Life lesson 20,622.
Some of my blog readers know that seven months ago, I experienced a serious health emergency due to rheumatoid arthritis and/or RA drug induced complications (click here to read).
The events that occurred on that day as well as the two months that followed turned into a life altering experience that I haven’t shared much about.
I’m ready to share now.
The story goes like this: In 2009, I realized that while it was true that I was breathing, I wasn’t really living. For years, I wasn’t engaged with Life. On the outside, I went through the motions doing the things I had to do each day. On the inside, life was hard, full of disappointments and burdens. There wasn’t much about life that impressed me.
Something had to change. Being stuck in the drudgery was no longer an option. I had to find a way to live happily engaged to loving Life.
So, I began this blog in 2010, called it “Grandeurvision” with the sub-heading “a woman’s journey to a meaningful life” and set out to change my life.
Throughout 2010, good fortune came my way. I was able to experience coaching by a couple of really great life coaches. I attended some very empowering workshops and met some really awesome positive people (including blog neighbors).
Headed in the right direction, life was changing. I felt enthusiastic about living.
Unbeknown to me, the best was yet to come.
The best was the serious health emergency that occurred seven months ago. That’s when the “full monty”, “the whole nine yards” came to light.
The shock, at first, felt like I ran into a brick wall. My world suddenly stopped. There was nothing to do, except lie in the hospital bed. It was the closest I’d ever come to death.
Funny thing is, I lived most of the years prior not really wanting to live. Now, I had a close to death experience. It called my name to say, “Pay attention here, Marianne, this is really important.”
So—I was lying in my hospital bed in the cardiac ward unable to sleep at 4 a.m. when the man in the bed next to me began talking in his sleep. I listened intently to hear what he was saying, but disappointed to realize it sounded like gibberish. In fact, it sounded totally alien, like he was having a bubbly conversation with a being from another planet. His pitch rose and lowered in a melodious kind of way.
It seemed like his conversation went on for a really long time. Eventually, the night nurse heard him. She went to his bedside, called his name several times while gently nudging him. Still dazed, he mumbled something about the bathroom. He wasn’t able to stand up, so the nurse called other nurses to help sit him on the commode.
The nurses had him half out of his bed when he collapsed into unconsciousness. A code blue alerted hospital staff and within seconds a team of 8 or 10 health care workers arrived with equipment to resuscitate him. It took an awfully long time to stabilize him. Then, they moved him to the intensive care unit where his needs would be cared for better.
Throughout the entire time, I was in the next bed, shaking and praying to God, “Please don’t let him die.”
This is where the “attention” part came in.
Within a handful of days, two serious life and death situations presented; one that happened to me (hence the reason I was in the hospital in the cardiac ward) and one that I witnessed (the man in the next bed).
It was as if Life would make sure I wouldn’t miss this lesson. I was afraid that I would die and I was afraid the man in the bed next to me would die. In the grip of the fear of death, a gift emerged. It was a clear realization that I wanted to Live and I wanted the man next to me to Live.
The experience opened my eyes to view Life differently.
Life is no longer about having stuff, doing stuff or being a “somebody”. Life is about the fact that I’m being Life Itself. I’m not Marianne living Marianne’s little life. I’m Life acting out Life through a physical body experiencing events. I’m experiencing Life living and being Life. It’s the most sacred thing I’ve ever felt.
On a sensation level, the shift in perception is huge. On a thinking, writing or speaking level, the shift can hardly be explained.
It doesn’t matter what I’m doing or what I’m having. It doesn’t matter whether this body is diseased or healthy. All that matters is that I’m living and loving in this moment. That’s all that matters.
By pleading and praying for the man in the bed next to me, I was loving him — a man who was a total stranger. I wanted the same for him that I wanted for myself — Life. I wanted Life for both of us.
While we are here, experiencing Life in this body, it is a privilege and an honor to spend time with others, to share, to give, to help.
In the end, when faced with death, all that really matters is how loving and kind we were to ourselves and to others.
Is it really possible to live with the awareness of this truth in each and every moment?