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Posted By Opening the Heart

I am the luckiest of men in having friends who pour loving kindness in my direction!


On Monday I had a hospital appointment for a somewhat invasive diagnostic proceedure. It was my first time undergoing this proceedure and the information I was able to gather in advance about potential discomfort varied dramatically from 'no big deal' to 'ouch!!!' Under these circumstances, in spite of all effort to 'stay in the moment', my mind visited every conceivable state of apprehension. I found myself to be more anxious about the proceedure than about the results of the diagnosis. My imagination had me pinned down, writhing in pain unable to escape the torture.  I was exactly the opposite of the tough, resilient courageous male promulgated by the stereotype; I was in short - a wimp!


Just one of the blessings of my life is having male friends with whom I can freely and easily share what is happening 'on the inside'. I talked with Jon (Berenson - a co-facilitator of the OTH Workshop) and immediately, without hesitation he said, 'I'll be there. When is it?'


I was (and still am) blown away by the immediacy  of his kindness. There were no ifs, ands or buts. No matter that he lives more than 40 miles away. No matter that the appointment happened  to be at 8.30am in Downtown Boston MA- the other side of a very nasty Monday morning commute from Providence RI. No matter the absurd cost of gas to make the trip. No matter any of the many and varied 'considerations'  I might have pondered before making such an offer. The gift he gave was  unreserved and instantaneous.


As luck would have it the traffic on Monday was backed up along the (misnamed) South East Expressway and Jon called from the road to let me know that he was delayed. But it didn't matter. As I sat in the doctor's waiting room Jon's kindness was already there with me, giving me the support I needed and calming my anxiety.


Of course, the actual proceedure I had been dreading so much turned out to be painless. It was all over in less than 15 minutes. The anxiety I had been generating for over a week had been a complete waste of energy. I had allowed fear of the unknown to create a whole panoply of negative images.


I told Jon that I felt embarassed that I had wasted his time.


I wasn't getting it! Coming to support and help me was a pleasure for him: not a chore but something to be savored and enjoyed.  Loving Kindness is Jon's way. I am blessed by his friendship and so so grateful for his presence in my life.


Together we went for a late breakfast and laughed.


It is my sincere hope that the next time a friend calls for my support I will be able to offer it in the way Jon offered his to me. And if I can't that I will be forgiving of myself!


Jon sometimes incorporates a Loving Kindness meditation into the Opening the Heart Workshop. It is my hope to have a recording of his version available on this blog very soon.