverishly to rebuild my world.  I am working hard on myself and as Rumi says, my job is not to seek love but instead look at the walls I have built around it.

Recent bouts of rage and emotional upheaval have forced me to examine my deeply seeded pain.  I am looking into the eye of my anger and asking what it wants me to know.  I am walking towards the intense emotions that I feel, rather than flee.  I am welcoming the painful growth that has come.  I am listening to the messages that come through the eruption of emotion.

Throughout the work that I am committed to doing so that I can be a better woman, friend, partner, and human being, I have been given the most amazing teachers who are divinely sent to offer me delicious tidbits of wisdom.  Recently, when I was volunteering in hospice I entered a room where the love inside was palpable. Almost breathtaking in her vibrancy this angel gifted me an important message that will stick around for my remaining days.  When I noticed that we have the same birthday, she immediately listed all the qualities of a Capricorn; strength, independence, tenacity, hard-working, task completing, don’t take-anything-from-anyone-attitude and basic bad-ass.  We immediately recognized the qualities in ourselves and laughed together at our headstrong stubbornness.  Then she grabbed my arm.  And then with that all so familiar fierceness she looked deep into my eyes and said, “do not let your strength get in the way.”  The silence that came afterwards left the words hanging in the air for what seemed like hours.  As her beloved partner walked past the bed, my patient gestured to her and told me that she is a Cancer.  She then said to me, “We are Earth dwellers.  Sometimes we have to carry the water of others. (nodding to her love)  And sometimes we must allow the water to wash over us.”  Her eyes closed and she smiled.  Moments later her eyes opened and she asked me what I wanted my kids to know before I died.  I explained that I wanted them to know without any hesitation that they are loved unconditionally and accepted for who they are.  She smiled and assured me that they knew that.  Our time together became quiet and touchably calm.  As we said goodbye, we both had tears rolling down our cheeks.  In a short period of less than an hour, I was given more wisdom than I could ever have hoped or anticipated. Filled with gratitude, I held her hand and thanked her.  She repeated to me, “do not let your strength get in the way.”  This statement has become my mantra.

The second divinely guided messenger comes also in the form of a hospice patient. This young man is facing his death valiantly. He is expressing his regrets and his peace with God and himself.  A burly, intimidating, large, rough-around-the-edges type man, I knew when I met him that he had a gift to share. At our first visit he was gracious in his appreciation and spoke often of not feeling worthy of receiving the care he was receiving in hospice.  He shared a story that occurred five years ago when he did not have money for a new car and was forced to ride the bus.  Each day that he rode the bus,  another passenger took the same route.  This other passenger was born with no legs and no arms.  My patient was in awe of this man’s outlook on life and admittedly told me that once he spent time with this person, he realized that complaining about life’s obstacles was not the way that he would like to live his life.  He made the decision that he was going to see the world differently.  With emotion he shared how much this person had made a difference in his life.  As he described his transfer from the in-patient hospice unit where I met him to the long-term care facility, he shared that he knew that this building would be his final resting spot.  He knew he was to die in that building.  He expressed to me the fear that he had about not knowing what it was going to be like, what the other patients might be like and if he would feel cared for.  As he described the arrival, he began to weep.  He spoke slowly as he described that as the van door opened and he was welcomed to the building where he knew he was going to die, the first person he saw was the man from the bus. He wept as he said he had come full circle and that it was a God moment to see this man again, at the end of his road. He told me the he that this man taught him that life is not to be judged or to be complained about.

One of my clients who is living with a brain injury shared with me that he mediates daily. This man requires supervision and support to complete the everyday tasks of living.  He is no longer able to care for himself and yet, he is the most peaceful and happy person I have ever known.  When I asked him what does he think about when he meditates, he looked at me and said, “nothing, I just listen”.

In addition to the beautiful people who my path crosses, I am constantly given the opportunity to pause and to listen.  The call of the morning birds, the rustling of the leaves that have begun to fall the ground, the sound of my bike wheel against the pavement, and the wind in the trees.  All reminders to listen.

Just listen.

I listen to the anger.  I listen to the wise words of others.  I listen to my inner thoughts.  I listen to nature.  I listen to the ones in my life that love me. Messages are everywhere.

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