March 07, 2010

Golden Sun

This is sunset over Mt. Tamalpais from a few days ago. The weather has been invigorating and the sun pure golden. Today I took a break and drove to the top of the Berkeley Hills to Tilden Regional Park full of trails and lovely vistas. Found a beautiful meadow overlooking a small lake. Not a soul there. Set out my blanket and settled in for a little sketching and writing. Within ten minutes, a cranky family set up a blanket just 10 yards from me with acres of space around us. I had to laugh. Reminded me of when we'd go to Brighton Beach as children and we'd be alone on a wide stretch of sand. Inevitably some boys would come by and choose to play a vigorous ball game immediately beside us. My mother would shoo them off...there are ten miles of beach, she'd say, why must you choose this spot beside our blanket? Go away!! I didn't say that to the family today. Actually, they soon left as the spot had a precarious slope that their small child kept advancing toward. They got tired of yelling at him and getting up to stop him from falling. The space quieted down again and I nearly fell asleep in the sun.

We're coping with all that goes with caring for someone in hospice. Full-time work it is, indeed. Nevertheless, we have some moments of normalcy. For instance, Linda is an accomplished pianist and she's been practicing in the afternoons and it's truly wonderful to have live music. She's playing La Fille aux cheveux de lin (I think right spelling) at the moment. She's also been playing Satie, Mozart, and Chopin. Last Friday afternoon, two performers from across the street came over and did a concert for Rob. The woman guitarist is also a singer with a soft blues repertoire. The other was a bass player. A truly beautiful and heartwarming moment to have them in the living room playing soft jazz/blues with the amazing background of the Bay Area view. So, we're having some fine moments of living in the midst of coping with pain and the body becoming tired and unsettled in the process of disease.

I'm going to post here a chant that Rob and I developed, taken from The Five Precepts as written by Frank Ostaseski, the founder of Metta Institute which provides education for hospice caregivers and provides live-in space for those who are dying. Rob is not with the Metta Institute, nevertheless he was shown these precepts by the chaplain from the Kaiser Hospice.
Rob and I thought they would be wonderful to chant so we adapted them for a greater musicality.
Here they are.

(adapted from "Five Precepts" by Frank Ostaseski, founder, Metta Institute)

Welcome everything that arises. Neither approve nor disapprove. Trust, listen, pay careful attention to changing experience. Cultivate fearless receptivity.

Open to both joy and fear. Draw on strength and helplessness, wounds, and passions to discover a meeting place.

Discover rest in the middle of chaos. Bring full attention, without distraction, to this moment. This place of rest is always here. We need only turn toward it; an aspect of us that is never sick, is not born, and does not die.

Cultivate an open and receptive mind not limited by agendas, roles and expectations. Not- knowing is most intimate. Listen carefully to the inner voice, sensing urges, trusting intuition. Learn to look with fresh eyes.

Don't miss what this moment has to offer. Open to what the future holds for us, and opportunities that are before us. Waiting for the moment of death, we miss moments of living. Don't wait. If there are ones you love, tell them now. Enter fully what's most important. The precarious nature of life will show you the Way.