Tuesday, June 8, 2010

all in

Who knows ... it may all be over one way or the other by now, but yesterday I received a note from Claire, Hugh Greenaway's daughter, telling me about pending action in the wake of a massive stroke my internet friend had on May 23 in the UK. Hugh and Claire are something like five or six hours ahead of me in time, so I don't know if the matter is resolved or not:

Just to let u know my dad has to have an emergency operation on his neck artery 2moro. They have decided now that it's too risky to not do it as there's a high chance at the minute of him having another stroke which would be massive or even kill him. Unfortunately the operation can actually cause a stroke to happen so we are all really worried obviously but the chance of him having one as he is is higher than him having I've during the op so they have decided they have no option but to take that risk. He has been transferred tonight so will let you know what happens 2moro.

A risk if you act.

A risk if you don't act.

And quite conceivably is may be the last risk ever taken ... the risk di tutti risks. Nothing fancy about it. All-in as they say in poker. Nothing held back. One shot, dead or alive.

Funny how the most complex things are like this: In the end, it's simply a matter of in or out, act or don't act. And it's not just true in woeful, saddening circumstances. It's true as well where gaiety and smiles and laughter are in force.

However much I may wish my friend well, however much I may love him, however much I may wring my hands in horror or sorrow ... still ... this moment is always this moment and it's in or out. And there is something within that knows this and is at ease. No escape is just no escape so there is no need any longer to try to escape, to maintain control, to revise in accordance with something else.

Where "life and death" are the issue, there is a tendency to pay greater attention. We may wriggle and squirm and issue consoling words or try to manipulate things to some 'spiritual' advantage. There is importance.

But isn't the same importance, the same inescapable importance, in force when it comes to kissing a friend, giving a gift, laughing out loud or sunbathing on a beach? I think it is and I also think that our practice is to get our heads and hearts straight about things: I am responsible ... act or don't act, still this moment is only this moment.

And there is joy in it.


  1. Best hopes for your friend.

    In poker there is a saying, "In order to live, you must be willing to die."


  2. I love Hughie

    as he has always loved us


  3. No word today I guess?

  4. Shel-- A note from Claire said the operation went OK, but things were in a wait-and-see mode at present.

  5. It helps to let the mind guide us, but all that and whatfor? The rest and resetting of the heart.

    We let our hearts roam in chaos and ... like me now. Just talking. But what is talking going to help?

    There are in the pretty end, just good fellings and wishes of the well being of the others. And here is a difference, genkaku, between things we love and things we fear for. Between loving sunbathing and surving an operation. Surviving an operation is more important.

    Maslow's hiearchy of needs:

    You can see that the base is more important than the hgher properties. Speaking of importance.

    Purely philosophical.