A Welcome Experience

Yesterday was a sleep day. I slept, or tried to sleep, for most of the day. The ache that has been hounding me, off and on, for weeks decided to take up semi-permanent residence in my head. Sleeping was the only way to combat the symptoms, so I slept. I am not sure how a person can muscle through the pain and get to sleep, but I did it several times during the day. Every time I woke, though, the headache was waiting for me. Though the headache was not the reason I spent last week in the hospital, it took up time and energy from the medical staff, who sought to determine the cause and who tried to ease the pain. A brain CT-scan revealed nothing out of the ordinary. And the rather weak pain remedies the medical staff administered did little to reduce the throbbing, aching, deeply annoying headache. The pain was not excruciating, but it interrupted my ability to enjoy being conscious. My headache may be related to tight muscles in my shoulders, neck, and lower skull (that’s my assessment, not the doctors’), but so far I have not been given any muscle relaxants nor received a long, comforting massage.


Be soft in your practice.
Think of the method as a fine silvery stream,
not a raging waterfall.
Follow the stream, have faith in its course.
It will go its own way,
meandering here, trickling there.
It will find the grooves, the cracks, the crevices.
Just follow it.
Never let it out of your sight.
It will take you.

~ Sheng-Yen ~


The temperature outside is a chilly 5°F again, but the wind chill is only -6°F. Later today, the high temperature is expected to reach 37°F for a couple of hours, though I doubt that brush with the sun will do much to melt the snow and ice covering the roads. Tomorrow morning at 8:15, I have my first chemo-therapy appointment. I hope the roads are not too icy to make the trip into town.


Reading and re-reading the words of Sheng-Yen, I understand more today than I did yesterday. With enough time and focus and willing acceptance, I can understand things I never thought about before. That is a welcome experience.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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