Ed, this is a Happy Easter note and a Thank You for something you said repeatedly in one way or another so many years ago. Of the Ed Horton lessons it's the one I best remember, and you and just a couple of educators are the only people I know who have consciously applied this wisdom, although we all know people who don't say bad things about others and people who are optimistic. What did you say? Well, any time I'd say, "Darn it all, Ed, I'll never learn to play this kazoo," you'd say, "Yet."

Whatever the situation, you'd neutralize anything that I had set in motion or perpetuated that wasn't perfectly healthy. It's time to say "Thank you" as I remember your doing that for me long ago and as I clean up and realign my life today. It has been almost two months since the knee replacement that I was so dreading. I wasn’t exactly in shape for the surgery — hadn’t been leading a balanced life in Qatar — and that’s always wrong. I’d fallen into so much fear and defensiveness and disappointment. Or perhaps after so many other surgeries, I was just so tired and so disappointed that the knee couldn’t be saved. Maybe I was mad. No excuse, but not a good pre-surgical attitude either.

Now that I know what’s going on with the body (after the fever and nausea that lasted over a month; after the cycle of pain in the knee that developed a life of its own; after back x-rays; after cortisone; after weird, weird back injury and pain; after more heavy drugs; after more doctors... you know), I’ve got a healthier grip on healing that is more a matter of centering and cooperation than floundering and screaming and hanging on doggedly to other people’s faith about how I was going to be OK. As I said to my daughter, "there just aren’t any atheists in foxholes." She didn’t understand. But war being a metaphor for life, after you’ve done all you can to protect yourself — dug a hole and put on your helmet and flak jacket and loaded your rifle and followed your experienced and well-decorated commander, etc. — with the bullets flying around your head, comrades dying like flies, and ammo running low, everyone prays, "Oh, God, get me outta this one!"

Whatever, I don’t want to dwell on the whys of my resistance, when the truth is that I am all better now and growing better each day. Of course, physical therapists are pleased with the flexion and increasing extension of the knee (me too!), and recovery has been a rising graph of success. There have also been one-after-the-other oddities of such intensity that the graph has had huge fluctuations in it that I wouldn’t wish on any living soul. If it weren’t for the obvious fact so well expressed in the somewhat aggravating truism, "Wherever you go, there you are!" I’d have run away from my body. The result is that this knee and associated unexpectedness and perhaps the duration of intensities has become a life-changing event. And that’s a good thing.

The elimination of other things to do — work, correspondence, cleaning, building, writing and such — has not created more time that I could use in some anticipated way while the knee healed. Rather, I’ve taken my self-centered life — not one day at a time — but 15 minutes at a time, with only the most basic commitments to former ties to a bigger world. The life-changing features that have insisted on recognition include all the things that we as humans "know better than" but don’t do. All those times we say to someone else, "I know; I know…" about a truth we haven’t implemented. I remember a comedian affectionately known as "Brother Dave" when I was a kid. Brother Dave used to say, "I know I’ve been wrong, but I want to try it one more time." It was funny, because it was so honest.

This has been my work — alignment — this and physical therapy, seeing numerous healers and my doctors. The good that can be accomplished through my life must be released by my recognition of it and in my words. Hey, I’m so much better now. This works for me: recognition, correction, alignment (with that spiritual energy that continues to create), balance, gratitude. The results are foxhole results — sometimes instantaneous and progressive and often appearing magical — even to my husband. And given how often human wisdom/mythology/religion recognizes the power of words to call worlds into being in creation stories, perhaps respect of this god-like activity might be an echo in all human ears. It is imperative that I (we) guard and sometimes correct everything we say, and when I say "correct," those statements are corrected not toward the truth of cause and effect and karma and laws of retribution, but corrected toward the truth that we are energy, and the truth that the subconscious hears a statement and does not weigh the factual truth value of that statement but uses the statement like software and makes the statement happen. Our words quite literally call the material world into being. And this is a "religious" statement only insofar as there is no difference between life and religious life. It is a Christian statement insofar as you hear echoes yourself: "Pray without ceasing," for example. And it’s a generally recognized fact that everything said 24/7 — everything — is a prayer that the world be the way we spoke, whether damned or lied or appreciated or encouraged or described or.... Krishnamurti said, "You are the world"; and that (whew!) is a meditation.



Sheron Mariah Steele is a former Gulf States school headmistress.
Photo ©2005 Florian Kohler - website: www.flickr.com/photos/teepi

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