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The gift of receiving

Lying in my bed last week in the wee hours of the morning, I was inspired and moved as I am often, by the gifts of overflowing love and kindness that has come my/our way through the incident of a seeming tragedy. The rare quiet that surrounded the apartment paled against my minds activity as my consciousness danced with streams of thoughts and feelings in relation to what has happened to me, how it has changed me and subsequently those connected to me. How I feel due to all of this and what if any, conclusions I might draw.
In these timeless moments I will curiously observe as my intellect and intuition begin to merge, and a tapestry of insight and understanding takes form. For all of us, I think there is a desire to make sense of our lives, to comprehend the struggles, to make peace with our demons and to find a place, which has meaning, resolve and validation. I’m sure many of you can relate to similar moments I describe above: walks in nature, yoga practice, meditation or savasna, helping another etc. as special opportunities, where prayer, quiet and receptivity allow for the wisdom and insights of the Divine to flow in. What came to me in this particular instance was the profundity of receptivity and how receptivity relates so intimately with love, acceptance and the ability to be in the moment. It was the reflection of receptivity and its relationship to my situation that kept the tapestry evolving. Soon the threads of insight and intellect were intertwining and I was beginning to see the qualities of receptivity. The ability to receive, to allow, to take what is given without judgement, and acceptance, and how they all emerge from a deep sense of self love and worthiness. Without self worth one is constantly self-depreciating, not truly believing in the gifts that one is given, nor often able to trust, recognize or receive them.
I lay awake pondering, now waiting for my caregiver to come and help me bathe, dress and get out of bed. During this time I feel like a little babe in a crib; side rails up, night drainage bag full, but even more importantly vulnerable and anticipatory as to whether someone will show up and in what state of mind. In my experience it is the ability to receive whoever comes and how they are, which sets up the morning. It has also been the power of prayer that has provided the grace and gifts that continually reaffirm my trust and faith in this situation and in others, which may have more serious implications.
Conclusions continue to unfold as I navigate through this new territory. I have changed yes, but not in ways that have disabled me actually. This child like receptivity could prove to be dangerous in the hands of those who abuse their power, but it is the only power, in the truest sense of the word. I have noticed it is this quality of love and receptivity in those who are dependent, “disabled” or dying that brings out the best in those who are willing. It is this “best” which continually amazes and inspires me. Its kind of like a good yawn – silently contagious.
In a season where giving and receiving take on a consumer profile, consider your own ability to genuinely receive, not just the outward displays of monetary clout; but the real gifts and the subtle offerings and gestures of those around you. In a deep breath allow yourself to truly receive that person or animal, taking them in completely, with all of the love in your receptive, worthy heart. Then the gift of your Self, unadulterated will fill their heart with joy. Self worth in the end is the offering of our gifts to the world for the betterment of all.
Peace to you all. Thank you deeply for all of your gifts, Mary-Jo.

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Christmas Blessings

CHRISTMAS, 2004

For the Fetterly family this year has been dominated by Mary-Jo’s skiing accident last January. Her broken neck has left her paralysed from the chest down. Eight months of intensive rehabilitation at Vancouver’s G.F. Strong Rehab Hospital and with total commitment and dedication on her part, she has regained mobility in her shoulders, arms and wrists. She is now living in an apartment in Vancouver with her two daughters, Amanda and Katelyn and getting on with her new life. She has even resumed teaching her beloved Yoga classes from her wheelchair. Her indomitable spirit of courage and acceptance has touched all who come in contact with her. Her website www mary-jo.com is an information pipeline for updated news, with eloquent web logs posted by daughter Amanda and by Mary-Jo. Nothing could have prepared us for the rage of emotions which came barrelling at us –shock, disbelief, profound sadness and grief. And nothing could have prepared us for the deeply powerful blanket of love and support which has carried us through it all from friends, family and acquaintances. Mary-Jo’s sisters, Patty, Anne and Carol have been a tower of strength for all of us as have so many of you, through warm phone calls, letters, thoughts and prayers and in so many practical and concrete ways. You know who you are and we want you to know we feel your support in whatever form it may take. We are deeply grateful to all of you.

The Spirit of Christmas has truly surrounded us throughout this year. Bless you.

Norm and Ruth