Moving Back to Jamaica

A blog about my Move Back to Jamaica after 20+ years of living in the US. Most of the articles focus on the period from 2005-2009 when the transition was new, and at it's most challenging.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Doing The Work

In prior posts I have written about a Move Back to Jamaica being an inner journey, in addition to a physical one, and that I have been using a variety of helpful tools to make my transition.

Recently, I talked about attending Byron Katie's School for the Work, and have been using the techniques she taught at the School.

Interestingly, I have noticed that as I work with one stressful or painful thought each day, I am getting more and more confident that I can deal with any thought or situation that arises.

This has lead to an interesting concidence.

As a student of the Course in Miracles, I happen to be studying a chapter that deals with "The Obstacles to Peace." One of the obstacles happens to be our willingness to identify ourselves as our bodies, and therefore to limit ourselves, thinking that by doing so, we somehow gain something.

It all reminds me of a monopoly game in which you choose a piece at the start of the game -- either the Hat, the Car or the Thimble, for example. I like choosing the Dog. In the game of monopoly, the chosen piece goes through many dramas -- it goes to jail, it draws from the Community Chest, it lands on Boardwalk, it pays rent on Atlantic, it buys a Railroad, it sells a utility, it gets rich, it goes bankrupt, and sometimes it wins and sometimes it loses.

Now, if you have ever played Monopoly with someone who takes the game too seriously, you'll know what it looks like to see someone get stressed over what looks to others like nothing at all. They might get angry, upset, fearful, demanding, and even cheat in order to get their way... as fully-grown adults...

They simply forget that they are not the Hat, and that this is a mere game, with virtually inifinitesimal consequences in the larger scheme of things. Those who forget are very difficult to play with, and people often say that they will never play with them gain.

It is as if, for the duration of the game and long after, they extend the definition of themselves in their mind to include the piece they are playing with. Of course, this happens in real life also, with, for example, people who are devastated when their shiny, new car gets hit by a dirty old taxi from behind. They also forget that the car is just a "piece" they are playing with.

Closer to home, a woman who loses all her hair to old age or chemotherapy also forgets that hair is just... well, hair. I am bald (by choice) so losing my hair every 3 days to the razor is a relief.

A soldier who loses a limb in a war can also forget that a foot is... just a foot, although this is much harder to swallow for most.

To take it to a most ridiculous extreme, have you ever had the thought that when you are cutting your finger-nails, that the cut nail is a partof you that is being lost? I have, and it's more of the same kind of stressful thinking. Am I my fingernail?

To make matters worse, I read somewhere that the cells in our body, and the molecules that make them up are all exchanged for new ones every five years or so (if I remember correctly.) Most people don't know this, but I sense that this information is no big deal to most people, as they don't consider themselves to be their molecules.

So, if I am not my molecules, and not my fingernails, and not my hair, am I even my body?

Or, is my body just another "piece" like "the Hat" in Monopoly?

I am amazed at what happens to my piece when I play Monopoly. It goes through all these ups and downs, and dramas, until I close up the game and place it all in a box and put it on a shelf.

I am also (barely) learning to be amazed at my body in the same way. Based on something I read, I did an exercise a few years ago in which I changed the way I spoke about my body for a few days.

Instead of "my body" it became "the body." (Men who have been married know what it's like to see "my car" become "the car" in a similar transition.) Now ,the exercise has turtned into more than just a mental game.

Recently I have noticed that the body likes to be well fed, exercised and rested. It also likes sex. Today, the body is recovering from a 5:00am run this morning, and it enjoyed the cool breeze it felt. It fed itself cereal, while it read the newspaper.

Then it got in front of the computer, and started typing away. It still needs to bathe itself, however. it smells a bit...

It's amusing to see what happens to it from moment to moment.

Funnily enough, ever since I started thinking this way, I have noticed that the body has started to feel a bit heavy, not quite a burden, but I have experienced a slightly growing separation between "me" and it.

And with this experience has come more of a detached amusement, and less fear. i can't wait to see what it decides to do next!

Why is this important to Moving Back to Jamaica?

Being here in the last month through the dangers of a hurricane and a violent election have pushed up the fear quotient quite a bit for the bodies living here in Jamaica. They have been doing all these different and new activities to prevent themselves from being hurt.

Most seem to have forgotten that they are not the Hat, Car or Dog and instead are much grander. Perhaps this is what the Course in Miracles is talking about.

I hope so, because anything that helps someone moving to Jamaica to deal with the heightened fear their body is likely to experience must be useful.



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