Rest and Relax

The fact that I have a fascination with Time has been privately called to my attention. I do not disagree; in fact, I would go almost as far as agreeing that my interest in Time is a shallow obsession (shallow in that my interest is not sufficient to push me to delve deeply into the concept of Time). Humans have manipulated Time from the very beginning (which calls into question…when was the true “beginning?”). The Gregorian Calendar we use today has been in effect only since October 1582, when it replaced the Julian Calendar, which took the place of the ten-month Roman Calendar. We assume today’s Gregorian Calendar provides us with the “true” measure of Time and will, therefore, last into eternity and beyond. But humans are fickle, as evidenced by the fact that we continue to tamper with Time; twice each year, large swaths of humanity agree to adjust their clocks an hour forward or back, transforming the period of time we call a day by establishing one 23-hour day in early spring and one 25-hour day in the middle of fall. Looking into history, I believe it was the Roman Calendar that was ten months long and began in March. Today is the last day of the year; tomorrow will be a new, entirely artificial, beginning. But tomorrow already is today in New Zealand and other places in the far reaches of Planet Earth. People in those places have an edge on those of us who remain trapped in the year 2023. They know how the new year began. The rest of us are coming late to the game. Yet all of us—those of us still living in 2023 and those now experiencing the nascent new year of 2024—exist at the same time…if not for knowing the entire idea of Time is a human concept, our minds might melt as we tried to understand…


Though I keep trying, I have not yet been able to completely clear my mind of worry. “What if…,” I keep asking myself. And, as I think of a million things I need to do, I get frustrated that the actions I need and want to take are hampered by the fact that yet another holiday is making “normal” life impossible. Tomorrow will be just one week to the day since the last holiday. If we had lived our entire lives with at least one weekly holiday, along with a weekend (for those of us fortunate enough to be free of some “normal” obligations on the weekend), we all might be happier, more relaxed, and free. But that idea conflicts with the stresses and strains and worries that holiday shut-downs cause. We want free time, but we want that time to be readily available for us to be slaves to our worries. Ach!


Last night, mi novia and I discussed my desire to know what my oncologist really thinks about my condition. How likely is it, I wonder, that whatever treatments I undergo for my cancer will eliminate the cancer? Is my one-year or two-year or five-year survival likely? These are not morbid thoughts, they are practical concerns. Knowing the odds of progression (or lack thereof) of the cancer could help determine which of my millions things to do should be given priority.


I intend to call M.D. Anderson Cancer Center on Tuesday to explore the possibility and practicality of getting treatment there, versus here in Hot Springs. Exploring options is not equivalent to clutching at straws. Though I have confidence in the oncologists here, I just want to consider options that might be available to me and at what cost in terms of time, emotions, and money. Money, I think, is the least of my worries, given my Medicare supplemental insurance. But I have been surprised before, so I make no assumptions as to what I might learn.


We humans have lost the wisdom of genuinely resting and relaxing. We worry too much. We don’t allow our bodies to heal, and we don’t allow our minds and hearts to heal.

~ Thich Nhat Hanh ~

I slept a lot and rested even more during the last two weeks. Today, even though that sleep and rest seems to have helped rid me of the virus (or whatever) I had, I feel more than a shade of mental exhaustion. The cause, I assume, is related to the cancer diagnosis. Even though I expected it, actually seeing the results of the PET-scan and hearing the oncologist talk about the “bright” spots on the PET-scan images seems to have sapped my mental energy. I really need to pay heed to Thich Nhat Hanh’s implicit admonition; rest and relax and abandon worry to my body and my mind can more quickly and completely heal.


I began writing this post before 7 this morning; it is now nearing 11. Coming back to it and finishing it gives me a modest sense of accomplishment. Now I need to rest and relax; my plan was to shower and shave this morning, but I give myself permission to wait until this afternoon. In the meantime, I will do my damnedest to relax and rest.

About John Swinburn

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