Sunday, 21 October 2007

I Fear I'm Flying, Shape, July 2007

I Fear I’m Flying

Pomegranates. I woke up this morning from a vivid dream of the red, juicy, crunchy and spectacularly sexy looking fruit. In Greek mythology the pomegranate features in mysterious tales of offerings to underworld goddesses, in the Qur’an it is described as a fruit found in the garden of paradise, Jewish tradition speaks of it as a symbol of righteousness, its motif is found in Christian religious regalia and in Buddhism it is one of three blessed fruits.

It’s also a symbol of invincibility, insolubility, fertility, abundance. Which couldn’t have come knocking on my dream door at a better time because the way I’ve been feeling – old, tired and physically decrepit – I’m looking on the luscious fruit as a harbinger of an urgent need for a completely physical and mental overhaul of this 36-going-on-80 year old body.

I’ve leapt a few hurdles in my lifetime so I’m comfortably aware of myself enough now to take my existence way less seriously than ever before. But I want a lot of serious things: a life that’s well lived, an ever-evolving sense of calm, optimal health, financial freedom, being able to recognise the moment so I can “be” in it. I also want kick-ass arm muscles, a Rolls Royce Phantom and a tea butler whose sole duty is to make perfect tea for me each and every morning. But those can wait.

Three months ago, my mother had a stroke. It’s her second in the space of 6 years. As far as cold medical percentages go, she’s apparently had it good because people who have stroke number one have a higher likelihood in the first one to three years of stroke number two.

Where’s the comfort in that? There is none. Every stroke attacks the brain in such a different way that it’s near impossible to predict the outcome, till the outcome arrives. This time, it attacked my mother's powers of reasoning, her cognition, her short-term memory. There were days when she could not remember which bedroom in the house was hers, and which of her three daughters she was speaking to. Thankfully, those days are past because my mother has a bottomless well of perseverance and strength. And with the help of an amazing rehab team, she’s on the road to recovery.

But I vividly remember that month, sitting by her bedside at the hospital and speaking with numerous doctors in numerous medical tongues, trying to figure it all out. Like anything in medicine, and indeed in life, there’s always a root cause. My mother’s stroke is the life threatening result of a heart condition that wasn’t discovered early on. The heart disease is the result of years of uncontrolled diabetes. The uncontrolled diabetes is the result of a life too well lived.

As health inheritance goes, to say I’ve got plenty of the worrying kind is a wee bit of an understatement. But I know this for sure. All personal disasters are the universe’s way of shoving a root problem down your throat. There are always hints. When we don’t tune in to them they grow louder and louder. And then finally, boom. And we’re all surprised and shocked.

So I’m setting out on a journey to discover my root causes. Because I’m hearing some hints and whispers myself, and dreaming of lush, goddess pomegranates. There couldn’t possibly be a better time than right now.

The Goddess Principal is a monthly column by writer and TV host
Anita Kapoor on the highs and hiccups on the way to her best mind, body and soul.

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