Last week I received a phone call from a dear friend In Washington State, which was not a surprise as we had plans for a few months that he would be coming here to Laguna for a weeks’ vacation.
He would ride his motorcycle from Washington down the coast and visit friends along the way. Spend a week with me then go off to San Diego and perhaps Mexico to visit more friends. He was to be here April 22 for a concert the trip was built around. It had snowed on Easter and the roads were not conducive for anyone on a motorcycle. My friend has been making this ride for some 25 years and it’s become a ritual. Some of his stories on his rides, have been rather wonderful since he is a big fellow riding a Harley getting stopped by the police is not uncommon. When they find out he is a judge, or a lawyer who represents police, or see his military pins on his jacket, they stop the interrogation, and begin “ What freedom there is on the road.”
This call was different. After pleasant silly greetings, Mark said,” I won’t be riding down.” My response was, "I see you got an attack of good sense.” We then discussed plans, trains and automobiles, getting here, traveling from place to place.
"The reason I’m not riding is I’ve been having headaches, and after ruling out needing a new pair of glasses, it seems I have a cancerous brain tumor…"
The joking stopped, he assured me it was operable and was not going to metastasize.
We continued setting up his arrival dates and plans. “By the way, no one knows. I’m really not ready to talk about this.” As it turns out, he flew into San Diego and stayed a few days with another mutual friend. On the drive up, they had car problems and in the heat he lost vision in one eye temporally. How scary !!!
At my house the headaches became worse. He would have long naps, be up at 8am, nap at 10am, and not eat well. His last full day here was the day of my first book-signing, the other compelling event for this trip. He said he needed to stay home, that he was too uncomfortable and didn’t want to feel stuck. This man loves the sun and the beach, and under any other circumstances, he would be the first to dash out the door to spend an afternoon in a lovely house on the waterfront.
Monday morning I’m up a 6a.m. put on the coffee and go to sit. While I’m sitting I realize I am calling in all the love helpers, saints of lost causes, saint of little things, St. Frances, devas, angels, Buddha, all the saints in the universe to support and help my friend. I don’t want anything bad to happen, he can’t be sick etc. I am a big mess on the verge of a personal meltdown, crying, and grieving his loss, the whole shebang.
What about Metta4All? Where is my gratitude? Here is a friend who survived Vietnam, storms at sea, and thousands of motorcycle miles. He has friends who love him. Last night out of nowhere another mutual friend showed up for dinner who has access to a brilliant neurologist for a second opinion on Mark's brain tumor. Mark has been bathed in love for two weeks. Now he is going home in good shape to deal with whatever comes next.
My face begins to smile, my heart is hopeful. I have to laugh at myself. Perception, perception, perception, feelings, feelings, feelings, impermanence, impermanence, impermanence.
What a great example! Here I am teaching about the skillful process of emotion, stress reduction, and health. And in two days I am able to take myself to the brink of despair and get caught in fear, doubt, and personal greed, and my grief, too.
Just a few minutes of breathing a meditation and here we are back on track. I go into the garden where he is having coffee and tell Mark what has just happened. We both get tearful and laugh.
Then I remember that wonderful thought from Edgar Casey,
"Prayer is me talking to God. Meditation is me listening”.
Sometimes you just have to do both!
To contact Dr. Barbara Wright visit www.meta4all.com