Monday, October 19, 2009

Everyone Has Value, Just Breathing

An old counselor friend of mine from India, who I lost touch with years ago when she moved back, had an enormous impact on the people she worked with when she lived in the United States. Her insight into the U.S. national psyche is that most people she met didn't feel good about themselves. Even worse, this was amplified if they were sick, disabled, unemployed or struggling. She took to asking her clients to lie down while she sat beside them and held their hands. She would tell them to just breathe and when they would protest that they weren't getting "enough work done" in their session with her she'd tell them to think of themselves as a young infant -- a newborn, unable to move or talk, or even lift their own head. And she would say

"Did your mama love you any less for that? No! She was so excited to have you, to welcome you into her life, to just hold you and look at you and smell you! She saw you as a perfect miracle when you were just born and unable to do anything but lie there, breathing. And she was thankful for that."

"Just breathe. You are of value to the world just being here. You are a miracle. You are loveable. You are welcome on this planet. You belong."

"Think of yourself as that little newborn. You are still that same child. And nothing changes that except what you have been taught to believe."

In this video is a graphic example of how valuable a being can be just lying there breathing. It's a tribute to Baxter, a dog who brought joy and comfort to people at the end of their lives even though he couldn't do anything anymore himself but lie in their beds, be held by them and lick their faces.

He died on Friday, October 16, on my birthday. I didn't know him personally but I know he is deeply missed.