Sunday, April 10, 2011
Taking A Break
Caretakers - when do you take a break? I don't mean the kind of break where you go to work, or drive the kids to soccer practice, or sit down and close your eyes for a moment. Nor do I mean a solely a physical or geographical break. I also mean an emotional break. When do you take the time and the space to separate yourself from the labors of caretaking and from the accompanying heartache, anger, and emotional weariness?
And ill partners -- you may not be able to take a break from your own body and its symptoms, but do you take a break from the emotional suffering illness arouses?
For my partner's birthday, I gave us both the present of attending a four hour long program given by a renowned Tibetan Tulku and meditation master. The topic was loving-kindness. We are not Buddhists or meditators, but I thought we both needed some spiritual rescue from the all-encompassing fatigue of living with illness.
He spoke for the first two hours about pure love and the importance of focusing on joy. In truth, I couldn't capture much of what he said because the rhythmic way in which he spoke was already taking me to another dimension.
The final two hours he talked us through a guided meditation. I don't think Richard or I have sat still for two hours, in such quiet and peace, in years, maybe decades. Usually, when I'm not distracted or moving, my pain finds ways of reminding me that it has not yet gone away.
This experience (of guided meditation from a master) was much more than an unexpected break from the trivialities and the calamities of illness. It was a boost up to another level of experiencing. We focused on receiving joy and love from a pure source; of infusing every cell in our body with the light of that love; and then pouring that light out into the world to reach every living being.
For a couple of hours, we were part of a cycle that had nothing to do with illness or pain. A cycle that sustained us and engaged us as conduits, participating in creating something bigger than ourselves and our worries.
I have tried to go back to that space in the weeks since we attended this program. On my own, the light is a little dimmer, and my connection to the whole is more frayed. But I do get a break.
Have you found a way to get a break? What is your way?