Posts Tagged ‘healing’

For a few years, since 2010 to be precise, I have been actively seeking inner peace, not just talking about it with a drink in one hand and a cigar in the other staring at a sunset. It is only with breakage that one slowly lets go of the ego and matures through Kierkegaard’s three stages that we have seen before (the aesthetic, the ethic and the spiritual). With my divorce and the life changes brought about by that trauma, I started seeking solace and understanding. My first, basically subconscious moves were to exercise, to work with a therapist (the amazing Dr. Nemser), I went to church on Sunday – and have not missed a Sunday since (maybe a couple but only for reasons of force majeure), and volunteering. I started reading Scripture every night, then I got hooked on Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditations, I tried to find inspiring readings, revisiting Tolstoy’s The death of Ivan Illich, Milton, Jalics, etc. With time I started meditating, then I started yoga, then came walking the pilgrimage to Santiago…

Little by little I started realizing in my body, mind and spirit that all these things were connected, that working with one affected the other two. Yoga, even weightlifting quieted my mind, meditating relaxed my body and spirit. Breathing helped me stretch during yoga. I realized that while we are made up of many different things, we are in fact one totality of being with a single energy.

I started yoga lessons in North Carolina about six years ago. It was the perfect thing for saturdays after friday night soccer games. And just like that I was hooked. I normally find a gym or a studio that has lessons, but in a pinch I use an app called Down Dog which is very scalable!

For meditation, I usually wait until the end of the day so I have nothing left to do that day. Or I parcel out a time to mediate. I sit and breathe, focussing on my breathing for twenty minutes. I use a great app called Insight timer where I can time myself, take courses, dial into guided meditations – and it keeps track of your progress!

Then I started using these techniques with my athletes when I coached, most recently and successfully the tennis players at the Hun School. Yoga on days in between games, a bit of meditation before games, it all translated to happier, less injured, more understanding players.

Volunteering has been a key factor in my recent growth and maturity. First at Community Servings in Boston cooking for sick, homebound families. In Chapel Hill I volunteered every monday night for four years at the Ronald McDonald House. In Naples I helped out the St. Vincent de Paul charities. Now in Madrid I’m helping at the Ronald McDonald Family Room at the La Paz Hospital in Madrid, for families with premature babies.

My second pilgrimage to Santiago I really focused on walking, meditating, stopping at churches for contemplation, doing yoga after the day’s walk. It really was magical, and I noticed a holistic improvement!

Healing is a long process that there is no way to rush. Acceptance, gratitude, patience, forgiveness, compassion, perspective, humility, understanding, generosity, none of these knock on your door overnight. One must consciously work at healing, it is slowly working for me, give it a try!

 

Even if you do not realize it, if you have ever listened to the radio, you have heard Van Morrison. This was my case until one winter afternoon in the early nineties, relaxing on the patio of a slope-side coffee shop in Sugarloaf Maine, where the Boston Gourmet Society had a ski chalet, that I paid attention and realized I was listening to Van Morrison, Moondance, of course. I bought that CD and listened to it endlessly. One summer I was alone in the country house at La Navata (see previous posts) it was all I listened to.

Fast forward to the mid-nineties. Right after breaking up with my first wife, I was on a business trip to a convention in Las Vegas. Bored at the thought of spending a whole weekend alone in the city of sin, I called a friend in San Francisco and I was on a plane. The weekend was fantastic as I had not seen my friend in years and had not been to San Francisco in even more years. She had Van’s Wavelength CD in her little BMW, and that was all we listened to all week-end long as we tooled around the city.

As soon as I got back to Madrid I bought that CD and listened to it over and over again. Then I bought another and another until I had the whole Van Morrison discography – over 40 CDs. In fact I listened exclusively to Van Morrison for eight full months straight. I did not realize it at the time, but it was therapeutic for me. One summer morning when I woke up and played a Rolling Stones CD, I knew I was on the mend!

Van Morrison, The lion of Belfast, has been in the business since he was 17. He plays a bunch of instruments, and more importantly he is credited with being the first to bring jazz influences like the double bass, brass sections, etc. to pop. His Astral Weeks is considered one of most influential records in contemporary music. He plays and tours around the world constantly and is not  afraid to work with top, top talent like Brian Kennedy, Georgie Fame or Saxophonist Pee Wee Ellis.

Personally I love Van’s intimate personal meaning, on some songs deep spirituality that connects with my soul in a way no other music does. Four of the six CDs in my car are Van (the other two are baroque and opera if you must know). I have had the privilege of seeing Van play a few times and they were very moving experiences.

It would be silly to try to say what songs are my favorites as they change with my moods and where I am in my life. A song I might have listened to hundreds of times without paying much attention might all of a sudden catch me. Songs that I had obsessed about in the past might come back to me. I might re-visit certain songs, or even certain parts of certain songs.

This clip is a song I have been listening to over and over recently. One of Van’s recurring themes is that of healing and this song pretty much sums it all up. I hope you like it.