For five weeks now my father has been in the hospital. He’s frail and essentially paralyzed by Parkinson’s Disease, but he’s also a master of mindfulness. And heartfulness,I might add. So every hour I spend with him offers a new lesson.
I notice that Dad’s attention stays in the present moment and he tunes into the people who move in and out of the curtained tent in the ward he now calls home. He’s genuinely interested in everyone. He admires how the cleaners move like dancers in their daily routine. His voice is a bare whisper, but he knows the names of all the staff and finds something positive to say about each of them. One day he met a young student nurse with a prominent scar on her chin and neck. ” What is your name?” he whispered, as usual. I’ll call her Anna. Then, in that tone of the compassionate physician that I know so well he asked gently “Anna, how old were you when you were burned?”. “I was eight” she replied. Dad’s face was so tender and open. “That must have been a terrible experience” he said. Then a pause as he gazed at her. ” Anna, you have a beautiful face.”
Dad has spent a lifetime caring for other people and now that it’s time to receive, there’s a harvest of love and attention coming back to him. Without effort he creates an environment that attracts openness, warmth and gentle curiosity. Life in the present moment unfolds into new dimensions I can never predict. All I need to do is to show up.
Mindful communication is more than a skill. Like a key, it opens our heart, mind and sense perceptions to the magic of the present moment and the network of relationships that support us every moment of our life.