Reducing complexity, removing distractions, and cutting down the volume of the Noise Blaster are the best ways I know of to assist the recognition of what is happening and what needs to be done about it, in order to respond to it in ways appropriate to the occasion. When my wife was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, we did not need a bevy of concerned people wondering what they could do, hovering around us, distracting us from our primary task of finding our center and remaining grounded in the work of coming to terms with how things are now and finding ways of doing what needed to be done. What that was was not interruptions and inquiries about how we were doing, and what was the latest word on the impending surgery, bringing us casseroles and pies, mailing cards and sending flowers... We needed things to be still and quiet, in order to collect ourselves and imagine our way into our present reality, and how best to respond to it. The time from diagnosis to surgery passed naturally, organically, at its own pace. No frenzy. No anxiety-- it is amazing how anxiety is inflamed by people wondering how we are doing and wanting to help us feel better. Feeling better is finding appropriate ways of responding to the situation. Intrusive reminders of the impending event with questions regarding when the date is, and wanting us to know they were thinking about us, is not helping us feel better. It is distracting us from doing the necessary adjusting and accommodating to square ourselves up with a future that will be different from the one we had to square up to before the diagnosis. We all flow along with the current of our life, not just me and my wife, but all of us. Every one of us. Meeting the day each day, and all that comes with the day, doing what is called for in response, allowing "one book to open another," and being receptive and open ourselves to opportunities and possibilities as they unfurl before us and beckon us to see what treasures they might reveal. "Yes" is, for me, a more stabilizing, centering response to life than "No!" Receiving all things well puts me in Rumi's Guest House (Googleit) welcoming all that comes down the lane in a "This, too. This, too." kind of way. Seeing what is called for and bringing it forth, enlarges us, expands us, deepens us, matures us, and readies us for the next thing, and the thing after that-- whatever they may be. It is all practice, preparation, for the ongoing work of being who we are in relation to all that is with us, here and now-- and the pure wonder and joy of doing what needs to be done about it, and the satisfaction of having done it. We are fine. Doing well. And looking forward to the next thing, and the thing after that, all the way to wherever we are going to be when we get there, just by doing this, and then that. The surgeon says it was caught early enough to mean the only likely disruption will be adjusting the mixture of the hormone salad that comes in the form of one pill once a day for the rest of time until the ratios are right, and then keeping them there. It is never more difficult than getting and keeping the ratios right. So, we all will be doing pretty much the same work for the rest of our lives. It's good to have your company.
It is easy enough to do better, for the short term, but the trick is to do better for the long term, without also doing worse. Doing better without doing worse as well is tricky enough as it is. Holding the trick in place over time is unheard off. Doing better without doing worse would be to do better without noticing it, without being aware of it, without intending it. It would be doing better by being better, for nothing, for no reason beyond being better. It would be being better for the hell of it, for the joy of it, for the satisfaction or it, without doing it intentionally, purposefully, or grading the degree of your betterness, and pumping your fists because of it. Unheard of. Being better for nothing. "Just because." We would have to get to the place of surprising ourselves, catching ourselves doing something better than we used to do it without intending to do it, without trying to improve, yet there we are, amazingly, undeniably, transformed, out of the blue. That's what we are aiming for-- living well without aiming to live well. Reflecting a turning without purpose, without intention. That's what we are after. See if you can imagine how to do that, and do it. Spend the rest of your life doing it. That would be something.
Joseph Campbell said Native Americans would tell their children when they left home to seek their fortune in the world, "As you walk your path, you will come to a great chasm. You must jump! It is not as great as it seems." What I am doing here is asking you to jump. Not just with this post, but with the body of work. Everything I say here-- everything I stand for-- requires that you jump! I talk about leaving God for God-- for The Mystery-- for The Source of Life and Being. I talk about throwing away theology-- all theology. About casting aside the doctrines-- all the doctrines. And put all of your effort into trusting your heart and doing what needs to be done in each situation as it arises, no matter what. You have to JUMP!