When to rage, when to meditate

On a day trip to the coast, my husband and I found ourselves in atypical traffic driving over the mountain that leads out of our town.

A pick up was ahead of us, tailgating a large camper that was slowly navigating the sinewy curves down the mountain as it towed a car behind it.

The pick up was persistent; swerving into the opposite lane around blind turns, and riding the camper way too close.

At first Casey and I were annoyed, and then alarmed, and finally furious.

I wanted to honk at the tailgater, holler out our window at him, pull him over and give it to him, take down his license plate and call the police. (We couldn’t see the plates.)

I began fantasizing revenge.

This was my red flag.

May he feel safe. May he feel at ease. May he feel in control…

To the offering of Metta, I added a cooling breath, rolling my tongue, and breathing through it like a straw.

Within moments, I felt better.
Did he slow too?

Soon we were at the bottom of the mountain and the camper turned off the highway.

I thought about my voice and politics.

Alleviating or exacerbating?

To whom am I paying attention?
To what?
And how might I be most helpful given the circumstance of each situation?

Palm Sunday

My childhood was steeped in religion which I borrowed from neighbors and friends because my family had been alientated by religons which excluded the marriage of a Catholic and Jew.

With each of our moves around the country, I soaked up what I could find, including a broad swath of the Christian variety–from Catholicism to Mormonism, Protestantism to Evangelicism, Episcopalian to Baptist.

What remains of this steeping is a deep affinity for Palm Sunday. I’m uncertain why. Perhaps it was the takeaway. What child could resist having a palm placed in her hand, especially in a climate where none can be found.

Which may explain my delight at finding myself in a predominantly Catholic country last Sunday where palms abound. By mistake, I wandered into an evangelical gathering which eschewed palms so as not to be associated with the “Catolica’s.”

I was so warmly welcomed, however, that I couldn’t turn around so I stayed long enough to enjoy the music and then went in search of some lunch, giving up on palms.

At the corner of Siemptember 11th and Pedro de Valdivia, however, I was lured a few steps further by the ringing of church bells.

Without a thought, I stepped into small stone chapel, and eagerly set down 750 pesos for one of the last of the beautiful bouquets of palm, accented by rosemary.

I entered just before the parishioners lifted their palms overhead in a singing processional out the side door.

I too followed the golden-garbed priests outside, humming along, but then crossed the street with my palm, and headed toward Los Dominicos for the much-lauded Chilean mid-day meal.

As I exited the subway at the edge of town, I turned west to the Andes and climbed a hill toward the artisanal market.

There, I stumbled upon another Palm Sunday celebration, in the open air, coming to a close with a chorus of “Hosanna, Hosanna” and “Amen, amen, amen, amen, amen.

I joined in, and remembered what it is I loved about the feeling of this day… how Jesus arrived on a donkey, and how palms were placed on the ground to soften his way.

It’s not nearly as dramatic as Good Friday, or as exalted as Easter, but I love how it was steeped in peace and gentility, making it my kind of holiday.

April 2011, Santiago, Chile

Click here to read Easter Sunday.

Click here to read more about Santiago, Chile.

For the previous post in the life purpose series: April 19th.

For the follow up post in the series: Dreaming the Dream

Building a Foundation of Wellbeing

Kelly Salasin, January 2011

Ever since my Naturopath put me on a 21 day liver cleanse (restricting gluten, dairy, sugar, caffeine, alcohol and eggs), I’ve developed a new relationship with fruit and vegetables.  My grocery budget has suffered the cost of these organic items, but my body feels great (when I stick to the diet.)

In the process, I’ve realized that I’d rather spend more money on wholesome foods, than on doctor bills and supplements; which led me to think about the other choices I make–or don’t make–when it comes to the foundation of health.

Why do I so readily resign myself to payments for the house and our cars, while feeling fraught with conflict over spending on wellbeing?

It was time for me to decide what was most important when it came to my health.  Which is how I came up with the idea to create my own wellbeing pyramid–something to guide my attention and choices around what is most foundational.  This triangular prism  has plenty of dimension to include body, mind, spirit and emotion.

At the broad base of the structure is where I’d place ALIGNMENT~Alignment of my life and my choices with truth and meaning and balance.

Next would be RELATIONSHIP.  Caring for self, family and community, large and small.

CREATIVE EXPRESSION and CONTRIBUTION would make up the third level.

PLAY & EXERCISE the fourth.

FOOD choices on the fifth.

SUPPORT SERVICES on the sixth~including body workers and therapists.

Toward the top would be SUPPLEMENTS, used for maintenance, prevention and treatment.

At the very tip would be MEDICAL CARE, first in the form of naturopathy (whole medicine), and lastly in the form allopathy, including pharmaceuticals and surgery.

The question now is whether I will use this realization to shift my choices and spending.  Certainly, there are times of crisis where one is required to jump toward the top. But how often are those acute needs caused by neglecting something more foundational?

This appears to apply to matters of societal and world health too.

We rush to intervene militarily when more foundational support could have prevented violent action.

We spend billions on toxic spills when we could have been investing in clean, renewable energy sources.

We develop suicide or abuse prevention trainings while neglecting to tend to the most basic needs for wellbeing in our communities and schools and homes.

I surmise that we all SPEND too much at the top, without building a strong base of health and wellbeing.

How do you see it?

What do you want to be the foundation for your own wellbeing?