Steve and I walk down to Starbucks for a latte. As usual, I request no lid and she tells me she is disobeying the rules to let me have it that way, that it is a safety hazard to not have a lid. I think of the women in Bali who saunter gracefully with baskets filled with fruit upon their heads. Are we in this country incapable of walking 20 feet with a cup of hot liquid in our hands?
That, on a day, when there are more people to grieve who have died this year in war.
Hmmm! And yet, I am in a good mood, a mood softened by the awareness of death.
I am also with the book Waking by Matthew Sanford. It reminds me of the book on Charlotte Selver's work, called Waking Up. We don't have to be paralyzed to not be totally utilizing our bodies, and connecting body-mind.
Matthew Sanford writes this:
In some ways, everyone faces a similar choice about his or her body. As I strap myself behind the wheel of a car, in a virtual cockpit of lights and gadgets, as I move my consciousness into yet another technology screen - whether television, computer, or cell phone - I know that I am disconnecting from my body. When I watch relatively healthy people ride the moving sidewalks in airport terminals, or take an elevator up a single floor, I wonder about these choices. When I trade the feeling of warm water running over my hands for the convenience of a dishwasher, I know that I am losing something.
These are not mistakes or moral failings. They are simply choices. They are choices we make that define how we interact with our bodies, and they shape our consciousness. If I had chosen to embrace the speed of my wheelchair and become a successful wheelchair athlete, you would not have judged me to be morally lacking. In fact, you might have admired my determination. These choices do not make us good or bad people. But they do determine the connection we experience to our bodies.
The Industrial Revolution and Information Age have had an unintended consequence - they have moved us farther away from our bodies. This is not a necessary consequence, however. I am not saying that we should spurn technology. That's as silly as saying that I should have refused to use a wheelchair. I can use my wheelchair and still keep a vibrant connection to my whole body. It does mean, though, that I must make the process of integration with my paralyzed body more conscious, more focused. As a paraplegic, I can no longer rely on the normal course of my daily life to ensure a healthy connection between my mind and my body. The same is true for all of us.
Yes, the same is true for all of us. I read yesterday of third graders who have on-line friends. I think of my son Jeff when he was 13 and living in an extremely liberal area. By going on-line, he communicated with those who were "over there" in the first Gulf War. He learned there were many sides to the issue, and then, he came to his own conclusions. The man who sits on the pavement in Chico learns that many military people go to Iraq and build hospitals. The issues are complex, and technology presents us with a variety of opinions and options, and then, we can go to our bodies, to heart, mind, gut, and feel our way to what feels right for us. This is a day to do that, Memorial Day, a day to remember and honor all the cells in our body, and celebrate and bring as much as possible to awareness, consciousness and life. In that, we come to a better understanding and acceptance of death.