Listening to Psychic Sahar’s interview with me, there began a trickle that became a waterfall of memories: this time last year I had lost the sight in my right eye and my left was getting dimmer. I could no longer see in depth. On holiday in Mexico, stumbling down stone steps to a sandy beach, I could not tell and so I fell, a few times, enough to really worry me, and my beloved. I had lost, or was about to lose, the apartment where I had lived for twenty-two years, and found nothing anywhere near suitable to move to. I had lost my Shiatsu School, destroyed by two who believed they could stop watering a garden and still get flowers.
Were these reasons for Gratitude? Had I not taught the Taoist ‘Contract with the Universe,’ demanding Gratitude for everything that happens to us? Had I not preached the virtues of treating Triumph and Disaster just the same? Yet everyday I woke up with the knot in my gut. Yet every day I looked at the light from the window, at my beloved by my side, and was grateful to be alive, to be in love, every day.
Back from holiday, I went to the doctor. Six weeks later I walked out of the operation with tears in my eyes and joy in my whole being, crying ‘I can see, I can see!’ After another six weeks they took the cataract from the other eye. I can read without glasses, except the small print; I can drive without glasses; I can see ever more clearly the lovely features on the beautiful face of my beloved. I thanked all the Gods and Goddesses and Mother Nature and above all our wonderful, fantastic, amazing NHS. And I felt gratitude.
And then, in the Spring when things begin, we found a place. A little two-bedroom house, with its own front door, and a garden. We moved in June. We love it here. We are grateful and glad, and thank our lovely housing association for finding it for us, and everyone who made it possible for us to move and live here, with both our names on the lease. I feel gratitude.
Last week, a judge struck out the case that had been brought against me over the closure of the School. I am grateful to the RSA insurance company who paid for my defence, for the justice of English law, and for the support I had from the former teachers and other students who were willing to bear witness for me. I feel gratitude.
These twelve months have passed now, and I’ve been updating some of my e-books. In one, Finding Spirit in Zen Shiatsu, I saw I had quoted a man I met on the steps of the Jade Buddha temple in Chiang Mai. He said, ‘The universe, she always smiles when you trust her.’ And then I remembered the boy in the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel saying ‘Everything’s all right in the end, isn’t it, and if it’s not, it just means it’s not yet the end.’
Throughout all those tribulations my beloved Anamarta has been the foundation of love and support that has sustained me. Because whatever I preach to others, like any Tai Chi teacher, I am trying to correct my own failings. And to my NLP colleagues, yes, I used the word ‘trying’ with all its implications, deliberately.
It’s not the end, yet. It’s the continuation of Life, complete with challenge, Triumph and Disaster: those two imposters ain’t goin’ nowhere. So I look at the light coming in the window, I look forward to my beloved returning from dancing with the gypsies in the deserts of Rajastan; to the boundless opportunities filling the future, and for being alive and well and happy and in love right here and now in this present moment: I feel Gratitude!