Mercury, the ruling planet of communication and transport, has gone retrograde in the sky until the 17th of March. Traditionally this is a time when it is more beneficial to go within and meditate than to take action in the outer world.
For the last few weeks, i have been inclined to slow down and take time to integrate what has happened in my life during the last few months – and a lot has happened. If anything, I had to take a plunge and start teaching Meditation Made Simple (MMS). Action changes the wheel of Karma and sharing the wisdom with my first groups of students certainly did make me take a giant leap forward.
My place of choice to take time out and reflect, is a village called Combloux in the Alps, where I can retreat with my husband and two children, away from hectic urban living. There I practice mindfulness, the art of being fully present, with more dedication. I chose to make every step of the day a meditation practice. I literally chose to smell the roses and often use the technique from MMS called ‘ Connect to your Senses’. There is so much to take in – from the smells of the bakery to the sight of the Mont Blanc, the sound of snowflakes or the laughter of children. I pay attention because it is so easy to be eager to go on holiday but once there to spend time worrying again about the future and missing what we were so much looking forward to. But life is now, in this moment, because that is all we have.
Whilst in Combloux, I had a beautiful opportunity to deepen my appreciation of life as I got to spend time with Luc, my son’s ski teacher for the last three years. I always used to get in touch with him before coming to Combloux to ensure I would get a few lessons booked in but in the last 10 months I had not heard back from him. It was only at Christmas that I discovered the news of his shocking ski accident in March last year. Luc, as I had knew him, was a 35 year old, tall, athletic adorable guy with long, really long dreadlocks. He was the kindest spirit, full of life, a lover of nature and a gifted children’s teacher. Now everywhere I mentioned his name, I saw people’s face filled with pity and shock. ‘ Ah yes it is terrible what happened to Luc..’ ‘Life is so unfair; such bad luck now his life is ruined’.
And yes it is true to say that Luc had a terrible ski accident causing spinal cord injury, a coma and paralysis of his legs. But as I saw people’s own fears when talking about Luc, meditation literally brought light to what looked like the worse. Who are we to judge what happens in life, how do we know what is bad luck or good luck? There is a lovely story of an old man with his son and his horse in MMS that reminds us not judge life too quickly. The universe has its unique intelligence and the biggest challenges are often the key to our greatest transformation, the push we need to get to know ourselves better and understand what life is all about.
So I went to see Luc with that in mind, a mind open to see life as it is, with acceptance rather than the projection of my own fears of death, paralysis and pain. Rather than sitting by his side feeling awkward or dreading what to say to someone who has gone through so much, I sat with an open heart and a strong belief that somehow this was his path to ‘walk’ or maybe his path not to walk anymore.
This time I did not meet up with Luc at the bottom of slopes but rather in his little chalet a few meters away from the slopes. As he opened the door, I saw the tall man with the dreadlocks had disappeared and there was a weak, shivering Luc in a wheelchair, with short hair and broken teeth. I felt the strong emotion of sadness rise up. I remembered not to fight it but simply to let it be and let it pass. I walked into the tiny space and was ever so grateful for having learnt to meditate. There were long moments of silence when Luc told me about his pain, the physical and all the other ones; moments when I just listened and looked deep into his eyes. Words do not do justice to this experience, but there was a true sense of connection. I suddenly saw beyond his injured body and if the eyes are the window of the soul, I did have a sense that this was a soul to soul connection.
I was humbled by the time I spent with Luc this weekend. I had a deep insight about having an open heart and accepting all that is. I realized we can have the deepest most beautiful experience of love and connection whatever our outside circumstances. It takes learning to see beyond our conditioned thoughts and the ability to connect to the present moment to experience the joy and the peace we are always chasing. I am not the one in the wheelchair but I know for sure that Luc and I would not have a chance to truly ‘connect’ and see beyond the masks by chatting at the bottom of the slopes. Who is to say that his life will not be happier, deeper and richer than most of us who have our two legs and yet suffer from constant discontent? Who is to say what transformation this traumatic accident will bring for him? How can we tell what treasures are hidden underneath the surface? Luc has reminded me to count my blessings a hundredfold and to trust the intelligence of universe. Tonight, on the full moon, my thoughts are with him, for a brave soul who has taken on an incredible challenge. He died three times after the accident – still he chose to come back..