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Fresh Air

Today is my one month liver transplant anniversary. It is also the first time in a month that I have stepped outside of the hospital for a breath of fresh air. What a revelation! To feel the sun on my face, the breeze in my hair; it was delicious.

My body is now accepting my new liver and the liver function blood tests are normalizing; it is the first time in nearly ten years. The infection markers in the blood are also normalizing, indicating that whatever infection I’ve had has been treated with multiple courses of antibiotics. Most importantly, the stent continues to work; the drain has nearly stopped leaking bile, something the doctors hoped would happen during the course of this week. For the time being, a second surgery is off the table.

The new plan is to have the drain removed on Saturday and to try going home at the beginning of the next week. It seems a long way off at the moment, but I’m getting very excited to see my Louis and Xavier again regularly, and settle back into the place I most enjoy being — at home.

Today’s fresh air reminded me of the changing of the seasons, the passing of time and the joy of being outside; something most years we appreciate and enjoy by going to the countryside for a long weekend of hiking. Though realistically hiking may be a little way off for me, today was a first wonderful taste of walking in the open air.All the senses were stimulated and rejoicing in the moment of remembering how simple and wonderful the event of being outside, moving on two legs can be. While tired and still experiencing pain, I feel my energy increasing and my will to resume life outside of the hospital uncompromising. I haven’t been overly focused on leaving the hospital because I’ve known that my strength and stability need to increase before I leave. While leaving tomorrow would be premature, I’m starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Even while having no idea of what exists between here and the light, I have no doubt that when the time is ripe, my fruit will fall from the tree and I will be ripe to return home.

The Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra is a beautiful chant about becoming ripe to the cycle of birth and death, to surrendering to Shiva just as a ripe cucumber at the perfect moment falls from the vine. The beginning and the end are a perfect reflection of each other that melds into a whole life cycle made of moments happening exactly as they should.

Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra महामृत्युंजय   मन्त्र:   ॐ   त्र्यम्बकं   यजामहे   सुगन्धिं   पुष्टिवर्धनम् :

Om Tryambakam Yajaamahe Sugandhim Pussttivardhanam Urvaarukamiva Bandhanaan Mrtyormukssiiya Maamrtaat

ॐ त्र्यम्बकं यजामहे सुगन्धिं पुष्टिवर्धनम् उर्वारुकमिव बन्धनान् मृत्योर्मुक्षीय मामृतात् ॥

Meaning: Om, We worship the Three-eyed One (Lord Shiva), who is fragrant and who nourishes all beings; may he liberate us from death, for the sake of immortality, even as a ripe cucumber is severed from the bondage of the creeper.

My (short) translation: When we are ready, things in life happen with ease. We can let go from the gripping of the side of the cliff and know our fall will be padded by warm, welcoming waters. We land whole, untarnished, perfect, into a new reality where every moment we are present, at one with all of existence for eternity.

Translation of words:

AUM/OM: Absolute reality. That which encompasses the three states of waking, dreaming, deep sleep, represented by AUM, the three levels of gross, subtle, causal, the three levels of conscious, unconscious, subconscious, and the three universal processes of coming, being, and going. Absolute silence beyond the three levels is the silence after AUM.

Tryambakam: Trya means three. Ambakam means eyes. It means the three eyes of the Absolute, which are the processes of creation, existence, and dissolution, as well as the other triads, which are part of AUM. The three “eyes” means experiencing these three stages and triads at one time, from the higher, all pervasive vantage point of the Absolute. (Relating to Shiva, the god of destruction, calamity and rebirth)

Yajamahe: We rejoice in meditation on all of this.

Sugandhim: Means fragrance. Like a spreading fragrance, all of this permeates the whole of existence, while at the same time being that existence

Pushtivardhanam: Means that which sustains and nourishes all. Thus, the fragrance that permeates all is the sustainer of all beings, while also the essence of all beings. (Pushti means ripe)

Urvarukamiva: Urva means big and powerful. Arukam means disease, like the spiritual diseases of ignorance and untruth, which are like the death of Wisdom or Truth.

Bandhanan: Means bound down, as in bound down to the ignorance and untruth.

Mrityor: Means ignorance and untruth.

Mukshiya: Means liberation from the cycles of physical, mental, and spiritual death.

Maamritat: Means please give me rejuvenating nectar, so as to have this liberation, like the process of severing the cucumber from the creeping vine.

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