Monday, September 08, 2008

An Alternative View



In the course of the past week, I have had two, of the dearest people in my life, ask me heart-felt questions borne of similar circumstances in their respective lives. I have, separately, and individually, responded to each as my Lovely Muse has directed and encouraged me to. But, as we know all too well from past experience, She does not allow any matter of Life and living to pass away without lingering consideration and lessons. So, my Dear (and persevering) Reader, I share what continues to inhabit my mind with You.

Both of my lovely Friends are lamenting, and seeking healthy and constructive ways to deal with, the insidious (though quite natural) ravages of time and wear on the health and lives of Parents. It seems that both of these Parental Figures are frustrated and discouraged with their respective health problems. And their Spirits have lost what had been, heretofore, joyous and enthusiastic outlooks and attitudes. My one Friend asked for help in “finding” her Mother. She is seeking a way to recapture and breathe new vigour into the energy levels and perceptual powers of her Mom. She is saddened by the presence of a wearied and dispirited woman who was “only yesterday” a font of liveliness and creative intensity. My second Friend asked that I suggest a way for her to help her Dad (who, as a result of several recent strokes and the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, is not faring well) to find a renewed and invigorated Faith and sense of imminent Wellness.

Though I offered completely separate, and seemingly different ideas to these two caring and loving Daughters, I am, now, seeing a harmony in the theme of what I brought to them. To the first, I suggested activities that would engage the Daughter, the Grandchildren, and the Mother in exercises of revisiting and celebrating memories of past moments of enjoyment and accomplishment … while recording them in some tangible forms that would provide an indelible record of and resource for revisiting the memories. To the second Daughter, I brought the thought of bringing her Dad a new and fresh view of his life and circumstance through eyes and perspectives of others (including the Daughter) who have a concrete and realistic awareness of Beauties and Possibilities, stolen (by the pains and disconsolations of his illness) from her Father.

And, I now realize that I have suggested, to both of these exceptional women … the same basic thing. A different way of sensing Life’s elements. See it all differently. Guide your Loved One in discovering the Optional (for it is readily available … at our option) Awareness. Smell the Fragrance that is hidden behind the stench of the Obvious. Feel the Comforts that lie behind the curtain of Pain’s insistence. Engage in all that seems repugnant and worthy of discard. I am suggesting something that runs contrary to all that seems natural and “normal.” Embrace these aspects of Life and Living! For they are natural and worthy of respectful consideration. Just see the beauty that is hidden in their potentials. Do not allow the ultimate Monster of Fear to cripple your steps along this part of Life’s pathway. Know the victory of pushing away Fear’s blinders … to permit Life to illuminate new vistas.

I know that my enthusiastic enjoyment of the fragrance of the pungency of decaying organic matter … would seem to be strange (at the very best … if not, weird) to those who are ‘turned off’ by what they consider the stench of “rot.” But I find encouragement in the magic of Life’s reminder that nothing passes away without offering new life, in the form of composted nourishment, through the “passing away” of what was Before. So, I find genuine enjoyment in walking through bogs and swamplands. And the fragrance of that “passing away” is the nectar of new life and rebirth.

Whilst I listen to others of my generation bemoaning the loss of their former levels of physical and emotional abilities … I relish the wonder of the “fermentation” of my past experiences and circumstances into what I have determined to transform into a “vintage” that will give satisfaction and joys to any who wish to spend a moment savouring my presentation of the elixir of my experiential brew. All of those fresh elements of past happenings have far more worth and merit as they are distilled in vats of time and perspective. And I have chosen to celebrate them not as something lost … but as something turned into the fine wine of new worth. I get a nice buzz off of what my past has created. [grin] Don’t you see, My Dear reader? It is a simple matter of accepting the readily available “eyes” of Life … instead of the popular offering of our world’s more common view … death. I choose Light over Darkness.

So, this is what I suggested to my two remarkable Friends. I was offering the idea that they might find some ways to invite their Loved Ones out onto the balcony of new vistas and views … offer them a glass of a refreshing beverage distilled from lovely memories and delightful experiences … and have an intimate celebration of the wonder that is Life. Life as it is … right now … and right here … built on and made up of all of the magnificent collection of all of those harvested and fermented experiences and circumstances. This is what is available to each of us … if only we choose to make it so.

And it is just that simple … a matter of choice. Energized and brought to bear with a bit of applied effort. For, don’t you know, effort is required. This is not something that is presented on a platter of convenience. We do not hear any frequent voices of encouragement to see and hear Life’s possibilities. For, alas, all the world about us is voicing the same song of discouragement and despair. So, effort and creative energy is required … but more than well worth all that is invested. I promise!

18 comments:

Suldog said...

You have it right, of course. It IS all in how we look at it. And you look at it in such a calm, serene, and unique way. Here's hoping that when life presents me with an "alternate" view - as it will, for all of us, at some point - I have the grace to remember this lesson.

aims said...

Just yesterday The Man and I were looking at a picture of the Queen Mary and I said - perhaps someday we could take a cruise on something like that? And he said - well maybe when we aren't as mobile....

I gasped and said - I'm never going to be in a wheelchair - no matter how bad the pain gets!

He answered with a - no no - that's not what I mean - I meant when we aren't wanting to climb the rockwall anymore.....

It irks me no end when my aged aunt bemoans her life and her inability to do things. She has all the means to do many things right at her fingertips - a motorized chair to get her anywhere she wants - walkers - canes - you name it! She chooses to sit and feel sorry for herself. I have butted my head against that brick wall now for too many years.

My mother on the other hand went out kicking and screaming that she didn't want to give up just yet. Bless her soul.

lime said...

hopefully i can display such grace when the time comes.

i was blessed enough to have all 4 of my grandparents until i was 12 and the remaining 3 until i was an adult. my paternal grandparents used to tell me, "don't get old, girl. it's a terrible thing to get old." i know they struggled a lot with their health but they kept active in every way they could and really i didn't take either of them as having complaining spirits. everyone has their frustration spill out sometimes. my maternal grandmother advanced in years, but by golly, that girl never got old.

Lisa L. said...

I definitely needed this reminder as I work through my health problems, including diabetes. It is so easy to give up. So much harder (but more worthwhile) to keep moving and enjoy the journey. Thank you.

jillie said...

Life is too short...we need to just put our all into it everyday. Not just certain days or when we have time. I told my mother that when I come back from WI she needed to come back with me for a month or so. She is here now and I am enjoying every minute with her that I can. Unfortunately she is at the stage in her life that she thinks she can't do anything anymore. I try to push her but don't want her to feel bad that she is limited. I guess I still see her in my eyes and heart when she was younger and full of energy. Either way...she's my mom and I love her to pieces.

Hope all is well with you John-Michael! I've missed you and your posts.

Anonymous said...

I don't think we have to become elderly or limited to lack "spirit of the soul". But you are right John-Michael relish the past see all its glory & its happiness. But don't forget to see TODAYS wonder & Tomorrows. Afterall what was yesterday makes us what we are TODAY.

John-Michael said...

You view, My Dear SulDog Friend, is a reliable and consistent source of reassuring delight for my Soul. With the wonderful perspective that you have adopted, I have no concern for either your future personal happiness, or the happiness that will accompany you as you touch the lives of all who are so blessed as to be in your company. I know that this is always so for me.

Sure do love you, Jim, My friend.

John-Michael said...

I delight, My Darling Aims, in the thought of You and "The Man" in the bosom of the lovely relationship that you share. Your comments about the interactions between the two of you reflect an alive and vibrant energy and respect that thrills my Being.

The two of you have, no doubt, many, many happy happenings to embrace in your future. And I counld not be more pleased to think of such a blessing for so deserving a person! I do, indeed, love You!

John-Michael said...

"Grace!" There is a word that I have come to see embodied in the core of who you, My Darling Lime, are. Yep! You have that Grace thing going on. And you bear it quite handsomely (if I do say so myself!)

I know that all of your tomorrows will be enhanced by that beautiful Core that is the loveliness of your very impressive Personhood. (which is part of what makes you so darned lovable [smile])

John-Michael said...

You, My Dear Lisa, gave me a moment's pause ... as I allowed my Self to whisper a quiet and altogether sincere request to Life ... that you may know a moment's respite, and an instant's joy in a comforting and encouraging release from all concern and discomfort that may accompany your physical challenges. Peace and tranquil enjoyment! This I pray for you.

Lovingly ...

John-Michael said...

I can not help but smile and delight in the thought of moments spent in your company ... My Very Dear and Lovely Jillie. How wonderful that you and your Mum can share memory-creating moments with each other. I do envy her your companionship ... and you her company. Please savour every tick of that all-to-hasty clock!

I do love you (don't you know!)

John-Michael said...

Ah yes! Dear Anonymous Friend. 'Tis altogether true. My Yesterdays are the ingredients that I, today, blend into the succulent dishes that I savour. And delicious is the lovingly combined concoction of all that I have been blessed with knowing and experiencing.

I thank you for your voice ...

Anonymous said...

Thank you John-Michael.

Lisa L.

Classic Charm said...

My dear and oh so loved man. You are a wonderful gift...thank you!
Hugs,
Rose

John-Michael said...

You, My Anonymous Friend, are very welcome.

namaste ...

John-Michael said...

Dearest Rose, My Precious One, please allow me the personal moment to let you know how you have inhabited and filled my wanting Spirit. Mine is a daily walk in sometimes-overwhelming aloneness, accompanied by an aching emptiness that echoes with a painful and debilitating yearning that I oft have difficulty dealing with. You, My Darling Friend, reach into that yawning chasm and deliver comfort and peaceful rest to my Soul.

So, you see, My Dear, ours is not a gift ... one to the other. But a sharing. A mutuality of walking and supporting each other along this path that we have been blessed to join each other on. I am humbly grateful to Life for 'Us.'

Lovingly ...

Maria said...

Thank you!
It's always dark just before the dawn... Patience and ability to adjust your point of view according to the situation you' re dealing with are priceless!
In my family,we have been telling each other since the stroke incident that "όπως βρήκαμε, όχι όπως ξέραμε..." Meaning that we have to let go of the past coz going back there is not doable (and living "now" in terms of "then" can be dangerous),and adjust to what we've got right in front of us...
Not easy at all times though...

John-Michael said...

We are agreeing to live the life "As we have found it ... not as we knew it." (if I translate the Greek correctly.[smile]) And that is, indeed, a lovely (and poetic)way of saying what is certainly a Truth, My Darling Maria. For, as we are learning, Life offers today's Offering as a Gift of the present ... just as yesterday's Gift was of yesterday ... and neither permanent nor transferable. To accept, appreciate (in all of its aspects), embrace, and even celebrate each Gift in its own right, is the "trick" in satisfied living. Thankfully, we (you and I) have the added Gift of each other ... to support and encourage our efforts at "Gift Appreciation." [smile]

I love You (you know) ...

Creative Commons License
Unless expressly stated, all original material, of whatever nature, created by J. Michael Brown (John-Michael) and included in this weblog and any related pages, including the weblog's archives is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 License.