14 October 2011

Now as Then

I wrote this in 2003...January or February. We'd seen the death of Paul Wellstone, a dear friend teaching in Taiwan, two dear friends in Arizona...and were doing hospice with/for my sister in Seattle who was lying, dying from ovarian cancer. She passed in early March...immediately after that I was diagnosed with bladder cancer. I've been cancer free for 5 years now and have no fear of it returning. This writing seems as important now, as then.

***

With all that we've been experiencing this year, collectively and individually, I have some thoughts I'd like to communicate.

A Hopi Elder says about these times:

"You have been telling the people it is the eleventh hour, now you must go back and tell the people, this is the hour, and there are things to be considered. Where are you going? What are you doing? Are you in right relation? Where is your water? Do you know your garden? It is time to speak your truth. There is a river flowing now, very fast. It is so great and swift, there are those who will be afraid. They will hold on to the shore, and they will suffer greatly. The elders say, 'Push off of the shore into the middle of the river, keep your eyes open and your head above water.' And I say, 'See who is in there with you, and celebrate! For at this time in history your are to take nothing personally, least of all yourselves. For the moment that you do, your spiritual journey has come to a halt. Gather yourselves, banish the word struggle from your attitude and your vocabulary. All that you do must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration. We are the ones we've been waiting for.' "

Ivan Illich died on December 2nd, in Bremen, Germany.
In the last 20 years of his life, he suffered increasingly from a persistent growth on the side of his face, which he never treated, nor had diagnosed. In what was his most provocative and perhaps final comment on the "pursuit of health", Illich wrote: "Yes, we suffer pain, we become ill, we die. But we also hope, laugh, celebrate; we know the joy of caring for one another; often we are healed and we recover by many means. We do not have to pursue the flattening-out of human experience. I invite all to shift their gaze, their thoughts, from worrying about 'health care' to cultivating the art of living. And, today with equal importance, the art of suffering, the art of dying."

Paper covers rock, rock breaks scissors, scissors cut paper...but fear destroys magic...that has been the celebrated cause of "Civilisation"...parents beating the magic from the child...religious governments and governmental religions instilling fear to cloud the reality that we glimpse periodically when we are quiet by a river in the woods, or celebrating life amongst the dearest of our friends...

1 comment:

Alcyone said...

Well that just blew me away, so much so thatI lifted the entire hopi quote intact and pasted it down into today's post (and linked back). I truly hope you don't mind. I'd have taken your entire post but that would have been pushing it. :-)

- Alecto

Simplify...it's a global imperative now.

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