As I drove home from Hospice training the other day, all I could think about was the reviving cup of Tea I was going to make as soon as I walked in the door.
There are refreshments served during the morning and afternoon in the conference room where the training occurs. And I could have Tea anytime I wanted.
But there is something about coming home from a long day trying to assimilate all the information we are given, making Tea and sitting down in a favourite chair.
Each time, I swear the World and its troubles recede a little. Tea allows me to meditate, allows me to calm the whirlwind which is creating havoc in my mind.
Tea is the preferred beverage for Monks throughout the World. In my book of Tea, there is an anecdotal saying:
"The monks of the Chinese Ch'an sect of Buddhists believed that the first cup of Tea helped to keep a calm and clear mind while they sat in meditation. The second cup helped them feel as if the spirit was cleansed by the gentle Rain. After the third cup, one can understand the nature of things." ...from the book Tea Bliss
I definitely needed to sit and reflect on the nature of things, after a full day in the classroom. I am no longer able to take in as much as I once did... fibro fog and age, you know. And sometimes, I can feel quite addled trying to keep up with the enormous amount of information involved with the dying.
There is a volume of topics...and some of them bring up swirling feelings inside about my own beliefs and my own reactions to some of those topics. For instance, one day we were required to write down six favourite things and place them face down on the table. And then our instructor, without any knowledge of what was on them, came along and took three of those favourite things. The exercise was to teach us how loss affects us...unique for each individual.
In my case, she happened to take the three favourites which were the dearest in my life. And I reacted with such extreme anger to these losses. Wow. I cannot begin to describe how inappropriately I reacted.
There was the clue I required that there was a great deal I had not looked at within myself. It was evidence...enough for me to know I had better find the root of that over-the-top flush of anger which had consumed me, during the exercise.
There were more than three cups of Tea drunk during quite a few deep meditations over the next few days to understand where the obscure pool of anger had its source. And of course, that wrath had its beginning when my daughter Katrina died.
It was not pleasant re-visiting the circumstances leading to her death. I had written scores about it...enough for a book...in order to understand, just as I did when my mother died. It is how I make sense of crazy-making events.
So. I thought by writing about it I understood, as much as anyone can, and had let go But you know what? As I peruse the emotional pages of my writing, I notice anger was rarely mentioned.
And I realized I had blocked that steamy rage into a muffled cocoon deep within my soul. As painful and fraught with anxiety as it is, it is time to let the stinking mass out...and away. Because even though anger can be beneficial, in this case it was a mouldering mess which hindered me in so many ways.
Not the least of which is anger that can consume me over inconsequential things in inappropriate actions. If there was ever misplaced anger, this was it.
I have learned over the years that meditation will clear my mind and allow me to go inward, towards my centre, where stillness and serenity reign and the sounds of the World are no more. There the answer would come, floating along in that translucent space...
And it did. I had forgotten...I had misplaced a memory crucial to that anger so recently found.
The anger had its roots in the tribunal I had to face when it became obvious that my daughter, if she was to live, would need transplants...primarily her liver, at that time. The member of the tribunal were made up of doctors and nurses, clergy and social workers. Their job was to determine if Katrina was a good prospect for a transplant.
They asked me to make decisions as to how my daughter would react...would she do all the things required to keep that transplanted organ healthy? What kind of person was she? What did I think of her? The questions went on and on...
My daughter lay dying...I was already beyond thinking clearly. The only thing I could feel was incredible anger that they would ask a mother...me...about some fairly horrible scenarios they dredged up and ask me to make a decision about her character. If I gave the wrong answer...she might not get that transplant.
I remember being consumed with deep, abiding anger towards these people who were only doing their job. I had little, if any, control over the terrible outcome.
I have never felt so helpless. Just as helpless as I was when someone came along and took my three favourite things.
As I drink my tea, and as I breathe deeply, I write this with peaceful sorrow. Of course, Katrina had progressed too far and all her organs finally shut down, averting the whole transplant issue.
And as events so quickly progressed from the room where the tribunal sat in what I perceived as judgment, I just as quickly tried to forget it. In so doing, I easily buried the anger with which I had been consumed. I was afraid of that anger. If I let it out, would I still be standing after the holocaust of emotions were let fly?
So. Today I will brew a special cup of Tea. I will use a pinch of each of Black, Green and Red Teas, along with a pinch of Chamomile, Mint, Dill and Willow Teas. I will take the mixture to Grandfather Rock, who has sat waiting for this very event, waiting for me to recognize his benefit in my search for balance, clarity and finally, joy.
I will say a prayer as I sit with him, I will take a drink of the concoction, the mixture of which has special meanings for me, and I will offer the rest to him.
And then, I will finally accept that I am not all-powerful and that I can't always determine the outcome of events. And I will realize it was okay to feel anger at the time, it was okay to mourn deeply. It is not okay to carry it for all time.
Anger such as this produces tense muscles, gritted teeth, embitterment, along with a host of other physical and emotional problems.
I have been told...when the student is ready, the teacher will come.
I'd guess I was ready for Hospice and its teachings!
And Grandfather Rock...