25 January, 2007

There is NO place like home...

...especially, when you didn't plan to be away for so long. And made all the more challenging when where one is staying, there is no computer, modem or cable access to the web. Waaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh.

OK, enough whining. I have returned from an unplanned week-long trip to Los Angeles. I am now choosing to be open about the fact that my mother appears to be in failing health. My preference was to keep that information private but it wasn't working out that way. Therefore,since I was always honest from the pulpit, I see no reason to withhold now. I have decided to be up-front and authentic with my process in hopes that it will be of value to someone else in some way. My sharing this information is not about her "story" but about the Truth along the way.

Last week, her condition became quite critical and I had to go up there for assistance. I thought (and packed) for a two day visit. NOT. With a visit to the ER (not the TV show) and subsequent hospital admittance, I was staying at her apartment for the week even though it meant that I took to wearing a lot of my mothers clothes. Being that I was in L.A. and not some boon dock town, I had access to purchasing sundries, etc. and the Starbucks locations I needed. For everything else,I got very creative.

Although, Mom is still hospitalized. She and I felt I could come home for awhile. I missed my kittygirl, Belle. I missed my house, my bed, my neighborhood, my computer, my fella.... It is good to be back even though I feel quite punchy and tired. Today was about doing laundry and answering the 500+ e-mails I received. There are a lot of loose ends to attend to; and I will need to return to L.A.

The depth of gratitude I have for my spiritual practice and ministerial training has tripled during this trip. I do not know how the average person would survive this kind of stress without using prayer, meditation, HeartMath, and breathing. Throughout it all, I have been able to keep my sense of humour and my witness state. Yes, I have been tired and even cranky at times, but not long enough to create further challenges or negative situations.

Yes, I was even able to appreciate the bizarre irony of watching an episode of Grey's Anatomy in the ER waiting room where they pull the plug on the father of a lead character (George). Found a lucky penny on the floor of the ER while sitting with my mother. Lucky pennies for me, are a reminder of my dear friend, Linda Van who died of colon cancer almost three years ago. Her mother told her before she died, that if Linda found a penny, it was a reminder that she was watching out for her. I knew then that Linda was with me as I sat vigil for my mother.

There are many linear and un-fun elements one must handle in situations such as these. (By the way, let this be a reminder and endorsement for people to fill out their Advance Directives or "Five Wishes" documents in advance of something critical or before it might become necessary.) For example, I was glad that I had been guided to write down a list of her current medications so that I could tell the medical staff. Other things, I am learning on the fly. When I get beyond all this, I think there is a book or pamphlet that needs to be written about Critical Pastoral Care. So many of us are ill-prepared or trained as to how to care for one another--especially since we no longer reside in tribes or communities where we learn from watching the cycles of life.

Now for some Rev-ness:

This trip was a great opportunity to turn something quite difficult and oftentimes, scary into a real-life practicum of Science of Mind. There was a period of time when it was touch and go, as they say. I kept my mother informed and did not sugar-coat information so that we could make conscious choices together. After completing a difficult conversation where I told her that she could 'leave' if she needed or wanted to, she told me she was not ready to go. I said that I would support any choice she made; and, if she wanted to stick around, she had to help me. For example: My mother's white blood count was extremely elevated and off-the charts.
So I asked the nurse what number should it be. I was told that between five and eleven were normal. When I left my mom that night, I told her to think about the number eleven every chance she got. I didn't even explain to her how or why but just told her to think the number eleven for her white blood cells. Well, we didn't get down to 11 ( I amused myself with this because I gave thought to a Spinal Tap reference) but we brought it down by about 20 points. And on the oxygen machine, her o2 count was too low. Again, I asked the tech what number did we want to aim for. Above 90 would be good. OK. I sat down and did my spiritual practice including visualization the machine in front of me registering the number 90. By the time I left that night, it was at 92. My mother has never seen the movie, The Secret or read any Religious Science books. Yet, the principles work when you are willing to create a strong desire and allow it to manifest.

One week later, in watching tonight's episode of Grey's Anatomy the ending narrative was describing how we are all used to the expected behaviors in our lives but " ...(it's) the unexpected is what changes our lives." I so agree. Again, all the more reason to get certain things in order, your ducks lined up and cultivate your spiritual practice concurrently.

In the mean time, I continue to take small steps to getting the Open At The Top Study Group moving forward. The HeartSpace Well-Being Center is also moving forward slowly. Dr. Jim and I are trusting the timing with all this.

For those who read this who have loved ones who are smokers, please ask them, beg and implore them to find a way to quit and support them through it. It is a matter of life and breath.


City Slackers

No, I did not misspell the title of this post. Yes, I was playing off of the comedy film title, "City Slickers" about a bunch of...