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this too shall pass; just not right now

My friend is dying; my friend is living. I can't stop the wild overgrowth of cancer, spreading out over, under and through various systems. The first time it came, doctors fought it back and it was gone for years -- her misfortune passed (his, too, as I have more than one friend in this very situation). The living went on; the being went on. It still goes on -- she is living. But the cancer returned and, over what seems like not too much time, rampages on, unstoppable.

So I ask myself how to reconcile one of my favorite, seemingly reassuring adages, "this too shall pass," with this situation? I've often told the story of the Chinese Farmer whose neighbors lamented and rejoiced at his respective misfortunes and blessings while the farmer always just responded with, "We'll see." It sounded like the farmer was being buffeted by the whimsical winds of fate. But that's not at all true. What I've come to understand is that the farmer didn't meekly wait for the next event -- good or bad -- to happen to him, his home and his family. He went on with the business at hand. He was not passive. He was active. He kept living, in each moment. Be here now: that was his guiding star. Be here now.

Hard times will come. Your heart will break because you love, because hearts are tender, because you are human. Some hard times will pass quickly but some will last for a long time. But they will pass. Something will change. All things will pass. All of us will pass. This is as it must be.

That does not mean, however, that you have to be passive. In every moment, be. Be active, Be conscious. Be present. Believe. Be blessed, and just be here -- for yourself and for others.

Peace and love to you in the week ahead.

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