Body and Mind
A Tribute To Stephen Levine
[Love] is not a dualistic emotion. It is a sense of oneness with all that is. The experience of love arises when we surrender our separateness into the universal. It is a feeling of unity. You don’t love another; you are another. There is no fear because there is no separation. It is not so much that “two are as one” as it is “the One manifested as two.” In such love there can be no unfinished business.
I wonder if my relationship with my mother will improve as her dementia progresses. It would make both our lives simpler. I also wonder how long it will be before I forget what a mango is. Before my home is festooned with post-it notes. Before all my mother’s deficiencies become mine.
I don’t remember feeling fear, only exhilaration and gratitude, like in my dreams. A feeling of ah. The sky was brilliant blue, cloudless. The balloon was yellow. We rose and rose until the pilot turned off the burner, and then it was quiet except for our voices, the creaking basket, and an occasional whoosh of air against nylon. From five thousand feet, everything on the ground seemed small, forgivable.
The boy did for the fisherman the greatest thing that can be done. He may have been too young for perfect terror, but he was old enough to know there were things beyond the power of any man. All he could do he did, by trusting his father to do all he could, and asking nothing more.
Dr. C. doesn’t sit, as if he won’t be staying long, but he does have information for us. He says that 75 percent of women deliver within a week of membrane rupture. He says that if they induce labor now, and Olivia is alive, we will have complete say in her care and how much we want the doctors to do to keep her alive. But if I deliver a few days from now, my daughter will be twenty-four weeks, and the hospital’s ethics board will step in to limit our choices.
Though we aren’t blasé about death, we are accustomed to it. We know it will happen. When a person is hospitalized, it means his or her condition could turn serious, fast. A simple case of pneumonia could result in a whole-body infection that spirals and becomes fatal. A patient receiving a new hip could develop a blood clot that clogs his lungs. A heart-failure patient could suffer an arrhythmia. But hospital deaths are rarely as terrible as John’s.
All day I fought the HIV virus, a bug that was taking men — or mostly men — from the world, and at night I found light-brown, circular bugs on my pillow. I never crushed them; I lifted them delicately into a trash bin.
The rush of wings produced a low sandpaper hum that was both intimidating and exhilarating. The thrum of a colony of bees is a sound that stays in your blood. It’s addicting. Spend time with bees, and you may develop a second heartbeat, an unmistakable constant pulse.