Posted by Michael Finkelstein | July 2nd, 2019
Last month I wrote about persistence — the way of a river cutting through rock, effecting change not with brute force, but gently over time. Indeed, I still like to think of this often, as it soothes my spirit to trust that things work out so effortlessly. And, comforted by such faith, I find I can sometimes live with patient anticipation of a future without pain; which is a fine thought, I’m sure you’d agree. But it isn’t always so easy to stay with it, because to be quite honest, I’m not so patient. I like taking things into my own hands and effecting change by taking action, with the aim to speed the process up. It feels right, daresay a responsibility, to be an active part of the solution.
And, this is particularly true when I’m in pain, whether that’s physical, emotional or spiritual. So, while I do subscribe to the notion that things do work out, like almost everyone I know, it’s useful to consider what we can do to keep ourselves actively engaged in the process of healing, not simply sitting and waiting for deliverance.
In last month’s MoonLetter I spoke of all of you who inspire me, shaped by the flow of your own life, into the extraordinary beautiful and unique beings that have survived so many challenges. I find our lives, as individuals (and collectively), to be fascinating. I’m in awe by what we deal with and how our survival instincts keep us going and keep us evolving. The story of humanity is epic and I look forward to one day experiencing the end of suffering along with you.
Until then, however, we are in need of helping hands. To that, we have each other and, in particular if we are lucky, a few special people in our lives, that show us how to pull it together. My wife, Robin, is one of them. Gifted with profound intuition and emotional intelligence she deals with more than most because she is more aware than most of us. And yet, what is most inspiring about her story, is what she has had to do to heal her body that has been affected by the toxicity around her. In a way, her gift challenges her — she is a sponge for our collective polluted condition.
Over the past several years, she has learned about what it takes to stay afloat in a sea of pain. Of course, given our culture, various labels have been applied to her condition: Lyme Disease, Autonomic Dysfunction, Mold Toxicity, Chronic Environmental Illness, etc. Indeed, these are very real and are serious epidemics that will define our times. But she, like any of you who suffer from similar situations, is more than these. What is remarkable about Robin is that she has maintained her sense of self, in fact, with determination, she has used these challenges to grow beyond.
And, Robin has learned and has become an expert in guiding others to navigate the rough waters by taking action. But, like the river, not with brute force. Instead she has learned what it takes to gently and gracefully nourish our bodies (and our lives) back to health with loving-kindness. She has also taken important and necessary action to supplement a general approach to wellness by mastering what it takes to “take care of yourself,” working with natural elements to support the healing response, courageously and carefully finding ways to avoid more toxins often recommended as “standard therapy”. This is not easy to do, and not for everyone. Yet, based on her convictions, she is willing to try and stay committed to what feels right to her, and as a result of all of this, has benefited from a comprehensive and holistic plan that has kept her on tract not only to survive, but to thrive. She is a role model of such an approach; and, in the process, with her gift of empathy, she helps others find their own path.
There would have been a time when I might have said that I “know” more than Robin; perhaps true, from the one narrow perspective of “academic knowledge”. But knowledge, I have been humbled to learn, is vaster than what we find in textbooks. The more skilled person is a curious one, who keeps their mind open to other possibilities and within reason, organizes a response to life’s challenges that is more attentive to what we also learn from them via personal experience and collective wisdom, that finds its root in the knowledge of intuition and empathy. And, this is what Robin has taught me. More so, she has demonstrated a remarkable generosity of spirit in the face of her own pain. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen anything like that.
Her poster is on my wall!
Indeed, her fortitude is a reminder to find a balance between the calming faith that settles me and the responsive effort that moves me forward. A good lesson for us all.