Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Some sick thoughts - Meditation for 2/20/2014

Fripp Island; SC

"Health is not valued until sickness comes."  -  Thomas Fuller

"We are not victims of sickness, aging and death.  They are just part of life's scenery."  -  Deepak Chopra

     Experiencing physical illness has a way of bringing our priorities back to the basics. Some illnesses are chronic, and never going to go away, and some come with symptoms so debilitating that we don't have any choice in the matter.  But I am speaking of the illnesses that come and go - that plague us all from time to time.  It might be a broken bone, the flu or a cold or any of other ailments that slow us down for a while.  

      When we are relatively healthy we may get to thinking we are entitled to good health.  But give us a downturn, and our attitude changes quick.  One tempting notion is to start thinking we are going to feel this miserable for the rest of our lives.  Another is to mask our symptoms with drugs and push ourselves into doing the things we think we are supposed to be doing.  Still another is to just medicate the pain away and pull the covers over our head until it passes.  But one thing is for sure - our body is telling us something is wrong and we need to prioritize attending to it.  When we finally do get better we may feel some gratitude for a day or so when we get the cast off, can eat solid food again or our head stops spinning.  But soon we are back in the grind and the gratitude is gone.

     Since gratitude is such a crucial component to a meaningful life, perhaps we need to do things on a regular basis that remind us to be grateful for our own help.  A couple of years ago, I helped cook Thanksgiving dinner at a Hospice center.  Seeing all of those people who were dealing with imminent death had  profound effect on me for a few months.  Then there are the times that I visit people I know in the hospital or nursing home, and I always walk away feeling a good bit more grateful for my health.  One thing we are all guaranteed in life is that our own health will permanently fail one day, and it is easy to try to avoid our fears of that reality by skipping those opportunities to be of service to those that are sick.  But perhaps those very opportunities will be what gives us the gratitude we need to know a meaningful life on a day to day basis.  

Today, may I take a healthy dose of gratitude.

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Have a great Thursday !!

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