Friday, April 29, 2011

School Reunions, Timeless Rituals, Acceptance....

Just got back from another visit to my mother. Since she had her stroke, I have been to Panama more times that I care to remember. It is not use trying to get out of these visits, they need to happen...period. This last one, thought was different. Something really touched me, made me realized, really, that things are coming to an end.

I have told myself for months now that my mother cannot last forever and that she must be tired. Her quality of life has diminished, but her mind is still clear and times. It must not be easy to accept, yet she has kept going. Why? I often wondered. This last trip, planned to coincide with Holy Week, was going to be relaxed. There is always people in town for this celebration. They come from the city to spent these Holy Days traditionally. Participating in church rituals, visiting family. Something about spending Easter Week in a small's so comforting.

Plans are made, but we cannot guarantee that they will work out the way we want. I planned to see my high school friends. Some I have not seen since our graduation and I don't want to tell you how long ago that was! Let me tell you, I went to an all girls school since kindergarten and my graduating class was friendships were very easily made. Mostly the ones that stayed in Panama have kept in touch, get together when they can. So that was the first thing and it was fabulous! Took pictures and talked all night, getting to know each other again...lovely.

Plans for a repeat performance were not to be. The very next day, my sister Laura and I had to rush to our mother. Like the saying goes: if it not one thing, it's your mother! We arrived and things got scary in no time...thankfully, she pulled through again. The rest of the time there was just that: time. Getting her comfortable and getting medication, going to the supermarket and sitting with her, surviving the heat and the humidity, having a drink at sundown on the back porch, going for a car ride when we needed some space.

Then came the part that attracts me: the religious rituals from my childhood, the processions walking along the narrow streets, the people that always come home for these events, the prayers, the family, the images of saints I remember so clearly in their floats surrounded by flowers and the pageantry of these timeless rituals . It has a sense of community that one cannot find just anywhere, a bond that ties us all in a sort of spiritual peace. Love it!

Laura and I went visiting while we waited for the events to start, afterwards, we sat in a small restaurant overlooking the park, taking in the beauty of this small colonial town, in the middle of nowhere! An amazing experience, every time, but this time even more. When the day was over, back home to our reality. It was in this last week, that I just came to accept that things are ending. Life will continue and I will be the eldest in our family....talking about realizing your own mortality. It came absolutely clear and without drama and it came with an absolute peace: this is acceptance.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Time to Reinvent Oneself!

It is April, the month of rebirth, of changes. Spring is here and Nature is renewing itself. It is time to look at ourselves. This is an absolute truth: there comes a time in anyone's life when one has to change, adapt, reinvent oneself. I have been toying with this idea lately and I have done this before....time to do it again! I have to say it is never easy or happens smoothly. It is not something one decides one day and happens the next. If it was like that, it would not be worth trying!

So we have to take time and choose carefully where we want to start. Start with simple things., I say. Change the way we eat. This is something we can do without too much fuss. Go for fresher stuff, cook lighter meals, better yet, make more salads, eat more fruits. That doesn't require too much thinking to begin with. We tend to make a big deal of preparing food, wouldn't we enjoy spending less time in the kitchen? I know I would!!!! At this stage in my life, it seems so much easier...of course, I have no small children!!! Still, isn't it just the thing?....less cooking time! Sounds heavenly.

Another simple thing: a bit of exercise. Notice I said a bit only. Lets not go crazy and join a gym...after all I would be the last to recommend this: I do not sweat on purpose! Just a walk a couple of days a week, play music and dance to it with abandon. Move to something more elaborate later. Nothing that will make you cringe, but will make you fitter....sounds perfect!

Finally, for now: clean your closets, your drawers, your kitchen cabinets. There must be things you don't wear, are hopelessly out of fashion or too big or small, shoes you cannot walk in anymore......and there must be people that would look wonderful in any of them. Donate! Books you don't read, magazines that you wonder why you kept. Do you still have toys that your children discarted years ago? Either call them and ask if they want these things or simply give them away. Hold on only to things that are beautiful, useful or valuable......everything else can go. It feels great to do me!

In time, we will move on to bigger things to change; we will achieve this change and we will be a different person....or the person we were meant to be!