Sunday, April 03, 2016

Be Lovingly Present

During my recent trip around the world I had nothing more personal to me than three little framed photographs I always kept near. The portraits are of `Abdu’l-Bahá, Naomi Boone, and Paramahansa Yogananda. All three are abiding now in the angelic realm.

 `Abdu’l-Bahá (Persian/Arabic 23 May 1844 – 28 November 1921) was the son of Bahá'u'lláh ("Glory of God"; 12 November 1817– 29 May 1892) , the founder of the Bahá'í Faith. Naomi Boone (Jan. 11 1980 – July 5, 1999) is my oldest daughter who died of cancer when she was nineteen. Paramahansa Yogananda (Bengali, 5 January 1893– 7 March 1952) was an Indian yogi and guru.

I am especially privileged to have been with Naomi and walked by her side in this world. I wrote a book about our journey together (A Heart Traced In Sand) and used her own writings to reveal her soul. Naomi started writing in diaries at the age of twelve. In addition she left volumes of drawings, paintings, some sculptures, and scribbled affirmations she made during her sufferings. At one point in her last diary, she was upset that she was getting worse, not improving. As she vented, she had the thought that someone would be reading her words after she died. She hated the notion because it was fatalistic. She wrote that she would rather burn her diary. I am glad she did not.

Naomi suffered tremendously before dying, but strove not to let it show. An active athlete in High School, she was on the track and field and cross-country running teams. She was in the Ski club, German Club and went to Germany. She began having difficulty with her leg, and we discovered she had bone cancer. The cancer had metastasized to her lungs as well. The tumor in her hip was very large and expanding—fracturing her bone. The treatments were horrendous. Her hair fell out, she was on crutches, was isolated for spells in hospital rooms . . . constantly hooked up to machines. Meanwhile she was attempting to finish high school between treatments, and applied to college.
She underwent a bone marrow transplant—doses of chemotherapy so high it destroyed her bone marrow. It also destroyed her immune system. Once when she sneezed, her nose bled and would not stop bleeding for three days. A specialist had to be called to constrict the blood vessels in her nose. She was given back stem cells that had been harvested from her earlier, and her bone marrow revived. She was accepted to an art college, and graduated high school.

All along, she fought hard and made every effort to live normally, even taking a job. The cancer retreated but came back and killed her. She had said that she did not want to die a slow agonizing death, but this is what happened. Her leg was terribly swollen, she could not feel her foot, was in intense pain, nauseous, and suffocated to death when her lungs filled with fluid. Yet, just the day before, she managed to say to someone massaging her, “I love my body, it has been so good to me.”

Remarkably, Naomi seldom complained and actually was more concerned for those around her. I barely left her side for two years. After she died, someone said we were like twin flames, and I know that is right.

My life has not been gentle since my father died two years ago, then my wife and I divorced, my first wife died, and then my mother passed away. I have felt sorrow, loneliness, pathos and more. Yet, I have not been blind to the good that occurs and my many fortunes and blessings.

I take solace in her words, and when I feel tired, or that life is unjust, or empty, I remember them. I have taken sentences from her writings, some just before she died, and written them here:

Healing! Loving! Knowing! Wishing! Hoping! Being! Enjoying! Living! Mending! Giving! Praying! Sending! Shining! These gifts of life are what make it possible to fight so hard to keep it.
This world is so full of opportunities that one can hardly keep up with them all. Life is so beautiful, I cherish it and want to be able to see every part of it.
I want to show God that I have learned much and feel I deserve acres of life to unfold for me. I love this life and I want to be here for as long as God allows. I trust that God knows my love for life and the happiness it gives me.
I am chi. I am full of the life force, full of the flowers, trees, the smell of lavender and roses, the feeling of the wind blowing against my face as I run, and the wonder when I go snorkeling and see the other world! That is only a little bit of what the life force is. I am chi, that life force.

It seems there is no way of knowing that everything will be okay. The only thing I can do is trust in God and the power I have within.
Sometimes I am afraid that I might die. It is not that I am afraid of going somewhere else, it is that I don't want to and I am not ready to leave this world. It is not death I fear, It is losing life and people.

As of now, I let go of my fears and troubles. In their place I let God do the work. I let light and energy, wholesomeness and happiness enter my soul. I know everything will be alright because God is with me no matter what.
I am filled with a wonderful sense of happiness. It is an indescribable sense of utmost freedom and joy. When I am in touch with it I just think, Oh, God, thank you for this beautiful body and life. I have learned how to use THANK YOU throughout everything.

Everything is important and nothing is important; everything is illusion back to God. Everything is already accomplished; you just have to bring your consciousness to it: Divine order is always in place. There is no place to go and nothing to do.

In every heart there is a deep sorrow, one that edges in like a whisper on a cold night. The delicacy of a person who is outwardly strong is as delicate as a rose before a frost inwardly.
May I be protected from internal and external harm. May I be healthy and strong,
 May I be happy and at peace.
May I care for myself joyfully.
God is with me, I just need to give it all to Him.

Hardship is something that will make us stronger. I don't know if I have complete evidence of this, but I think that in every situation there is good in it.

Show up and be lovingly present, no matter what it looks like out there or inside yourself. Always speak the truth of your heart.

Dear God, I want to tell you that I am thankful for my remarkable body. The joy in my soul has helped my body know how strong it actually is.

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