Whether we recognize it or not, we are always practicing something – practicing anger, practicing fear, practicing being an idiot, practicing being happy no matter what.
I recently have had a major opportunity to practice peace for an extended period of time.
If you are a regular reader of this blog, you may have recognized that I haven’t been writing for awhile – in fact not for about two months.
That’s because when I wrote the rough draft of my third book, I wrote so much that I totally exhausted myself. If you are a person who understands energy, I will say that I blew out my eye chakras (the minor chakras in the eyes) and blasted so much energy through my hara line that I blew a hole through my sixth chakra.
Otherwise, if you are a regular folk person, you can just get that I wrote so much I totally exhausted myself.
Recognizing these facts about myself, I resolved to rest.
(Now let me have a sidebar here and comment that me and my other friends who are authors are always marveling at our other friends who say they also want to write books, as if somehow that might be an easy process!)
Anyhoo, back to my story. I rested for 14 days and decided it was time to get back on my computer and start writing again.
I spent two hours on my laptop one Monday afternoon and started to develop another headache just as I had before I admitted I needed to rest.
Allow me to explain I have some of the lushest working conditions you can imagine – writing on my Macbook Air while lying in my hammock in fresh air and sunlight overlooking the trees and listening to the birds on my porch. So we’re not exactly talking about suffering in a sweatshop here!
At any rate, the headache that ensued was so severe that I found myself lying beside the toilet that night just waiting to throw up.
“O.K.,” I thought to myself. “I get it. MORE rest.”
I told my friends that I could get frustrated, mad and upset that I wasn’t able to write OR simply go with the flow, be at peace with my process and either way the result would be the same. I literally couldn’t spend more than 15 minutes on my laptop without developing some degree of headache.
Luckily for me, my brother, Dr. Richard Schulze Jr., is an ophthalmologist in Savannah, Georgia, so I drove down to see him and he examined me very very carefully and wrote a prescription for my first pair of actual reading glasses.
Part of my problem was that I had been stubbornly wearing my very cute cheaters that I would get for $3 from Michaels (with a coupon, of course), and had between writing too much and spending too much time on the computer. I had to admit to the fact that no amount of natural vision improvement exercises was going to fix these issues.
One of my qi gong students said to me, “Healer, heal thyself!”
I had about six healings on my eyes from some of the greatest healers I know and was taking Bilberry, a fabulous herb for the eyes, and eating a high antioxidant diet with lots of blueberries, but here I now am, feeling better thanks to my $144 Sophia Loren reading glasses that I bought at Costco.
When I went to pick up my glasses, I saw the sign at Costco that read: “FREE HEARING TEST.” I told the gentleman who helped me with my glamorous discount reading glasses that maybe while I was there I should sign up for the hearing test. He laughed!
I was feeling better equipped to move forward with my writing when I receive the call from my dermatologist’s office. I had a squamous cell carcinoma on my nose.
The nurse explained that even if I took better care of my skin in recent years (I use all organic skin care products), it all depended on how I managed in my 20s and 30s. Who in their 20s and 30s even thinks they are mortal? I can’t remember ever using sunscreen at that point, so I found myself driving back to Savannah to see a very good friend of my brother, Dr. William H. Dascombe.
Now here was my real opportunity to practice peace!
When Dr. Dascombe performed surgery to remove the squamous cell carcinoma, I was fully awake.
I had already resolved before the operation that I would practice the breathing exercises that I had spent the last 18 years studying in yoga, even though I knew Dr. Dascombe would be operating on my nose. I knew I could keep myself totally balanced through pranayama.
Dr. Dascombe gave me an injection in my mouth. I was still staring at him when he was about to give me another injection in my right eyebrow, so he said, “Shut your eyes.” Then he gave me a third shot on my forehead, and we were off.
I had my iPhone with me and listened to “Meditation (Satori)” by F.A.B., my favorite CD of meditation music. I thought of hugging my partner, Ken Holmes, and my dog Belle. I visualized myself sitting in our Monday night Zen meditation group (you can join us for FREE every Monday at 7:30 p.m., led by my neighbor Steve Hart). I thought of teaching yoga, just as I had for the past 18 years, and how we all felt at the end of our yoga class.
As I am always saying to my yoga class, life isn’t always easy. We have to train ourselves to be able to call up the cellular memory of peace at any moment’s notice.
It is a truth that where ever your mind goes, that is where your energy flows.
I remained totally relaxed throughout the procedure and felt very grateful – grateful that the squamous cell carcinoma had been identified, grateful that my brother had set me up with Dr. Dascombe, grateful that my antioxidant levels had recently been tested as extremely high, so that I knew I would heal quickly and easily.
Now I am the most well-dressed person you have ever met who is also wearing a Band-Aid across her nose.
And I’m still happy!
The scientific research shows that only 10 percent of your personal happiness depends on life events.
I had been reading the blog of one of my clients in Pennsylvania on Caring Bridge. She has stage IV cancer. The doctors came to her in tears one day and told her that they were no longer going to be able to give her pain medication along with her chemo because the drugs to alleviate her suffering had been shutting down her liver and kidneys.
“I learned this year that the only thing you ever really have control over is how you react to what happens to you,” she wrote.
Now I am at peace, new glasses on my bandaged nose and back to my writing.
Gloria in excelsis deo!