The Way of the Orchid……

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Permit me to say that I have not been as available here as I am wont, not by personal choice but by the weight of events that have suddenly all come together all at once, not excluding the bad bout of flu that I had to wrestle through and overcome. I mean, bring it on! Not to sound blase in my remarks, I say that it has indeed been a wonderful week as usual, characterized by the unpredictability of Myoclonus, I have had my share of good and bad days. Barely had an hour’s sleep in 72 hours and entertained the gawking stares of the unenlightened, the passing on of friends and ‘friends’ and the beauty of meeting unique individuals who in their own little way within those few moments, injected some extra zest to the beauty of my unique personal challenges.

I have learnt to “Be genuinely interested in everyone you meet and everyone you meet will be genuinely interested in you” – R. Ogunlaru and I give special mention to Siham (insha Allah! we’ll meet again), Mary – my own distinct Winnie with her boisterous desire to be by my side as much as possible and my guardian angel who despite the sutures from the operation on her thumb was so reluctant to let me out of her sight. When you give, you receive much more than you have given but for each of you – know that my life would be incomplete without you. And with every passing day that I am blessed to live, I commit to passing on every good deed I receive and burying the bad because hey! the world is already sorrowful enough so why choose to add more when all that is really needed is just that little gesture of kindness to just that one person. Despite the crunching setbacks of huge medical bills, I still choose to enjoy the times I have with my various therapists (Igor, Vas and Richie) because I am convinced that there is always a choice to make and I thank you all for making every new day just a bit more bearable.

Phew! I guess that is what happens when you keep so much bottled up inside that instead of a calculated trickle, there is a gush of all that you had wanted to say but have been unable to.

I love orchids! I recall back in the days, how quickly they could transform an environment both with its fragrance and the beauty of its floral arrangement. And today I still count orchids as one of my favorite flowers, I can still recall plucking off many a flower just to enjoy the sweet nectar contained within.  And then I grew up,……… and fell in love with biology. Now not only did I find a subject that was fun but this was one that allowed me to improve on my drawing (lots of beautiful pictures in the textbooks) but it suddenly explained more of the mysteries that I had come to fruitlessly ponder upon.  Learning about life and the whys have always been a thing for me but I drew the line at going into medicine (it just never appealed to me), now although because of my preferred choice of career, I had to drop biology but it still remains a subject of beauty and allure. I learnt about flowers and got to know more about my favorite orchids.

The orchid can be found in almost every continent but one of the amazing things about is this – because of an absence of an endosperm (sorry this is no biology class), in the course of pollination, it has to enter into a funny relationship with a type of fungi (gross!!!) and guess what? these fungi provide the necessary nutrients needed to germinate so that all species of orchids are reliant upon fungi to complete their life-cycles. Now the irony of this concise biology lesson is to draw an analogy that most of us have to face as individuals – were the orchid to be given an option, I am definite that getting involved with fungi would be the least of her choices however we are all subjects of creation and each of us has a distinct path to walk either by acceptance and choice or by compulsion and a higher authority. As I contemplate the past two years struggling with Myoclonus Dystonia, I realize that certain events in our lives are there to ensure that we walk our distinct paths and fulfill our unique purposes. Now, nobody in his or her right senses would opt for some pain or discomfort but what happens when we are thrust into a maelstrom of events that seem to have the singular objective of crippling us, shaking us and turning our little ideal worlds the wrong way up? Do we throw up our hands and let go of the towel or simply roll over and play possum?

The answer is a choice to make however life has a weird way of bringing out the best of us when we encounter some degree of discomfort, let us recall that we are creations of pleasure for a God who truly loves like nobody ever can.  Would it therefore be right to rile and wave our puny fists in His face when we are borne upon the winds, isolated and alone, tossed to and fro by the waves of life, to be deposited in a strange environment just for the sake of being reborn and reformed? For every orchid flower you see, pause and admire it but remember that there is the process behind it that has resulted in it becoming the epitome of beauty that it is. When we, like seeds are in the dark ground, torn away from the shelter and comfort of the world we were born into or we painstakingly created, devoid of companionship (like we were used to) instead of curling up into a ball and dying – let us appreciate that within and around us a chain of events are already set in motion to sustain us through those dark and dreary moments. The nutrients we need to stay alive are inexhaustible and inexplicably geared towards that purpose, the darkness of those early moments are soon to be pierced though by the warm ray of hope and light. We are seemingly unable to fend off the predators that bear fiercely down upon us, through the myriad of pains, twisted joints, trembling muscles, a neurological system that seems to have gone haywire and it sure seems that we have been wrongly created to suffer for no just course. And yet, we are not wholly consumed, for within our tired bodies and palpitating hearts still flickers life and with life, a hope to be chosen.

It may seem like we are all alone but there is never any vacuum in life if only we can choose to drag our eyes and attention from the claustrophobic dankness around us and acknowledge that as long as we yet live, we can choose to hope and dream because just like the little shoot that breaks through the ground, someday it will all be over and then we can truly realize that not only does death exist in life but more importantly life exists in death. As we die to the many comforts and perks that we had gotten used to, let us also realize that birthing and character development is a process and through the pangs of pain and discomfort, insomnia and the jerks, loss of movement in our limbs and a lack of control over our system – a process is being played out and the end is as certain as the sun rise every day. We are not alone through all this, He is working all things together for our good as long as we are totally reliant on Him. Not the ‘friends’ who have walked away from you in derision or the siblings who have prioritized every other thing above you, not the ones who love only in words and cannot find the actions to back it with, not the birds of carrion who circle in futility above you or the hyenas prowling around – definitely not these, but above and beyond them all is the fact that we are creatures of destiny and our destiny and purpose are charted towards good course as long as you give in totally to the One in charge.

There is nothing wrong with the world and its occupants, filled it may seem with a multitude of uncaring souls, just realize that “All true friendliness begins with fire and food and drink and the recognition of rain or frost. …Each human soul has in a sense to enact for itself the gigantic humility of the Incarnation. Every man must descend into the flesh to meet mankind.” – G.K Chesterton.  We are still part of this world and we can make that difference if we choose to, trusting and completely reliant on the truth that we are no freaks of nature but unique beings created and watched over with love by Him. And as we approach each day, unsure of what it may bring, let us also realize that we can make a difference if we choose to and completely astound the multitude of nonchalant and indifferent witnesses that are eagerly gathered around us because we can and because we understand;  A higher calling, A setting apart, A distinct purpose and mission……

“Live each day as if it’s your last’, that was the conventional advice, but really, who had the energy for that? What if it rained or you felt a bit glandy? It just wasn’t practical. Better by far to simply try and be good and courageous and bold and to make a difference. Not change the world exactly, but the bit around you. Go out there with your passion and your talent and skill and work hard at…something. Change lives through art maybe. Cherish your friends, stay true to your principles, live passionately and fully and well. Experience new things. Love and be loved, if you ever get the chance.” – D. Nicholls.  Arguably, many might ask where the chances are but do well to remember that we do not control the chances but we do control our choices and so endeavor to make those choices count. Live in the knowledge of the truth that life consists of moments and whilst we cannot recreate past moments or create future moments, we can make use of this moment so make the now count and then you can be sure to cherish it even when it is long gone and past.

Remember this “I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I’m going to be happy in it.” –  J.H ‘Groucho’ Marx. “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. Matthew 6:34”
lמסתדר טוב עד שניפגש שוב בזמן שלו

Adios!

Just do right….

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When you get, you give. When you learn, you teach!” – Annie Henderson

These simple words resonate through my entire being as I awakened to a new month, albeit a new day and I reminded myself that with each new day comes hope, help and loads of opportunities. Have you ever wondered why at certain times in your life, the things that usually go unnoticed suddenly assume an amazing degree of clarity? Or ever wondered what the entire purpose of being alive is? Or ever considered that niggling voice within you that insists you do what really do not feel like doing at certain moments? I believe that within each and every walking human, there is a purpose for being alive and whenever doubt assails you, be sure that you have acknowledged that purpose and are walking conscientiously by it. Hmmm! Pretty intense but that is the only way to be sure that your life counts for something.

It takes me 374 seconds to walk to the closest mail box and back, and yesterday just as I was struggling with getting my disobedient fingers to reach for my keys, I had the profound privilege of watching one of the most common wildlife events. I observed an orb-weaver spider diligently going about its interesting and intricate task of spinning its web. For many of us, it is an unknown fact that this seemingly simple task of spinning webs is not just a signature of most spiders but is an energy tasking one, usually requiring loads of protein. I really do not like spiders or crawly things but the beauty of the effort that went into the normal chore of most spiders was what interested me. And it made me realise that just like that spider, we all have been designed to excel in one thing and that is simply just doing right.

“I suppose there’s no good answer to that, Ryan. I wish there was. But if you take the wrong, path, something deep inside you will feel twisted. There are times when that will be the only way to know the right from the wrong.” – Inara Scott

Whenever I do get out, after loads of rest because of the energy sapping tremors associated with myoclonus, I am confronted with a myriad of responses from individuals – ranging from those who are freaked out and are frightened that it might be contagious to those who think it is a thing of amusement, barely concealing their smirks. Those who like Rose, have an understanding of the unique disorders of the human body and are eager to know more, and there are those who are unable to appreciate the fact that this is not something one would choose even in a totally inebriated state. There are those who flaunt the present wellness of their bodies and those who are unknowingly destroying themselves. However, the unifying factor amongst all these categories of humans is that we are all humans and so like Maya Angelou, I teach myself to recite this phrase ‘I am human and therefore nothing human should be alien to me’, that way I can deal with the barely concealed acts of insensitivity when I do encounter them.

I have actually embraced the Redcord therapy sessions (will put up pictures someday) because it is something new and even as Igor reiterates ‘you are a unique patient with a unique challenge’, I brace myself to continue to strive to do the one thing that comes easiest to a human, regardless of skin colour,  origins,  idiosyncrasies, or denials  – just doing right, (of-course in the effort lies victory). Whether we choose to acknowledge it or not, we have all been designed to do right and although we all daily wage battles within ourselves to stray from that divinely assigned task, that is our task – to just do right and regardless of how much pain I am in or how discomfited I may be – I want to do right, I choose to do right. It is so difficult wearing my own shoes and heck, some days just getting out of bed is so herculean but I have and am committed to that task because that is how I can improve myself. It is only when we acknowledge that we get, that the need to give can be properly birthed. I am given daily and so I choose to do right by giving as much as I get, being careful to sieve out the anguish of being ‘unique’ and give of the good I receive daily.

“If you are at a point in your life where you are not sure what you need to do, which path to take, or whether you are doing the right thing. That is probably because your inner being is wanting you to delve deep within yourself and find what you truly want from your life, Your spirit is trying to guide you towards your life’s path. Please take a moment to think what you really want to do that you haven’t done so far, and what would make you happy. That’s probably the answer to your confusion. All your answers are within yourself’ – A. E. Moss 

Now I am at a point in my life where I am sure of what I need to do because I know that happiness is a choice you have to make and for me, despite the loneliness of my sojourn or the looming clouds above, I am not giving in. I will continue to do right even if it means I get to stand alone. I will persist in doing right even when the stuttering wants to obfuscate the very words I want to say. I will persist in doing right even when it makes me different because I know that is what I was made to do and as each day draws to a close and I sit in watch as the new day dawns because I am unable to sleep, I know that I am further strengthened by the very One who is my designer and my Companion. When I realise with every passing moment that my life is but a journey, then I know that as I plod along, I can only but leave behind me legacies by the very actions of my hands and not so much by the words of my mouth. I can only do right by doing it, not saying it and pray someday that just one person will catch the vision and walk with it. That I dare to say is a life fulfilled.

What we can do, we must do: we must use what we are given, and we must use it the best we can, however much or little help we have for the task. What you have been given is a hard thing–a very hard thing… But my darling, what if there were no one who could do the difficult things?”  – Robin McKinley

It is indeed a new month and I always say it is better late than never. You can never go wrong when you simply just do right and so as I enthusiastically embrace the month with hope and determination, I know that within me lies the strength to not just triumph over this disorder but to also do right. As each of us, in his/her own little place begin to just do right, what an overwhelming tide of events we can cause to pervade our broken world. All it takes is to simply acknowledge that with the dawning of each new day, just like we welcome the breeze on our faces and bask in the warmth of the sun, so also we must acknowledge the good we receive and freely give just as we receive. Just do right, persist in it and behold the awesomeness of fulfilling your purpose daily.

Remember what a miserable tale ours would be if we choose to just exist rather than live purposefully. Just do right!

lמסתדר טוב עד שניפגש שוב בזמן שלו

Adios!