Indicators of wellbeing have been a fascination of mine for many decades. Today I am contemplating the indicator of happiness – as in “Could I die happy today?”
The EU calls and I have my powerpoint bags packed with all the trends that show the Big Picture of Global Sustainability to share with Experience Integral along with the Grok Talk Walk Rock Story I have to share with Gen X and GenY. Could I die happy that I have this opportunity to connect my (meshworking) Purpose with my environment? A big Yes!!
Connecting with the environment is one of three conditions of a living system. The other two are reproducing and surviving.
I have had direct encounters with those two in the last three months that have really put me on my edge.
First the surviving condition … I’ve been the bone marrow donor for a brother with lymphoma. Ouch what a potentially dehumanizing experience that can be! All the medical system wants is my stem cells and they trade an “out of body experience” for my blood in exchange for the (better than) faint hope that my brother will be able to re-cover his immune system with the amazing quality of stem cells to become any organ/function the body needs. If you are really committed to sustainability how can you say no to such a request? You can’t, because all at once you get to reproduce in a way only science and technology can “magically” now enable. If you are a person like me who has a perspective that we arise out of consciousness (and not matter) you imbue those stem cells with all the capacity you can charge into them before, during and after they are transplanted.
Let me tell you a bone marrow transplant (BMT) is a fairly clinical procedure for the donor but an incredibly risky and messy procedure for the recipient. They endure the complete destruction of their immune system in preparation for the BMT and then live on a series of chemical cocktails while the stem cells (hopefully – no guarantees) grow a new immune system in the recipient’s body.
But LIFE never guarantees anything, so even though my bro has days where he questions the choice that he made, I see (like a sister/mother) that his system is gradually gaining strength. I can’t hold him like a new baby but I do watch him work his way back up the mountain of life’s taken-for-granted capacities – eating solid food, walking a few steps, pushing furniture around (even vacuum cleaning is a major milestone :-), writing notes, responding to email, playing music, managing his anger, driving himself on purpose. Like a mother I hug him every chance I get and I root like a cheer leader for every small gain in his white blood cell count and rejoice with him when the doc says he can drive again. My bro’s old body has been given a new lease on life – and together our stem cells our coming into our 100 day anniversary. Hopefully mine will have done their job and his will be taking over any day soon. Perhaps then I will feel like the parent whose child has left home. Could I die happy with the pleasure of such a relational empty (but ever so full) nest?? Absolutely! (Though I await the results with small trepidation and intuitive optimism!!)
What’s more today I am ESPECIALLY buoyed by the other of LIFE’s manifesting conditions – the usual manner of human reproduction – the sweet sweet joy of the new life of Cole Stephen Perkin, born to my granddaughter Amanda Jenny Dobson Perkin. WOW!! I am a great grandmother!! I never expected such an honour!! I can’t believe how elated I feel!!. I had no direct genetic link to this birth but I feel as happy as if I did. Just a Kosmic connection to the young woman I taught to read 25 years ago as her (step) Granma. I really feel like celebrating!! And I feel an upswelling of affinity for all the conditions of LIFE in this special moment – that I/We/The Family have survived, reproduced and connected with our environment long enough to savour the magificence of existence through this new life!! It brings into focus all the other reasons for so deeply living life!! My gratitude is overwhelming!!
Could I die happy as a GGM? You betcha!!
As a living system I can die happy, simply BECAUSE I connect with my environment, reproduce and survive. Now that’s a pretty awesome measure of LIFE’s value, isn’t it?