Dearest Friends and Yogis,

Well, it’s been a few weeks since I last wrote. And, that’s actually a good thing. I’ve been busy…not too busy, but busy teaching and doing what I love…gardening, teaching and cooking. Do what you love, have a great attitude and let good health follow!

My problem is that I often do a little too much of what I love. I forget that I am actually supposed to be convalescing. It’s been a hard concept for me to get my head around. It makes me think of some old sick, tired person, which is completely contrary to my self image. I still have a bit of that “I’m invincible” thing going even though it doesn’t always work out so well. Just the other day I was being reprimanded by my wife and by my Reiki Healer for toting bales of hay, and feeling a bit defensive, I said it’s not like I carried them, I moved them in the jeep. When they asked me how they got into the jeep and then how they got out of the jeep, well I didn’t have such a good answer. As my temperature shot up to 39 degrees (102 F) from physically over working and I am crawling shivering into bed, I could only say, I don’t want to be a wimp. They both burst out laughing. So much for sympathy.

O.k., so I am not a wimp. I know that. But, the old energy is just not what it used to be. All the experts keep telling me, it’ll come, don’t worry, it’s just 3 months from your surgery, have patience, in a few more months you’ll be back to normal. Well I certainly expect so but in the meantime, I have to say this patience thing is pushing my limits. The ironic thing is that when I push things too hard, which I pretty much do regularly, I end up in bed sick with a fever for a few days. It’s a bit counter productive, which of course has been obvious to everyone but me. So, I still have some learning to do. And after these last few days, I am ready to give it a try.

My best advice recently came from Nadia, the nurse, who was changing my kidney tubes. They change them once a month. It used to be a bit of an ordeal but now it is slowly becoming routine. I was asking, Nadia, why if I work too much I end up in bed with a fever. I thought there may be some medical reason. She looked at me and simply said, “work less.” Brilliant!! She then reminded me that not so long ago I had a major surgery with a number of organs removed. Be patient. So, I am working on that. So far so good…for these past 3 days.

Lately, I’ve been trying to avoid Hilda. For those of you new to this blog, Hilda is my inner healer. She’s hard to avoid because she is always within me so avoidance is a bit futile. I didn’t want to get both the inner and external lectures going so avoiding Hilda seemed a good thought…it didn’t work. But she was good…after my submitting and admitting to give it a try, (working less), she just said, “Finally.” Thank you for being so brief Hilda.

I’ve been writing this blog for a while now and I have to admit, there’s a lot of good wisdom here. The hard part is having to relearn what I thought I’d already learned. I’m going to have to revisit some of those early blogs and give myself a bit of a refresher…especially any of those comments on patience and surrender. I’m still working on those. Have patience with me!

Luckily, wisdom can arrive in the least expected places. Just the other day, I was reading an article in the New York Times about the swimmer Michael Phelps, and there in black and white is the phrase, “Vulnerability is a strength”. Perfect timing. I needed that reminder and once again, I am working on embracing my vulnerability and finding the strength in it. It’s not always easy, and sometimes it seems a bit of a sales pitch, but I tell ya, when you have a vulnerability it’s a lot nicer to find a strength in it rather than only weakness. It allows for a graceful acceptance rather than it feeling like trying to swallow a bitter pill of reality. Already, I am feeling stronger. I just need to remember do less, feel better, heal more….my new motto.

A favorite place for doing less: La dolce far niente (the sweetness of doing nothing)

Speaking of reality, a while back, I said I was going to have a CAT Scan and would give you all an update on what it showed and what the oncologist had to say. It took a little longer than expected. I think I got a little lost in the system (hey, socialized medicine is not always perfect) but got found…a little bit like amazing grace. So, I had my big meeting last week. I’m always waiting for that diagnosis of, “This is amazing, there is no sign of the cancer anywhere, you are healed.” Well, I didn’t get that one. The CAT Scan showed I have a new little baby growth in my lower left abdomen. The good news is that it is very small. Better news for me is that no operation is required. They will treat it with Radiology. Here they call that Radio-therapy. I had humorous visions of having to listen to bad Italian radio, which I think could cause any cancer to simply self implode. But, this is actually a bit more scientific than that. They will blast the specific area with radioactive energy. Sounds a bit ominous. So, now I am off to the Radiologist for education on what this involves and then a series of appointments for therapy. I’ll let you know how that goes, and if I am glowing in the dark by the end of it.In the meantime, I am building my immune system, continuing to alkalinize myself through my food, and laughing daily. That’s the part I like best. I just re-read, Norman Cousins “Anatomy of an Illness” and it is so good to reconnect with the laughing discipline. Thank God for laughter!

Remember, Accentuate the Positive

I am working on a new health modality which is called, ATA: Attitude, Traditional Medicine, Alternative Medicine. Attitude is of course first. Can’t escape attitude, and everything seems to come back to that core principle. The power of the mind is phenomenal and with it we create healing miracles every day. I’m not looking for a miracle exactly but I do understand that keeping a Positive Mental Attitude works some major magic. And I like bringing all the magic I can into my life.

Remember that song, “Accentuate the Positive”. It’s always good to dust that off and sing a few lines:
You’ve got to accentuate the positive,
Eliminate the negative
And latch on to the affirmative
Don’t mess with Mr. In-Between

Another good thing to remember and revisit often because the challenges in life can be many. But hey, they only make us stronger, right? When life says “no”, and it does from time to time despite our best efforts, ask yourself what are you capable of…and when you know, share it with everyone as an affirmation of who you are. When life says “no”, be ready, be prepared and find a way to keep things in perspective. It’s not necessarily the end of the world. It’s just the balancing of the Yin and the Yang. Life will say yes, and at times, life will say no. Remember what goes up, must come down and conversely, what goes down, eventually bounces back up. Neither one lasts forever. It’s all a part of the game. In the wisdom of Shakespeare, “…there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”
Even in Hamlet, we are reminded that perspective is everything. So, keep life in perspective even when you get a “no”, or, a cancer diagnosis. That “no” can become a “yes” when our perspective is flowing and not rigid.

The other two, Traditional Medicine, Alternative Medicine, pretty much mean to me to do what works and don’t get stuck in opinions and particular modalities. Be open to everything and allow good things to happen. I don’t have any issue with Allopathic Medicine. I see where it has been very effective and I embrace those elements that work for me. I see them as helpful and life-giving. I am certainly not saying it is perfect and is the best for everyone but in my case, I can only say that truly, it has saved my life and I am grateful for that.

Get a little dirt under your fingernails.

The last part, Alternative Medicine, is all those things that we can do to feel better, to relax, to heal and to improve our quality of life. I see where these elements support the Traditional Medicine and vice versa. I am open to everything and I am always discovering new things to try that have been very effective and healing. These items include diet, yoga, relaxation, meditation, homeopathy, herbs, vitamin therapy, positive affirmations, massage, Reiki, acupuncture….even gardening for me. There is nothing more healing than getting your fingers into Mother Earth….even allow for a little dirt under your finger nails. I do everything I can to feel good about me. That is important to me. Yes, when it comes to healing, it is very much about me. And I say that with a smile.

A little dirt under the finger nails feels great and makes wonderful results.

Keep What Works, Discard the RestSo, ATA. Do what works for you. Keep your positive attitude and try everything for your healing. A lot of that depends upon one’s belief system. If you don’t believe in something, it may not work even if everyone raves how awesome it is. I am finding for me, be open, try things and then based on results decide what works and let go of what doesn’t. It saves me from the rigidity of fear which I don’t think is a very effective healing perspective. A long time ago, I studied Jeet Kun Do with a true master, Dan Inosanto. Dan was one of Bruce Lee’s main students and carried the mantle of Jeet Kun Do after Bruce’s passing. One of Bruce Lee’s great offerings was, “Keep what works, discard the rest.” He was above all, super practical and I love his philosophy. Try it. Experiment. Let the results speak for themselves. It could save your life. It is saving mine.