“Joyce, it was that conversation that got me through the next terrifying six weeks of my life,” said my client (who is quite frankly one of the absolute best human beings I have ever known.) William was referring to our previous session, which occurred just days before his shocking diagnosis of nearly stage four cancer.
The discussion we had was about mindfulness, the importance of staying deeply rooted and connected in the present moment, rather than letting one’s “mind chatter” obsess about the past or worry about the future. I had explained to William that staying in the present provides grounding, peace, clarity and quality of life. I had also recommended that he read, The Power of Now, by Eckhart Tolle.
William shared that while he was going through countless tests and treatments, he chose not to place his awareness on thoughts about his cancer and prognosis. Instead, he mindfully focused his attention on his breath, the feelings inside his body, and even the music that played in the hospital as he was getting a CAT scan (which he said was a pretty enjoyable Madonna song, with a smirk.) He also listened to the audio version of The Power of Now whenever possible (and still does, by the way.)
He continued, “I realize now that it is as if in life, the needle sets on a record album the moment we are born and continues to cycle as we live. If we bring our awareness to the past or to the future, we scratch our record and there is no music. If we stay in the present moment, we hear the beauty of our song.”
I told you he is amazing. With a brilliant mind, a heart of gold and the courage of a lion, he is a man amongst men. I consider it an enormous compliment and a high honor to have served as his therapist for nearly a decade.
A couple of weeks ago and over a year since his diagnosis, William walked into my office looking more healthy and handsome than ever. With a broad smile on his face and a sparkle in his blue eyes, he exploded with love as he shared his joy about the day prior which consisted of togetherness with his family followed by a beautiful lovemaking experience with his wife, the mother of their two children. Since cancer, I was moved and happy to hear that very important and powerful shifts had occurred in their marriage.
William, being as strong as capable as he is, has always taken care of everybody in his life. While he always spoken with tremendous love and affection for his wife, there seemed to be an imbalance in their relationship and I was concerned as to how it affected each of them. Did his wife know and believe that she is his equal? Did he know and trust that she could care for him just as well as he cared for her?
Cancer brought them this gift. Once again in my practice and in life, I see that hardships are often opportunities for great blessings and growth.
Throughout his treatment, William never shed a tear for himself. He did however, weep with emotion as he talked about his wife’s strength, resiliency, loyalty, devotion, love and support. He was awed, amazed and profoundly moved by her response to his illness. He did also cry when he thought about the idea that he might not be around for her as long as he wishes. After empathizing with these understandable feelings, I gently reminded him to bring his attention from his fears of the unknown to the present—-to focus on Life, Love, the moment, his song…
In my practice, I consider Love my referral source. In my personal moments of meditation and quiet, I mindfully pray to God/the Universe/the web of Love that connects us all. I ask for clients to come to me who I can help and also from whom I can learn. I consider Love to be the currency of life.
Sometimes I wonder if I benefit more from my time with William than his with me, for his wisdom has flowed into my being and blessed far corners of my personal and professional life. I’ve chosen to let go of any guilt or anxiety about this, and instead I trust in the mutuality of the relationship and practice gratitude for the reciprocity.
I thank Love for bringing William into my practice.
It is Love that I feel for William. I express this to him by reflecting my deep knowing and understanding of him in the sacred space of my therapy office. It is being mindful during our sessions that gives me the ability to be truly present and connect with him on a this meaningful psycho-spiritual level.
It is a deeper Love for life, himself and his wife that mindfulness has brought to William.
Let us all learn from William. Live in the present moment and live with Love.
“As soon as you honor the present moment, all unhappiness and struggle dissolve, and life begins to flow with joy and ease. When you act out the present-moment awareness, whatever you do becomes imbued with a sense of quality, care, and love – even the most simple action.” ~Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment
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