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An Unexpected Encounter.

I haven’t written for some time.  Writing happens when writing happens.

Today I was walking through my neighborhood Randall’s to get a few items.  I meandered through the aisles with my short list on repeat in my head so that I would not forget.  All of sudden, my eyes fell upon a lady.  She appeared to be in her late 50’s, though truly I don’t know.  More than just the eyes, my whole body was moved by her appearance; a nervous fluttering, and breathing that spontaneously felt heavy.  I walked past her calmly, though my body experienced the opposite.

The following description may be too graphic for some, though I will share it because it was what I saw. 

She had two black and blue eyes, a nose that was swollen and crusted with a significant amount of visible blood.  Her demeanor appeared fragile, though that might have been my own projection.  She was on the phone as I saw her.

I headed to the check out, though my heart felt as if it had stopped in the aisle with the lady.  My heart felt uncomfortably concerned.  Even while I was paying for my groceries, I kept glancing back to where I saw the lady.  Was she still there?  Should I just leave and go on about my evening?  Should I go back and ask her if she is ok or if she needed anything?  Would she tell me even if she needed help?  What would I do if she said yes?

As I grabbed my grocery bag, I turned my head back one more time.  She was still there on the phone.  My legs started walking toward her even while my head continued with its questions.  As I got closer, she was no longer on her phone.

I stood in front of her and looked gently into her eyes.  I asked, “Excuse me, I hope it is ok for me to ask this, are you ok?  Is there anything you need?”.  She looked at me and very quickly said, “Oh thank you, I am ok.  I just fell.  I broke my ribs”.  I had no idea of broken ribs from the surface of her appearance.  “I am just coming from the doctor’s office and he fixed my nose”.  There was a brief pause.  I said, “Ok, I saw you and felt concerned. I wanted to check if you were ok or needed help of any kind”.  Our eyes still meeting, we smiled gently at one another.  I walked out of Randall’s to my car and back home to my family.

Perhaps what she said was true and perhaps it was not.  I wondered, “Would a doctor really let her leave their office without a bandage of some kind?”.  I guess I won’t know for sure.  My gut still felt concerned for her.  

I went back to the safety of my home and my family.  My hope is that this lady is safe and heals.  I will have to be ok with at least letting her know that I saw her and that I offered concern and care, even if for a moment.

 

***  I don’t know that I would have had the courage to walk back to this lady had I not taken SAFE’s advocate training this past year.  I am deeply thankful for those that do this important work daily.

New Guided Meditation

Hi Everyone,

I am sharing a new guided meditation.  It is from a live class I offered on Mind Oasis yesterday.  This recording has a few minutes of orientation to the practice of iRest yoga nidra.  The guided practice begins at about 4:43 and is about fifteen minutes long.  You will be guided from opening the senses, to feeling body sensations and the breath.  Throughout practice you will be invited to explore into the feeling of Being as it might be opening up for you.

If you are curious about Mind Oasis, it is an online platform for practicing meditation LIVE, from anywhere you are with community.  While the practice of meditation has been transformative for me, the community I have come to know along the way has been a vital support as well.  Here you get both, live guidance and community.  This is an incredible resource especially for those that either don’t have classes or teachers in their towns, or who cannot get to classes during the times they are offered.

In Peace,

Sheila

 

FREE Live, Online Meditation Class

I am excited to venture into the online world of meditation.  While sitting directly with practitioners is what I love, I know many do not have access to classes or cannot attend them due to life circumstances. I have also received from my teachers at a distance, and the transmission of teachings and practice has been just as powerful.

On October 18th, 8:08 pm CT, I will offer a free, live 30 minute class through Mind Oasis.  There will be time for a brief check-in followed by a guided iRest meditation.  If you are not familiar with iRest yoga nidra meditation, this is a deeply restorative practice where you can experience profound rest, ease and clarity of Being.  The guided practice will be accessible to newcomers and established practitioners alike.  You don’t need to sign up in advance, simply show up a few minutes prior to class on the day of from the comfort of your home or wherever you may be.

Please use the following link to join this live meditation practice.

http://themindoasis.org/class/meditate-on-the-8s-mo8/

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Living into Dying

I have had the gift and privilege of sitting beside a friend who is in the process of dying.  Even saying the word is hard at times.  Sometimes I soften the language by saying “passing away”, almost like a cloud passing in the sky.  Dying and death has so much more of a finality to it, at least in this physical realm.  But still it is the straight truth.

Conversations at this precipice of life and death are unabashedly Real.  We sit and meet each other Being to Being.  When the body and personality are in the processing of going, they naturally soften into the background.  Here the foreground is spacious, and we can feel and share how the personal and transient currents arise and fall away.  They carry less of a good or bad.  It is very much like Rumi describes, “the field beyond wrongdoing and rightdoing”.  Everything just is.  Judgements soften, and intimacy and trust deepen.  

For me it has been a season of witnessing the tenderness of humanity, the fragility of the physical body, and the immensity of Spirit/Essence that is so large that it moves through me like the ocean itself.

Love and ease to my friend as this journey continues within and beyond the body.

 

 

Remembering

It is fitting that I am remembering my Dad today on September 9th.  It is his birthday, though he is no longer here in physical form.  He passed away almost twelve years ago now.  My relationship with my Dad was mixed, loving at times and quite difficult others.  I know in my Heart that he was always doing the best that he could. Despite the difficulties, he was often, if not always at my soccer games.  He took a keen interest in my education.  I remember when fiber optics was all the rage, he took me into New York city to an exhibit at the museum of science on telecommunications.  Trips to NYC were rare so it felt pretty cool, though I am not sure I appreciated it fully at the time.  He had a passion for science and was eager to share it with me.  Beyond soccer and science, he had a real quirkiness about him, likely where I get much of mine.

Fast forward to 2005.  He was diagnosed with cholangiocarcinoma five days after the birth of my daughter, Sophia. He passed away eighteen months later, just a month prior to the birth of my second daughter, Sonia.  Birth and death were very much alive for my family, all at once.  The first year of Sophia’s life I traveled most months between Austin and Houston, so that I could be at home at least a week or two, out of every month.  I often tell myself that I didn’t fully process my Dad’s passing because I was either postpartum or just about to deliver my second.  As I look back now, I realize that the processing was happening across those last eighteen months of his life.  Watching cancer move through him was preparing my whole family for the final passing. In his later months, he was quite weak.  He no longer looked the way we had known him to look.  His spirit was alive, but his physical state was fragile.  For a man who could have a fierce temper, it was hard to see him in this way.  Those eighteen months, I grieved.  I grieved for him not being able to see his grandchildren grow up.  I grieved for him not being able to enjoy retirement in the way that he could have.  I grieved for all the moments I wish I had had with my Dad, and for those sweet moments that I did have.  I grieved, realizing that he had always done the best that he was able to do as a father.

I remember in the last months of his life, my sister had an unfortunate injury to her ankle, leaving her to have urgent surgery and then recuperating at home for almost two months.  During this time, I went to Houston to be with them.  It was a complete paradox of fortune and misfortune.  My Dad was entering his last stages of life and my sister was recovering from a severe injury.  I was able to be at home with all of them – my Mom, Sophia, Sonia in utero, my Dad and my sister.  Even during that time, as weak as my Dad was, I could feel his concern and care for my sister’s recovery.  He would occasionally prompt my then fourteenth month old to go into my sister’s room to shower her with kisses in the way only a fourteenth month old could.  After a few weeks I returned home to Austin, only to receive a call a week later that it was time.  My Dad called me saying, “Sheila beta, there is not much time now”.  My heart sank.  I still remember it so vividly.

*****

The next day, I was back in Houston with Sophia and Herb.  Three days later he passed away at home surrounded by his family.  Those last three days are still a blur to me, and perhaps that is why I feel that I didn’t grieve fully.  Everything from that point onward also feels cloudy, as we returned home to Austin with my mom, and I delivered my dear Sonia a little more than a month later.

*****

Today, on September 9th, 2018, it is raining.  We have the screen doors open.  I can hear the pitter patter of the rain, and feel the humidity on my skin.  There is an achiness in my heart, my throat feels caught as if in mid-sentence, my abdomen tender.

It feels like the breath and the rain are washing over me.

Happy birthday to my dear Dad.