Sunday, September 30, 2012

Shakin' Out The Nonsense


Ten years ago, my husband suffered a colossal heart attack. As  he drifted further and further away from me during the 40 minutes it took the EMTs to arrive at our home, I had no idea a gift was being offered.

While the particulars vary, most of us experience moments when everything crumbles. Marriages end, jobs are lost, houses burn, people die. Our lives suddenly seem unrecognizable. The outer structure has shattered and our identities hang in tatters.
           
Thankfully, change is usually more gradual. However, sometimes it is a tsunami that washes us clean of all we thought we were. Destruction is as much a part of life as creation. We may prefer light over darkness and birth over death, but that’s rather irrelevant. Destruction happens. As Paul Simon sang it, “Everything put together sooner or later falls apart.” Everything.
           
Of course, we are not powerless in that process. Our response is ours, and it can make all the difference. Rather than acting the passive victim, we can seek the gift within the loss. Instead of being broken, we can allow ourselves to be broken open.           
           
The intense physical pain brought my husband into the moment like nothing else could. And watching him navigate his way along the threshold of death was, for me, a meditation like no other.

This heightened awareness continued through the ICU and the Cath Lab, during that first tentative walk around the block, over the months when the risk of sudden death remained high. Each moment and every breath was precious. And with my husband’s regained vitality, the tutorial continues. This heart attack has become our forever teacher.
           
In When Things Fall Apart, Pema Chodron writes “…the truth is that things don’t really get solved. They come together and they fall apart. Then they come together again and fall apart again. It’s just like that. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy.”
           
My husband and I have more room for all these things now. We live more deeply, think more kindly, feel gratitude and joy more fully.
           
Humans often need a nudge, and life obliges. As the mystic Rumi put it, “Many demolitions are actually renovations.” At least, if we’re smart. In Tired of Speaking Sweetly, 14th century poet Hafiz put it this way, “The Beloved sometimes wants to do us a great favor: hold us upside down and shake all the nonsense out.”
           
Believe me, there’s no shortage of nonsense remaining. We have, though, let some of it go. And our life is all the richer because of it.
           
Happy re-birth day, my sweet man. And for the rest of us...let's not wait for a near~death experience to shake ourselves free of a little nonsense. 

Loanne Marie

Here's a link to Hafiz's poem Tired of Speaking Sweetly. I highly recommend it~~so much so that I decided to put it right here!


TIRED OF SPEAKING SWEETLY
Love wants to reach out and manhandle us,
Break all our teacup talk of God.
If you had the courage and
Could give the Beloved His choice, some nights,
He would just drag you around the room
By your hair,
Ripping from your grip all those toys in the world
That bring you no joy.
Love sometimes gets tired of speaking sweetly
And wants to rip to shreds
All your erroneous notions of truth
That make you fight within yourself, dear one,
And with others,
Causing the world to weep
On too many fine days.
God wants to manhandle us,
Lock us inside of a tiny room with Himself
And practice His dropkick.
The Beloved sometimes wants
To do us a great favor:
Hold us upside down
And shake all the nonsense out.
But when we hear
He is in such a “playful drunken mood”
Most everyone I know
Quickly packs their bags and hightails it
Out of town.
~ Hafiz ~
(The Gift – versions of Hafiz by Daniel Ladinsky)


2 comments:

Anonymous said...


We take our health for granted until something goes wrong. We should all live each day as if it is our last and our last interaction with our family because one day it will be the last day. I have a lot to learn on this path and every day I try to not sweat the small stuff. Thanks for sharing this story, it is very moving.

Loanne Marie said...

It's all part of this journey of Consciousness we're taking, isn't it? We awaken and drift off again only to awaken once more. Like we're under some heavy duty sedating drugs that wear off a little at a time. We have blessed moments of clarity before dipping back into sleep, only to awaken again. The fun part is that we're all waking together~~waking ourselves and helping those we have contact with wake as well. Life, one big wake up call!

Thanks for writing!

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Leia Marie