Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Begin by loving the self that you are

"Developing awareness is the most exciting, creative gift that man can present to himself. It allows you to see the world with new eyes. It allows you to appreciate that which is usual, that which is new, that which is old, and that which is different. It broadens the perspective of life from a singular focus of self, to a multiple focus of All That Is." (JOH, 138)

Watching older people as they make their way to airport terminals and gates, so carefully, and, most, so gratefully, moves me to tears sometimes. Just now, watching a vibrant youngish woman dressed to dazzle, guiding two older women, perhaps sisters, I smile as they wait for the cart to take them, as they climb aboard, the younger woman sitting at an angle so she can hold an arm of each as the friendly driver turns and begins to move the cart in the other direction. An older man, limping but strong and strong-willed, has lived this self-confident role of finding out what needed to be known - directions, time, details to help be efficient - still taking care this way, and clapping the back of an employee who answered his questions.

Appreciation can never be overrated.

There is no appreciation like the way we might fully feel ocean waves, wind, remembering childhood moments of pure innocence, singing, softening each node's intimate opening into the shallows full of life it takes true looking to see. Tiny life notes. I think of my handsome nephew, my view sitting next to him as we ate - his scruff of chin growth, his eyelashes light-colored, long and heavy, like a butterfly lifting over slate blue eyes.

"I'm not smart enough to understand what she writes," someone tells me when I ask if they have read Kathy Oddenino's Joy of Health book. I'm shocked by this, from this someone who has such gifts, such a caring and grateful heart and appreciative mind in so many ways. As I listen to my niece talk about her classes, I hear the way she perceives that Health is being taught, or learned. Some learn a lot, some nothing. Health and History class may be among the least popular, the least interesting to the most. I hear another grad student speak of her nursing job, her pleasure and sadness in working with the children in pediatric oncology - and her eagerness and hope to be part of the continuing research to "find a cure." She truly cares. I can't help but think, Yes! We must first only begin to remember the food, air, and water which revive our very souls, the complex cells within us.  We are energetic beings. I try to remember my 15-year-old, my 21-year-old mind, then 25. How do I "see myself" and my education now? I reflect on the way we perceived education in our history  - the Renaissance, the Greeks, the times before radio, television, the orators of old, the King and I-tutors. We have degraded learning into a primarily physical focus, another subject - "types of learning and techniques of learning." What does knowledge truly mean to us? How does it serve us? What does knowledge do for our minds? Our health? Why do we learn? Is it fun?

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