To a student/ teacher,
The BIRTHQUAKE workshop is over, the conference room empty. I am preparing to leave when you approach me. You look stressed, in a hurry, and you speak rapidly. In high speed you tell me that you have enjoyed the workshop, and that you are wondering if I have a simple formula written for healing lives (preferably in one page or less I suspect.) I pause for a moment, attempt to concentrate on your request. You continue talking, speaking in fast- forward motion, and I find myself distracted by your impatient movements and no-nonsense face. The little girl in me who needs to please wants to give you want you’ve asked for – and right away! Yet there’s far too little time to say all that I’d like to; and besides, you’re too busy talking anyway. All of the sudden I am overcome by an urge to embrace you. And then, before I think, I act. My arms reach out and you immediately move into them. I rock you gently as if you were a small child, and you begin to weep. There are no anxious words now, nor any pearls of wisdom. There is just the silence and our communion. It is not enough, never perhaps enough, but it holds us…
I catch movement from the corner of my eye. It’s your companion. He comes into the room quietly, but he seems agitated, inpatient. I let you go, and you turn to him, smile tremulously, and tell him that you’ll be right with him. You are embarrassed now, I sadly note. I’m not sure what to offer that you can take away with you. What will render comfort and guidance, but require only seconds to deliver? Then I remember a handout I have stuffed inside my briefcase. I quickly forage around, locate it, and pass it over to you. I feel a bit apologetic. It’s a very modest offering. Yet, it’s a beginning.
It was published by the New York People with AIDS Coalition and is entitled: “Ten Ways to Heal Your Life.” Do you remember it? It made the following recommendations (I’ve paraphrased them):
1. Engage in activities that offer a sense of fulfillment, purpose and joy. Pursue that which validates your value as a unique person. Acknowledge that you are the creator of your own life, and thus make your creation as positive as possible.
2. Take loving care of yourself.
3. Learn to let go of those emotions that lead to negativity in your life such as envy, jealousy, anger, resentment, shame and fear. Don’t hold onto your feelings, express them appropriately, and then let them go. Forgive yourself.
4. Hold onto images of what you truly desire to have in your life. When negative images arise; refocus on those images that inspire feelings of peace and joy.
5. Make love the primary expression and purpose of your life.
6. Attempt to heal the wounds of yesterday’s relationships when possible, and foster loving, supportive relationships today.
7. Contribute to your community; serve others through activities that you value and enjoy.
8. Commit yourself to health and well being. Draw upon the support and wisdom of others, but don’t forget your own inner voice.
9. Accept everything in your life as an opportunity to grow and to learn. Foster a sense of gratitude.
10. Always maintain your sense of humor. Tears and laughter are both healing.
I’ve found the above suggestions to be helpful. I hope that they were useful to you as well. You requested that day long ago, or so I thought then, a simple answer to a complicated question. Lately, I’ve begun to wonder if maybe that’s part of the problem with we seekers. We’ve journeyed in the name of progress too far from the very basics. You see, I’ve discovered on my endless quest for wisdom that what you know is not quite as important as what you practice. And so, my dear companion, in your search for the answers to life’s pain and the secrets to healing – don’t forget the fundamentals. Live them while you go…
Sincerely, A Fellow Traveler…
Written by: Tammie Byram Fowles, author of BirthQuake: The Journey to Wholeness