Thursday, July 07, 2011

Mountain Pose

He stood on his porch and breathed in, long and full. Behind his ribcage, on the left, a twinge. He acknowledged the pain and bid it away with his exhalation. Sun filtered through leaves, dappling him in light and shadow. He focused on the red bird in the hedgerow. He raised his left foot into the cleft above his knee. Breathe in. I will beat this. Breathe out. Bad energy. He balanced on his right leg, a statue. A flurry of wings. He remembered the needle sticks, the crimson-filled vials, and wobbled in the small breeze.

Lying in the dewy grass in corpse pose, the stars of heaven above him, it was hard not to let worries take over his breath. He thought most of the burdens on his wife and teenage daughter. He thought of his yoga students missing class, of no longer learning at the feet of his guru. He itemized unfinished projects. The moon rose over the tree line, a huge white ghost, the air so clear he discerned craters and mountains. He focused on the largest indent and breathed but the holes in the moon reminded him not of a face but of lacunae, the holes in his body left behind by marauding white blood cells that multiplied and multiplied until they conquered the red cells and built their own fortresses: lemon-sized lumps circling his kidney. His breath leaked out and he bolted up with a choking sound.

After the surgery he slept, his body too weak for anything else. People fluttered in and out of his room, angel shadows leaving fingerprints on his forehead, his cheek, the top of his hand. He remembered what he taught his students, to breathe out bad and breathe in good, and he surrendered to his breath. On each inhale he imagined golden sunshine flooding his bloodstream, his organs, his muscle and bone, then pushing dead cells and other debris through his lungs and pores on each exhale. Days passed. He breathed gentle arpeggios and dreamt of standing in a glade of redwoods, birds circling his head, mountains towering above the treetops. Fingertips tented in prayer position, he raised his hands over his head, feet rooted to the earth, and breathed.


***

Inspired by my friend Joe, a yogi who survived a 16 hour surgery this week that removed a kidney and other tissues eaten by cancer. He faces his ordeal with more courage and grace than I could ever imagine, supported and guided by his strong spiritual core. In life, there are those rare individuals who always teach, even under the most dire circumstances. Joe is such a person.

Please continue to give deeksha, to Joe, to your enemies, to any who suffer. Imbue the world with grace. Peace...

15 comments:

  1. Beautiful, Linda. As I was reading it I was thinking about your friend Joe and wondering how he made out with the surgery. So glad he pulled through, although the mountain he faces will still need all his good strength and, yes, grace.
    As ever, your words themselves are the very definition of grace.

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  2. A guaranteed good read. Your writing voice is like cool air Linda. Wonderful work. Thank you.

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  3. Beautiful and inspiring. I would not have been able to even imagine being so strong and full of faith and optimism in those circumstances. But now, I can.

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  4. Very prettily written! Like the descriptions!

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  5. Beautifully written. Sending positive energy to Joe.

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  6. Touching piece, Linda. I liked how you balanced the physical and emotional.

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  7. angel shadows leaving fingerprints

    the imagery here Divine - best to your pal..

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  8. This is a beautiful piece and really portrays the strength and love you hold for your friend.

    To accept fate in such a way that one still doesn't lose hope is courage and bravery beyond what I know.

    Best wishes to him.

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  9. Bringing the grandiose to the quietest and weakest moments. Noble work, Linda.

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  10. I keep thinking about something you said in your fictionaut interview about the sky on 9/11, how its beauty and silence was like prayer and grace. This, and forgiving your enemies, is (imho) to see with the eyes of god.

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  11. When one goes through an ordeal such as your friend, Joe, keeping positive is so important to healing. I am sending all my positive thoughts his way - I know it makes a difference because I have been there.

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  12. My intention in my next yoga session will be Joe's recovery.
    Namaste, Gillian

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  13. Dear all, thank you for reading and commenting and, most of all, sending compassionate thoughts to Joe and others. He left the icu today and is in a private room, in good and calm spirits.

    Gillian, thank you especially for your intention -- I an sure Joe will feel your spirit. Namste...

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