Accepting life will always change

February 28, 2014

A long time ago I remember reading somewhere: “the only thing that will never change in life is that in time everything will change.”

One of my core messages I have in my rambling way is to take no one and nothing for granted. Nothing is permanent, the natural course of live will bring change. That is why I try to stress, appreciate what you have while you have it. It is a sad fact of life that so often we can only appreciate the true meaning or specialness of something/someone when it/they are suddenly gone from our lives. Reality hits us in the face, we mourn our lose and regret all the wasted time and opportunities gone by. Every moment of time that goes by is gone for ever. We take so much for granted. The good people/things in our lives will always be there. We begin to take life for granted.
I for one took life for granted. Never appreciated much of what I had. One of our greatest strengths is our ability to adapt. One of our greatest weaknesses is our ability to adapt. Now by adapting I mean settling in to our circumstances. Imagine you meet the most amazing person ever. You are totally blown away by this person. You are totally in awe of everything about this person. You can’t believe how lucky you are to have this person in your live. Everything is perfect. Sadly, for most of us this is likely to change, meaning those feelings of awe.
In our human way, we adapt. What we saw as so wonderful becomes the norm as time passes. While we still may still see it, knowing nothing has changed. We often begin not to be able have those feelings of awe. It is just the norm, what we expect, that person didn’t change, our expected normal changed.
Oops hit publish instead of save. Maybe a good spot to stop for today
Just popped in for a look. Have to add a comment as just watching the weather forecast. OK, we live in Canada but geesh. Forecast temp for tonight -52. The high for tomorrow predicted to be -42.

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Hopes vs Expectations

February 27, 2014

Something I have long knownIs to not let your hopes become expectations. When we develop expectations of anything or anyone we are setting ourselves up for heart break or disappointment.
One of my coping mechanisms through my issues is trying to maintain a positive attitude. I know that attitude has helped me through a lot or at least eased the burden as I was going through it.
This may sound strange but that positive attitude can sometimes take hopes to the expectation level without you even realizing it.
Vi’s surgeries are a perfect example. It must be close to 1 1/2 years now she has been ever increasing, more limiting debilitating pain in her legs and lower back. She has gone from being a full speed ahead energizer bunny, to having difficulty walking the 20 or so steps from the kitchen to the bedroom.
In fairness, we saw the surgeon 4 or 5 months ago and she did make it clear she felt the surgeries were urgently needed but that she also felt there was about a 70-80% chance that these procedure would be the answer to the pain issues. We would have to wait and see.
We knew the surgery would be at least several months down the line. That waiting is tough especially when her pain levels are increasing, physical capacity decreasing.
Vi went through a few periods of “what if it doesn’t work”.
This is where positive thinking Bill jumped in with. “Don’t even think that way. There is a 70-80% chance it will. With my well intended moral boosting. I think I help turn a hope into an expectation.
Well awaiting more news. Further tests planned for the 17th which will be followed the same day with a meeting with the surgeon.
Maybe it is my nature or something. I can’t help be feel confident the doctors will have a new plan and one that will work. Might need to be more cautious about pushing a hope beyond what it is, a hope


Vi’s Surgeries/Prayers please

February 25, 2014

I have written of Vi and of how she under went 4 separate surgeries all at the same time. All ready have her there on the operating table, let’s get it all done at once.

For well over a year now she has been experiencing a lot of lower back pain and pain through both of her legs. This pain only comes when she walks. Sit still or laying down and pain free. If you know Vi you know she is not a sit down type of person. She is like the energizer bunny. Always on the run and at top speed. A bundle of energy always on the go.

For years when we walked anywhere, I was constantly asking her to slow down. This old goat couldn’t keep up with her. Over this past year those roles have been reversed. If we are walking I have found it best to drop back a step or two. Let her set the pace. Even with this she had only about 15 or 20 slow steps and she had to stop because of the pain.

Surgeries involved going in, slicing open length wise some of the major arteries, manually removing plaque build up and then sewing the artery and the rest of her back together. This being to increase the blood flow to her legs and end the pain.

It has been a tough 3 weeks for her since that surgery. First, recovering from the surgery itself but what was even worse or harder on her was the side affects of the antibiotics they put her on just as a normal precaution. Ended up getting them changed 3 time as they were irritating her stomach so badly.

The discharge instructions were walk but just until it starts to hurt then stop. We quickly realized her ability to walk was no different than prior to the surgery.

Saw the surgeon yesterday for a follow up. It was a downer. The procedures did not work as expected or really at all. Doctors are going back to the drawing board for a new plan of action. Further surgery seems destined be it on her legs or possibly even spine.

Vi is, well we both are down. Prayers would appreciated


One Day I will be but a memory

February 18, 2014

My last post was on impermanence. I copied that post directly from Brian Alger’s Exploring-Life.ca site.
It impacted on me in so many ways, on so many levels.
It is over 10 years ago now that I first heard the you are dying words come out of my doctors mouth. I found hearing those words to be shall we say “unsettling” and I pushed hard to get some sort of time frame.
“There is no way to tell, it could be 3 days, 3 weeks, 3 months, a year, maybe a year and a half or even two if you are lucky.” I have been very blessed, very lucky in defying all the odds, the statistics and doctors opinions. Here I am a full 10 years later.
I am not sure when it was but it was back in those early years somewhere that a reality hit me. I may have written about it way back, not sure.
My thought was by this time next week, I may be nothing but a memory. Within that week family would have gathered, funeral held and everyone gone back home. I would be but a memory.
It is hard to describe but some how that realization was a turning point for me. It certainly wasn’t an instant ah, hah moment. I needed time to mull it over, process that thought. I can only thank our Heavenly Father for giving me that time.
Possibly that is when a level of acceptance came.
The nothing but a memory idea still sucked big time but my thoughts began to gravitate towards. OK, at some point I will in fact become but a memory. What kind of a memory would I like that to be. Now this was a process but more and more I realized I wanted memories of me to be good, positive and loving ones. I realized I had a choice not in the ultimate out come but in how I faced and dealt with this whole dying experience.
Many find this hard to accept but I am very grateful to that doctor for telling me what he did. OK, I am even more grateful to still be alive but by pointing out my own impermanence in this world. It has really opened my eyes as to how truly precious is every single moment we have.
Live today and every day. I live knowing I can’t take it for granted that I even have a tomorrow. Think about it none of us are guaranteed a tomorrow, make today the best day it can be


Impermanence

February 16, 2014

For months now I have been following inspirational postings of Briar Alger. His site Exploring Life is a must read for all. Unlike mine, Brian’s posts all show a great deal of time and planning which combined with his excellent writing skills create a must read for me.
I asked and Brain kindly gave me permission to quote him in my posts. Brian I thank you for that. I hope you don’t mind in quoting you I have chosen to copy the entire post. Initially I had planned on adding my own thoughts to it. I can to realize that anything I might add would just take away from the powerful message being delivered. In the next few days I hope to get up my own post sharing thoughts along these lines

>Impermanence: One Day You Will Be A Memory

December 7, 2013 6 Comments

One day you will be a memory. Impermanence is a truth from which there is no escape. The essence of impermanence is aging that places each one of us on a relentless trajectory through time. Our lifespan is temporary, fleeting, and fragile. Our life expectancy is a question shrouded in mystery. We cannot know how long we will live. As we become older and journey through the second half of life, we feel our own impermanence more intimately. And it is here that we find a new urgency to live.

 

Impermanence is Truth

Impermanence: One Day You Will Be a MemoryWhat are the elemental truths about life?

An elemental truth offers no possibility of retreat. Once we have been touched by it, we can never turn away from it. The message inside truth results in permanent change. New questions grasp us and offer no release. Our inner world shifts, and we look out into the world through a different sensibility.

One important truth about life from which there is no retreat is impermanence. Aging, or more specifically senescence, is a child of impermanence that irreversibly changes the body. We will physically deteriorate over time. We exist in the medium of impermanence. We often try to hide from the reality of our own disappearance, but impermanence is a profoundly loyal and trusted companion for life.

We do not know how long we will be here. Impermanence is uncomfortable. It requires a courageous form of responsibility to fully inhabit its message. We often focus our energy on finding excuses to rationalize our avoidance, but avoiding reality only results in weakening our mind and spirit.  

Aging is most fundamental form of change we experience in our lives. The spiritual essence of aging is impermanence. Aging is our most intimate connection with time. Inside aging we find our internal clock that defines the time between our appearance and disappearance. Perhaps it is not a clock as much as it is a stopwatch. A stopclock?

Life hides more from us than it reveals. Impermanence is humbling. It is a final frontier that remains shrouded deep within an impenetrable mystery. There are many things we cannot know. We cannot know in advance precisely how long we will live. As the influence of aging intensifies inside of us, we feel the call of invisible forces that lie outside our perception.

Ideally, we would all live a long life free from pain and suffering, and hope that death approaches us as late in life as possible in an immediate, quick, and painless manner. Unfortunately, impermanence can be chaotic and unpredictable in its manifestations; it does not offer the hospitality of foresight.

Impermanence is an ancient and universal conversation. Aging means that our experience of being alive is inherently and irrevocably imbued with impermanence. As the influence of aging intensifies, we begin to feel the allurement of our own transience. A sense of spiritual urgency begins to arise, and perhaps we wake up from our somnambulism and discover ourselves in the midst of life for the first time.

Impermanence makes ghosts out of all of us.

The Spirit of Impermanence

My work as a writer lives at the intersection of the struggles we all experience in life and the unique aspirations we hold close in. This ebb and flow between what we want to create for ourselves and what the world places before us is the creative realm that animates my words. Impermanence is a core discipline within that space of thinking, imagining, wondering, feeling, and expressing.

The word spirit refers to the animating or vital principle of all life. It originates in the Latin spiritus meaning breath; spirit is the breath of life. Through overuse, the meaning spirituality has become vague. I use the word spirituality to describe the authentic and uniquely personal quest to discover our purpose, meaning, and wisdom in life.

The spirit of impermanence is the frontier on which we seek belonging and significance for our efforts in the here and now of life. It is not about our hidden origins or a secret future destination. The spirit of impermanence places us firmly in the here and now. Spirituality lures us directly into the midst of enchantment and the subtle embrace of the primal world.

If you suffer, it is not because things are impermanent. It is because you believe things are permanent. When a flower dies, you don’t suffer much, because you understand that flowers are impermanent. But you cannot accept the impermanence of your beloved one, and you suffer deeply when she passes away.

If you look deeply into impermanence, you will do your best to make her happy right now. Aware of impermanence, you become positive, loving and wise. Impermanence is good news. Without impermanence, nothing would be possible. With impermanence, every door is open for change. Instead of complaining, we should say, “Long live impermanence!” Impermanence is an instrument for our liberation.

Thich Nhat Hanh in The Three Dharma Seals

When a loved one dies, we are enveloped by the spirit of impermanence. Inside impermanence are the painful realities of loss, grief, bereavement, dying, and death. But in this very same space we also discover gratitude, belonging, humility, significance, and love.

We cannot feel fully alive unless we embrace the spirit of impermanence. It is impossible to take life for granted when we invite impermanence in. Like all spirituality, our relationship with impermanence is deeply personal, private, and often secret.

The spiritual path of impermanence leads us toward meaning, purpose, and ultimately wisdom.  

Impermanence as Conversation

As we get older, the pursuit of authenticity becomes more urgent. During the second half of life the feeling of having more time behind us than what lies ahead begins to reveal itself. We also begin to experience the death of other people in our own generation more frequently. Even the death of a famous person can intensify our feelings of impermanence.

One of the most cherished intentions of impermanence is to encourage us to question and challenge our long-held assumptions and beliefs about how to live a good life. Many of our beliefs have been imposed upon us through assimilation and cultural conditioning. This does not mean that they are necessarily valid, ideal, or meaningful.

Impermanence lifts us out of the habit of unexamined belief and patterns of living.

A conversation with our own impermanence is a courageous dialogue. It is a conversation that commands our full attention and awareness. During this secret inner discussion we find ourselves moving deeper into unavoidable truths. And once we have been touched by them, there is no return to the way things used to be. 

Our lives are imbued with mystery; we are always surrounded by the unknown and unexpected. Though we may secretly hold on to hopes and desires about how we would like our life to proceed, the story of our future remains unknowable.

Change is a descendant of mystery. Our life course consists of unforeseen twists, turns, and switchbacks that lead us directly into the midst of the unexpected. We yearn for consistency and congruity; we experience a confluence of uncertainty.

Nothing stays the same. Nothing is permanent in life. Grasping for permanence is a recipe for suffering. Unexpected change walks ever so slightly ahead of us. Death always remains at our side.

One day you and I will be memories.

One day you will be a memory

It is difficult to contemplate our own disappearance from the world.

We are culturally conditioned to avoid these kinds of conversations, and they are often falsely denigrated as being too morbid or sad. Our panic and anxiety in the face of unavoidable truth causes deeper levels of suffering within. To embrace impermanence is to revitalize our life. The avoidance of impermanence only invites suffering.

Our own journey through impermanence is always on public display. In the mirror, I notice subtle changes in my face that reveal the passing of time. The commercial anti-aging industry is a well-crafted form of ignorance. Of course, it is important to take care of our health and maintain a good appearance. That does not mean, however, that we undergo all kinds of contortions in an attempt to manufacture the illusion of youth.

If we are to become a memory, then what should that memory be. This is the point at which we decide on what the value and contribution of our life should be. Nelson Mandela offered the following insight during a speech:

What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation

Nelson Mandela’s memory is uniquely imbued with his being, his presence, and now his legacy. It is the entire trajectory of his life, rather than specific events within it, that are the most inspiring and leave us in awe. His life danced in the joys and agonies of wisdom, and the deep meaning of impermanence.

There is a unique artistry hidden within our own disappearance. Crafting the spiritual legacy we leave behind for others is a core discipline in life. The significance of our own life is inexorably connected to the lives of everyone around us. Any sense of “I” that we are burdened with is relieved by considering the “we” in life.

Impermanence means that one day each one of us becomes a memory.


I would rather be the patient than a waiting family member

February 14, 2014

I don’t know how many times I have said it and obviously I can only speak for myself but it is harder on the families than on the patient, when facing a major medical issue. I have been through this issue with Vi and don’t remember my stress levels being as high as they were. Naturally outwardly I was totally cool, calm and collected. I have faced and gone through open heart surgery.
That sitting in the waiting area, waiting for news is just not nice. I am very happy to say Vi is progressing well. So well she is getting impatient wanting to be able to really do things again. Thank goodness she should be back on her feet by the time gardening season roles around. She is already checking catalogues for flowers and seeds.
We thank all for the good wishes, kind thoughts, flowers and all


Huge thank you

February 10, 2014

I am happy to say Vi is home and doing well. A huge thank you to Vi’s daughter Lynelle and sister Deb. Lynelle took time off work and flew here to Winnipeg to be with her mum. Likewise, Deb took time of work to come to be here to support and help care for Vi. Tremendous show of love, much appreciated.

It gets better. The ladies busied themselves while here cooking, preparing countless casserole type dishes that have been frozen and can be pulled out, reheated and presto a delicious home cooked meal. Thank you so very much.

Hmm, I am wondering can I claim credit for cooking these meals? I mean I will be the one actually putting them in the oven. Lol