12:25 AM

Wildflowers at the Top

Posted by Prosy Delacruz

The blooming wildflowers at a nearby garden, miles from this canyon. I loved the color combinations.
Pink flowers in bloom in an adjoining garden on the way to the canyon.
The walk uphill towards the peak of the canyon.

"People suffer because they are caught in their views. As soon as we release those views, we are free and we don't suffer anymore." Thich Nhat Hanh

I was not willing to move my body with ease before. Instead, I told myself “ I can’t breathe “, “ it is too dangerous “, “ it is raining “, “ it is cold “. Until I released myself from these imprisoning thoughts, thoughts that limited me in my movements, I could not enjoy the company of my family members who are more fit than I am. So, I decided to rid myself of these thoughts, one at a time.

“ I can’t breathe “ became a true reality for me when asthma, flu and allergies converge all at the same time and under humid conditions in the Visayas, I was without any recourse. I decided to say to myself, “ yes, you will breathe “, “ yes, you will live “ and “ yes, you will have a better quality of life “. Not even the oxygen tank that I was hooked up to, nor the IV tube I was connected, nor the nebulizer of antibiotics could help me. All external reliefs did not help.

So, I envisioned how life would be if I could breathe. It became truly a metaphor for me to let God in, to live life as it comes. To allow only what is right, to allow what feels right. It also meant I had to articulate what would irritate me in a more diplomatic manner. For example

“ You are so beautiful, but right now, your behavior is less than beautiful, it does not match the beauty I see outside. “ It allowed me to be a much gentler guide without the corrosive effects of a critic. “ And, with that, my relationships with folks improved. I actually had to turn down social events not because I did not want to go, but I had more writing assignments to finish.

“ It is too dangerous “ was a cover for not experiencing life fully. My husband and I went up the canyon one Saturday. It was not raining when we started the walk uphill. Just gray clouds forming. Then, it started to drizzle. Usually, I would tell him that it is time to go. Instead, I relaxed into the rains and cherished every drop. I remembered what Fr. Rodel’s homily was “ Embrace Our Galilees and Jerusalems “. I got to the top of the canyon and I caught up with my husband. He guided me that just beyond, a bit more uphill, is a beautiful view, and that we could go down the stairs. It was shorter, he said.

Normally, I would resist. But, the voice of “ embracing our galilees “ got louder. It was raining but not enough to block the view at the top. It was so beautiful, to be surrounded by yellow wildflowers on the west, the mountains in the north, the downtown skyscrapers in the east, and a view of the ridge behind me. It was so beautiful that I felt God was surrounding us in all His majesty. Then, it was time to go downhill.

“ It is too cold “ is a usual refrain, until I met Jason who told me that “ there is no such thing as cold weather. It is simply about wearing the right clothing. “ It was in a trip back east that I learned what to wear and how to deal with the cold. My nephew, Justin is a track field athlete, he runs in the cold, he runs in the rains, he runs in the hot, he runs regardless. So I asked him what keeps him comfortable in the cold. And the magic word came out “ Under Armour “ , a technical clothing made of special fabric combinations: 82% cationic polyester and 18% elastane. Regardless of how cold it is, it keeps you warm and comfortable. Thanks to Jason and Justine, I solved “ being cold “ while outdoors. It does not matter if it is rainy cold or not, I am out there walking.

As I went downhill, a steep downhill where one has to watch each step, a focus like no other, a coordination that has to be conscious and my dear husband held my hand all the way down. He coached me to take side steps, walking down first and guiding me on how to navigate the steep terrain. Midway downhill, a thin Caucasian woman with long hair offered me unsolicited advice “ Do not go downhill. It is steep. I cannot handle it myself, I just walk uphill.” For emphasis, she added, “ It is dangerous. “ My husband waited for me to act. Respectfully, he did not say much, he did not say ignore, or hogwash. He simply was quiet. I decided to simply proceed. I decided to not even consider the negative thoughts, for she merely verbalized what I am struggling to remove from within.

This is when I remembered what Oprah said one time on television: “ Be careful when you decide to move away from something negative. The Universe will test you to see if you are serious. “ I was serious. So, I ignored what the well-meaning woman offered to me. While she cared for my safety, she did not know that I was undergoing a process of ending my inner struggle with myself. “ Embrace my Galilees! “, as Fr. Rodel said in a homily.

When we got down, it was a dual victory for me: trusting my husband to be my exercise coach and allowing the weather to be enjoyed, as God’s gift, to be enjoyed no matter what. No falls, no bruises.

And a bonus win, it got us to be playmates! All because I decided no more negative thoughts, embrace my Galilees as they come. I am sure I can overcome each time, whether as a win or not, but I know for sure that I know now how to enjoy the process of living or simply living!

Today is my 13th day of exercising, another 82 days to make it a habit. I keep at it. In the process, I am learning to release my views, those that cause me to suffer, those that keep me disconnected from all things beautiful, and the ultimate one, God Almighty! I learned to trust more! It became easier for me, feeling like Someone Up There is always looking after me! My sacrifice this Lent, you guessed it – it is giving up my negative thoughts so I can serve God and humanity better!

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