skin breakdown and the Jewish high holidays

skin breakdown and the Jewish high holidays

Posted by Dan Gottlieb on Sep 23, 2015 5:30 pm

Today is the most sacred holiday of the Jewish religion. It’s a time to apologize to all we have harmed, whether intentional or not, over this past year. It’s a time to open our hearts and forgive all of those who have harmed us.

According to my understanding of religious teachings, this is the day God decides whether we will be “inscribed in the book of life for another year”. Essentially whether we will continue to live and thrive until next year’s High Holidays.
Not the most religious guy in the world, I do go “religiously” to all of the high holiday services. The message means a lot to me. It is a good time to think about what judgments or resentment I might carry in my heart. It’s time to reflect about the people I may have harmed – including myself. It’s a good exercise to apologize and do my very best not to repeat the same mistakes again. Even repeating how I have harmed myself through neglect or critical self judgment.

And the holidays are ultimately about life and death. It’s a time to think about how we’ve lived, when we die and how we remember all of those loved ones we have lost. We are not big believers in heaven and hell, so life gets lived between the lines.

Okay, so what does all of this have to do with skin breakdown? It’s now nearly the end of September and for the last 5 or 6 weeks, I have been dealing with a pressure sore on my buttocks. Sadly, this is not unusual for those of us who sit in wheelchairs all day because no matter what we do, there is unreasonable pressure on those 2 small bones in our bottom that we sit on. And it is a nightmare for us because these sores cannot heal unless we are out of our chairs and in bed.

So that’s where I have been spending most of this past month; I’ve been in bed between 18 and 20 hours a day looking out my bedroom window and watching the beautiful foliage. And I wonder about my life in this body that seems to be getting more fragile with each passing year. And given the holidays, I can’t help but to wonder what if this is my last year, my last season?

which begs the question: "okay Buster, time is not to be wasted. What are we going to do with this precioustime we have left? And this time is precious to me whether it is one season or 2 decades.(I strongly prefer the latter. Very very strongly)

In " Letters to Sam", I wrote about a conversation I had with my grandson Sam when he was about 7 years old. we were just hanging out together when quite spontaneously he asked “hey pop, are you going to die soon?” I had been sick recently and his mother, my daughter was quite worried about me. I told him I didn’t know, but asked him what he thought my death would mean to him. He said he didn’t know but he was scared. And that’s when I thought it was time to teach him more about love. I if he loved me and of course he said yes. And of course he said he knew I loved him. Then I asked him if he could feel my love for him. He thought about it for a minute and said that he did in fact feel my love. I asked him if he thought I would still love him after I was dead. He did. And finally I asked him if he thought he would still be able to feel my love for him when I was gone. When he thought about it and said yes, he felt better about losing me. Not happy, mind you, just better!
I think what my life has been about is for others to say, but I will say what’s most meaningful to me and what has been most meaningful throughout my lifetime. Love. And all of the adversity I have endured have only taught me how to love better, deeper, more often, with more abandon and less fear.

I'm pretty lucky in that  a bunch of people love me back. But more important than that I have had the opportunity to love many, to teach kindness and experience gratitude.

So what do I want to do with this precious time? Love more people, more things and more deeply than I did yesterday. After a while, this love business gets pretty easy. And it can nurture the people you love for many years to come. And who knows, love might even help heal a wound on somebody’s butt!

In Tuesdays with Morrie, Mitch album quotes his beloved mentors final observation:
“Death end’s a life, not a relationship”

Re: skin breakdown and the Jewish high holidays

Posted by Dan Gottlieb on Sep 30, 2015 4:34 pm

The wound is healing and is now below 1 cm. Really no surprise because given a healthy environment, wounds heal themselves. Sure, there's medications and ointments that can help the process, but if we take care of the environment, they heal themselves.

So how do we take care of the environment? Of course we keep the wound clean and make sure it's not infected. We make sure there is nothing in the body that is causing the wound such as an infection somewhere this has been undiagnosed. And of course, we take pressure off the wound so that it can get good circulation which is the nutrient and he wound needs to heal.

And then it heals!

This discussion is called "Healing the Heart and Mind". It turns out that wounds to the heart and mind heal in much the same way as our bodies. We must keep the wound clean. Whenever our hearts are broken, we know isolation makes it worse. Self-criticism and self-neglect delay healing. Blaming others, if it is ongoing, can infect the wound.

So how do we take the pressure off? We stopped demanding things of ourselves or our loved ones that are unreasonable or unrealistic. We stop trying to make tomorrow look like it did before all of this happened.
We feel what we feel whether it is deep grief with many tears or great fear or loneliness.

We open our hearts to those who care about us and share our vulnerability.

And we have faith. Faith in the resilience of the human spirit. Faith that the life force in all living beings is more powerful than almost any adversity. Faith is about trusting that who we are and what we have inside will get us through. Faith that we can live with whatever tomorrow looks like. Faith that we love, will love and are lovable regardless of what happens to us.

Wounds heal. It's almost unimaginable that some of our wounds will ever heal. But they do. And when they do they heal with scar tissue. Scar tissue isn't very pretty, but it's tough. And scar tissue reminds us of what we have loved, what we may have lost and who we are.

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