Sunday, November 18, 2007

Mystic Massage

I was on the table yesterday under the hands of an extraordinary body worker. Nancy and I have gone to Maria Luisa Harmel of Isla Mujeres, Mexico, for years, and every massage is an adventure.

First Maria Luisa does away with the modesty sheet, so I am totally exposed. (She would use a sheet if I wanted one, but let me tell you, it is fabulous to do without!) Then she puts eucalyptus oil on her hands and holds them under my nose so I can breathe in the strong vapors of this medicinal plant. She rubs my scalp vigorously and then moves to the rest of my body.

For over an hour, Maria Luisa slathers on different oils for various areas of my body and rubs and kneads, vibrates and bends, stretches and pulls. As her hands fly from my shoulders to my ankles, I feel as if I were a piano and Maria Luisa the genius musician.

During her massages I almost always have a deep sense of my soul being just a resident in my body. My mind seems to zoom to the outer galaxies and I look back at this little speck of dust called Earth I feel so much love and joy for this home and for the physical form I am inhabiting for such a short time.

Not only do I walk (stagger) away from the massage totally relaxed, the knots rubbed out, the energy points revitalized, and my skin aglow, I also have a sense of profound spiritual wellbeing.

On that little rectangle of a table, my soul experiences a connection to the Infinite.


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

"A Deep, Deep Breath"

We recently received an email we'd like to share with you. Sarah has given us permission to quote excerpts. Her response reaffirms the hopes that Nancy & I have for the book.

A few days ago a dear friend of mine handed me a copy of Living Consciously, Dying Gracefully: A Journey with Cancer and Beyond and said, "This might be helpful to you right now." Now that I've finished your book, I have to say that her words are an understatement.

I can't begin to tell you what an absolute blessing it is. My mom was diagnosed with appendiceal cancer in March and has had surgery, chemo treatment and now after only 6 weeks in remission, the cancer has returned. Our family has always been open to holistic healing, alternative medicine, and spiritual health, and to hear how Diane chose to live with her cancer brings me such encouragement and peace. This is exactly what I want my mom to know -- that she can choose how she wants to continue.

I'm so filled with gratitude for this book that I can't even begin to verbalize all the ways that it impacts me. Reading it was like taking a deep, deep breath. For the first time I feel like this entire experience is going to be exactly how it is supposed to be. My fears are slowly fading and being replaced by feelings of peace. And for that I am utterly grateful to both of you, to Diane, and to your entire family for being willing to share this experience.

In gratitude,
Sarah Fisher

Thank you, Sarah. Your words are an inspiration to us to continue our work!


Monday, November 5, 2007

Threshold Choirs

A wonderful gift for the dying is quickly blooming around the country: it’s called the Threshold Choir—a small group of women who sing at the bedsides of people who are struggling: some with living, some with dying.

Founded in 2000 by Kate Munger in Marin County, CA, there are now choirs all over the world. The first national Threshold Choir Gathering near Healdsburg, CA in June drew 100 women from 40 choirs.

Becky & I were on our West Coast Book Tour at that time so I was able to attend. What a joy to harmonize beautiful, peaceful songs in a lovely chapel! Many of the songs are written by Threshold Choir members, so the choirs are outlets not only for singing, but for creative work.

Kate Munger spoke at a conference in Minneapolis last spring and now the Twin Cities has its own Threshold Choir. In fact, so many women have turned out that once we learn the basic repertoire, we’ll divide into 3 groups: St. Paul, Minneapolis, and western suburbs. Sometime in 2008, we’ll start accepting invitations to sing at bedsides of people at the threshold.

I’ll continue to share stories from the Threshold Choir, including the wonderful experience a friend’s mother had in her final days. I’m grateful to be part of a group whose mission is to bring comfort to the dying and their loved ones. For more information about Threshold Choirs, visit their web site.