Children of the Sun, Earth, and Moon

 

Aristophanes tells a creation myth that places humans of all three genders (androgynous, male, and female) in a primeval state of eternal bliss. However, we grew insolent in our blissful state and refused to properly honor the gods (and even tried to pursue them in their mountainous home). As punishment, we were split in two. Those with a “male” nature (the Children of the Sun) became homosexual men; those with a “female” nature (the Children of the Earth) became Lesbians; and the androgynes (Children of the Moon) became heterosexuals. Navels are the souvenirs of the operation we all went through in being divided from our beloved other half. The myth warns humanity to be careful in always honoring the gods (especially Eros) or we will be hewn in two once more, leaving us to hop around on just one leg. Part of properly honoring Eros is to search for and find our lost half, to be restored to our natural state of bliss. (Thanks to Josh for pointing me here).

My cousin, a Child of the Earth, married her partner of 16 years yesterday. Celebrating were children of earth, moon, and sun. Open, legal, honored. My dad was a Child of the Sun, in the closet to his death 42 years ago. He was present through me, having a blast – and honored.

The procedure wasn’t successful, but the experience was

I went to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston Friday for an outpatient invasive procedure. Pretty amazing. A well oiled production, well-informed, with amazing service. Upon arrival my wife and I received a pager to signal us when the prep nurse would be ready for us. We sat in an area asking us not to eat there to respect people who were NPO (nothing by mouth) while waiting for surgery. In 10 minutes we were called into the OR prep area and told what to expect while we were being prepped for the procedure.  They had plastic tents labeled H&P (history and physical), OR consent, Anesthesia consent, site identification, medication reconciliation.  As they completed each one, the tents were moved from one side of the table to the other.  I was asked which side my procedure was going to be on, what was the procedure I was having (in my own words), I got a bracelet with my ID, one with my allergies, and one on the side of my surgery.  The consents were in Plain English, were explained to me, time given for questions. Very smooth, quick, but didn’t seem rushed. During shift change, the hand-off was complete, verbal, and included me. Everyone was amazingly pleasant and personable except one person (who stood out in such contrast).  This continued for all nurses, technicians, physicians, and assistants.  The surgeon called my wife on her cell phone after the surgery to tell her everything. My instructions were clear, written, and repeated several times.  I received a phone call the next morning to ask how I was doing and see if I had any questions. The procedure was not successful. I was so disappointed, but the possibility had been explained to me. The experience was a success. We’ve come such a long way over the years. Thanks all.

Increasing the Balance in Our Health Journey

I’m using my health team actively this past month. I’m bone tired, stressed about work, worried about my health, all without my usual optimism and positive thinking. I’m out of balance. Yet, my mission is to increase the balance people, caregivers, and clinicians feel as they journey together towards best health. I need the balance, too, if I’m going to continue to meet my mission. Thankfully I have colleagues on my health team that can help. My career coach pointed out to me that I spend 90% of my time focusing on the organization I work for and 10% on myself. My music teacher suggested I focus on one music venue and cut out the others for a while. My physicians are helping me manage the path through some elective surgery. My personal counselor suggested time to recover – a weekend of meditation and a long weekend in Newport with my honey. As a leader, I do think about balance with my staff. Family first! But I don’t think we really balance well. I contribute to the lack of balance by pushing, pushing the envelope.

 

Balance implies constant motion – seesaw-like. Balance occurs occasionally naturally while going up and down. Some time a shift in weight, sometime a major lightening of a load. Balance needs space and time to recalibrate. To think, to reflect, to adjust, to meditate, to vacation, to take a deep breath. How do we help each other create space and then balance? I worked for a Catholic organization that often used the word grace. Thanks for giving me some grace. I could use a little grace here. The agency I work for now says,  first we listen. That’s another kind of space. Sometimes balance is an active process – change something, add a weight, take off a weight. More time at work, more time with family, more music, more exercise, more greens. Sometimes it’s laying back, letting life play out and return to balance as part of the normal see-saw. I’m lucky that I have a low tolerance for being out of balance.  I feel it acutely. I find it easier to be active to attain balance than to give myself some grace and let let the balance return more organically. It’s feels better to be creating space and appreciating space.  More optimistic, better spirit.  Let’s see what happens.

Grief Subsides, Inch by Inch

I’m reading Scott Simon’s book, Unforgettable. A son, a mother, lessons of a lifetime. Beautifully written and so close to home. Scott Simon’s book resonates for me. It’s been four months since my mom died. Like Scott Simon, I, too, laid next to my mom in her bed telling stories. Before dying I was grossed out at the idea of laying in bed next to her. Now I treasure those moments. I feel her loss everyday.  Actually, it’s almost every day now, not every, every day. I resent that it’s not every day. Last November I was so upset that the 11th anniversary of my boy, Mike’s death passed without me remembering. I cherish the bittersweet sadness  and the exquisitely tender spots of these memories. What have I become when I forget those who color my tapestry? Yet I am recovering. Very slowly regaining  my strength and my center. The surrealness of loss and grief subsides inch by inch. Thank god. I couldn’t stay floating in that ever-deepening well of grief. Grief is again becoming a quirky, intriguing  companion. Oh ma, where are you now? Do you have more stories for me? I have so many for you.