Samain Bare Aspen Moon
Yesterday was, by this retired guy’s standards, a busy, busy day. Over to Evergreen for my quarterly glaucoma check at 9 a.m. Dr. Gustave says my pressures at 12 and 13 are just right. Who wants to go blind, right?
Back home for a bit. Helped Kate set up her new Ottlite, an early Hanukkah present for this Jewish quilter and needleworker. It looks really weird.
At 10:15 I went down the mountain into Aspen Park where David at On the Move Fitness gave me a new workout. The reverse crunches and planks were. Hard. After a comment about my knee implant David, 51, and I got to comparing surgical histories. He mentioned he’d had brain cancer and brain surgery in 2015, then 17 months of chemotherapy. He’s still scanned every 12 weeks, having graduated from every 8 weeks recently.
When I mentioned prostate cancer surgery as the least troublesome compared to the knee replacement and the Achilles rupture repair, he lit up. “I like to hear positive stories.” Turns out his brain cancer is of a type that tends to recur.
We agreed that nature was a great healer for both of us. I told him my story about the consolation of Deer Creek Canyon and he told me about his hikes, feeling the sun on his face. David ran a 15 mile race in the Canadian Rockies, near Whistler just this summer. He’s not letting fear hold him back.
I don’t really feel like a cancer survivor. It was such a strange experience, no symptoms, no sequelae other than those related to the surgical procedure. Yet, I am one. So far.
Back home for some vermicelli soup and a brief nap, then over to Beth Evergreen for the Thursday mussar class (Jewish ethics and character development). Marilyn and Carol led the session on gratitude. All through the class I thought about David and how grateful he was to be alive, feeling the sunshine on his face. Cancer does put things in perspective, if you pay attention. It releases us into a world where mortality has a more vigorous grip on our consciousness. If we survive.
During the conversation on gratitude we talked about the wonder and awe available to us always, in any given moment. I asked, “I believe the world is always wonderful and awesome if only we pay attention. So then a question is, what blocks us from seeing it. What’s the barrier?” Rabbi Jamie, in his way, came up with seven reasons, three major and four minor. I don’t recall them all, but he included over-sharing and numbing. How can we lean into gratitude, rather than self-absorption?
Vanessa, a member of the mussar group who has m.s.a., multi-system atrophy, a form of Parkinson’s, sent the link to this website. I’m usually not a fan of this sort of stuff, too treacly and soft for my taste, but this, this is something else. It’s the Network for Grateful Living.* Their vision, which surprisingly to me summed up my own, is below, along with their core values.
Back home for a brief nap, then a true grandparent evening. We drove in, through rush hour traffic, to Swigert elementary school. It took us an hour and a half of often excruciatingly slow traffic to get there. We were just in time for Gabe’s fourth grade concert of songs relevant to Colorado’s history. It lasted twenty minutes. Gabe ran over, gave me a hug, then grandma, then Jon. Jon was proud of him because he did not have his shirt tucked in. In fact, he looked a mini-Jon. Gabe went to his mom, then, because he and Ruth are with Jen this week. We got in the truck and came home.
*A peaceful, thriving, and sustainable world – held as sacred by all.
Our Core Organizational Values guide every aspect of our work, and are expressed and advanced through the practice of Grateful Living, which:
- Reveals that everyone belongs and everyone is valued
- Generates an experience of oneness and interconnectedness
- Deepens love, compassion, and respect for all life
- Cultivates a sense of sufficiency and abundance
- Awakens kindness and generosity
- Inspires the impulse to serve with humility
- Contributes to the healing of body, mind, and spirit
- Unleashes joy
- Anchors hope and trust in life, especially in challenging times
- Opens us to growth and opportunity
- Offers pathways from conflict to peace
- Is an engaged YES to a wholehearted life.