It was the best of times, all of us singularly alive and loved, feasting in a land of immense forests, sunlit meadows, sparkling coves, sandy beaches and clean waterfalls. We were the great immortals!
“I will die just once!” Victoria said to me, just once. “I am not going to prepare, predict, meditate, worry, talk, philosophize, or indulge in any vain bla-bla-bla about death.”
Yet she had visibly mulled over death. We inevitably do. How not to be outraged by that scandal in our lives? What’s a mind for if not to reflect on the most important thing to ponder and solve—why we begin life, and how we end it?
I write about Victoria in my book Unseen Worlds’ chapter on Vodou. Our friendship started when she became my yoga teacher. What is yoga about if not how to keep an ageless body and timeless mind?
But Victoria did die, early, and just once. She fell into a diabetic coma, and never came out of it. I wish that she had instead indulged a desire to brag about some near-death experience, and come back to die a second time some day.
In his book, Ageless Body Timeless Mind, Deepak Chopra advises that we surround ourselves with photographs of such best times as described above. That is surely what we increasingly want as we experience how Time tampers with us.
Deepak’s book suggests that both mind and body remember how all of life felt at any given point. Photographs revive all over again the feelings we had when we were photographed. He posits that positive emotions such as feeling loved, hopeful, successful, rewarded and grateful are uplifting and deeply healing enough as to generate the ageless bodies and timeless minds we want. Deepak compares aging to having an illness. We can counteract its deteriorating effects by reviving the life force stored in the mind and the body’s memories of happiness.
The best photo-treatment I found for myself is of me as a baby; a photo taken before all the rest happened—a photo of my time of clean beginning; time when God looked at me as His new creation, and saw that it was good. And I laughed with Him!
But we know this healing power of joy and laughter instinctively. Deepak only taught us another way to access it. We experience the teaching and healing power of cartoons, comedy, Laurel and Hardy, Jerry Lewis, splashing barefooted in mud puddles, a yellow cat napping belly up, life happy as a pig in shit.
We spend adult life longing to recreate it all, revisiting the places where childhood happened, traveling to new lands to store fresh excitement. We yearn for that pleasure which God had in creating us. We intuitively know that we are made in His image, and that when we create we feel the joy He had.
And so we paint, write, sing, dance, doodle and pantomime; we flock to voice lessons, painting classes, writing seminars, theater workshops and what not. Self-expression feels good, and thus it is healing. We have eyes, ears, voice, touch, and mind to play with. We are a stunning installation of built-in toys.
“Look Mom what I did!”
“Oh… what a beautiful drawing!”
“I can do another if you want!”
“I would love that!”
“And Mom… you want to know what happened to me at school?”
“Okay… I’ll tell you… but guess what?
“I know how to write now… the teacher makes us write stories… she says I am good at it.”
“What do you write about at school?”
“My room… my best friend… my favorite activity… but I am going to write for you what happened to me…you want me to, right Mom?”
Please look for my memoir Unseen Worlds on Amazon out now.