Whole Life Magazine

June/July 2014

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Page 41 of 43

No case is typical. You should not expect to experience these results. © 2013 Rising Tide "Cancer is not an individual sport, it is a team sport. Empower yourself to pick the best team." ~Sara Cancer Warrior Being diagnosed with breast cancer was one of the most defining experiences of Sara's life. She knew the most important decision she had to make was to assemble the right team to fit her needs. Her search brought her to Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA) where our team of experts have been fighting advanced cancer for decades. CTCA® worked with Sara and her family to create a comprehensive and tailored treatment plan focused on delivering the whole person approach and quality of life she wanted. The combined leading-edge oncologic medical treatments with naturopathic medicine, nutrition, rehabilitation, psychological counseling, spiritual support and pain management met her goals. Call now to speak with one of our Oncology Information Specialists and learn how we fight cancer like no one else. Call 888-214-9488 or go to cancercenter.com. CTCA FP Whole Life Empower.indd 1 5/14/13 3:08 PM 42 wholelifetimesmagazine.com W orn out from a long day, my two boys are fi nally tucked in for the night. I head for the living room, practically fall on my purple buckwheat pillow and face my framed scroll for nightly meditation. I take a deep breath and exhale, allowing the day's heaviness to release, and start to clear my mind. Then I hear it: clump, clump, clump. My eyes are closed, but I feel a gaze upon me. It speaks. "Mama, why aren't you making any sound?" Four-year old Lucas stands in front of me in his blue-and-green striped jammies, hands on hips and bare feet peeking out. I've explained to him (many times) that I start in silence, focusing on my breath and grounding myself. Only then do I chant, spend a few minutes in silent meditation, and fi nally, say a prayer of thanks. "Can you chant now?" Lucas asks, an improvement from the other night when he demanded, "Chant! Now!" I nod, monk-like, "Soon." "This loud?" he pesters, hands held out two feet apart. "Lucas, this is Mommy's time. I love you, but I don't want to see you again tonight." Admittedly, this may not be the most enlightened response. I wonder what Buddha would do, but remember he probably wasn't taking care of children in the evenings. Though I'm pretty sure he'd say something about patience, or appreciating these moments with my young teachers. I hear Lucas clump back to his room only a few steps away. The bed creaks while he settles in, and again, for a moment, it's quiet. The fi rst time I attended a Buddhist chant gathering, I felt as if I'd been dropped into another world; the room vibrated and I thought I heard bells, though none were being rung. The whole thing seemed so odd that I half-wondered if some bloopers camera were fi lming me. I decided to try it on my own, but behind closed doors, since I worried my engineer husband Mats would think me a little nutty. After a few months of meditating somewhat regularly, the mundane anxiety of life seemed more manageable. If I got cranky, Mats, who had no interest in meditation for himself, would kindly recommend that I chant. When Lucas was born I grappled with how to incorporate meditation into the mania of motherhood. Any time I began to chant, he'd distract me by chewing on my prayer beads or crawling toward the stairs. By the time he was asleep, so was I. So one night when he was three, having exhausted all ploys to get him to stay in his bed, I told him I was going to chant and he needed to stay in his room until I stopped. Strangely, this worked; a few minutes into it, my little man was snoozing. After that, he requested I chant for him and his younger brother each night at bedtime, and that's what I've done for the past year. I'm halfway through a portion of the Lotus Sutra when Henrik shuffl es in, pale blond hair akimbo. His pointer fi nger, extended, seems to guide him as he approaches closer and closer, until his fi nger almost touches my nose. "My have a booger, Mama." It's not that I don't appreciate his generous offering, but this has happened every night for two weeks. I point to the tissue box and he wipes his fi nger. He gives me a slobbery raspberry and goes back to his place of falling asleep—the hallway. I'm mere seconds away from complet- ing my mantra when Lucas reemerges, this time in tears; he doesn't want to be alone. My breath escapes through my nose like dragon fi re, my thoughts more animalistic rage than spiritual. Studies show that regular meditators' prefrontal cortexes are better at processing emotions, but I'm quite sure my current brain pictures are more like "storm warnings" than "tranquil sea." I take a deep breath and we make a bed for Lucas next to his brother in the hallway. Returning to my pillow, I try to get back to a place of lightness and feel sorry for myself that I can't have 15 freaking minutes of peace. It's then I realize my kids are the drill sergeants of meditation boot camp, teaching me how to breathe through frustrating situations. My boys have also done something I was never able to do—gotten me to meditate nightly by making my practice part of their bedtime routine. One of the fi nal prayers, for "peace throughout the world and the happiness of all living beings," humbles me, as I consider my tenuous grasp on both personal happiness and family peace. I ring the bell to close and sit again in silence. Something inside is more serene than when I started, but that may be simply because my boys are fi nally in dreamland. Kristy Naylor Lund (www.kristylund.com) is an occupational therapist and freelance writer. backwords PEACE AMIDST KID CHAOS By Kristy Naylor Lund It took two small boys to make meditation part of my routine WLT-JUN-JULY-26.indd 42 5/26/14 2:11 PM

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