Eckhart Tolle likes to talk about “portals” to the Now. My favorite of his suggested portals is focusing on the body sense. It is a very simple exercise: you simply ask yourself, “Without moving or looking at my left big toe (or whatever body part you choose), how do I know that it is there?” Immediately, you are connected to the feeling present in the body, and when this remains in your focus, you are in the present moment. Try it. Pick some part of your body, close your eyes and ask yourself, “How do I know that ______ is there?” Then, let your attention move to feeling the entire body this way, as a whole. This is using the body as a portal into the Now. And of course, the beauty of being in the Now is that you can’t be uselessly rehashing the past, or pointlessly rehearsing the future. Life is always Now anyway, and this exercise places you right smack in the middle of it.
Shifting focus….I was thinking about ports the other day. Central ports…you know the ones. The things we hate to think about needing, because it means we need antibiotics frequently enough to justify the risk of an indwelling central line. A central port provides immediate and easy access for administration of life saving medication as we watch our lung function diminish. I don’t know about you, but I have always had a visceral reaction to the idea that I may need such a port someday.
So when my partner mentioned the other day that maybe I should consider getting a port, imagine my surprise when my immediate thoughts (really) were about Tolle, and how “port” and “portal” clearly come from the same root. So now I’ve looked it up and, sure enough, the Latin root, porta, means “gate.” Tolle’s portals are gates to the Now, and a central port is a gate to, well, your heart and circulatory system. The next thoughts I had were about the bright side of having a central port. In other words, I didn’t freak out.
There are definite pros to having a port. No more PICC lines, for one! My PICC’s always have to go into the right arm (clot in the left–from a PICC, of course), and always have to be put in by Interventional Radiology (I love those guys, but really…it’s another appointment, it’s more radiation, and they SEW the sucker in so it’s hard to pull out yourself:-)). Not only that, but as you know, you can’t lift weights when you have a PICC (did I mention the clot in my left arm?). So no PICC, means no three week layoff from one of my favorite ways to stay in shape.
Maybe it’s my age. Maybe it’s wanting things to be simpler. Maybe this just means I don’t care as much about what “other people will think.” But I’ve been thinking about it in a very “accepting” kind of way, and will likely talk with my doctor about this the next time I need IV’s. (He’ll probably say, “Are you crazy?”)
Which brings me back to Tolle. Full circle. Maybe a central port could be viewed as a sort of metaphor for a “portal” to Acceptance-with-a-capital-A. There’s no denying or fighting the fact that the lungs are needing some serious help when you submit to a port. It would be a daily visible reminder of my mortality staring back at me in the mirror each day. It would be hard to ignore evidence like that. Still, I’m not freaking out for some reason…
I’m liking this metaphor.