Blood pressure checks at the free Clinic may be routine, but they are not ordinary. This simple interaction, repeated over and over each day, is a ritual moment. There’s a feeling of the Holy to it.
Even otherwise noisy guests become silent, focused, calm as the cuff is wrapped tightly around an upper arm, gentle fingers press the diaphragm to an artery, and willing ears intensely listen for that unmistakable pulsing . For a few minutes, both patient and volunteer are unified in intense concentration on providing and hearing the evidence of life threading its way through one’s arm hanging loosely in the other’s tender grasp.
Guests come in regularly, just to have their blood pressure checked. This is a laudable act of health-consciousness, but is even more remarkable in a population of people who routinely disregard even more basic tenets of prophylactic self-care. But come they do; it’s clearly about much more than the numbers.
These are SomeBodies who have been smacked, punched, shot, shot-up, strip-searched, de-loused, raped, kicked, stabbed, and spit on. Used and abused. But in the clinic, there is safety, trust that the touch received here is gentle, healing, and will do no harm. And so I watch as person after person leans into the experience, becomes perceptibly more serene, looks as if they have just had a warmed blanket thrown around their shoulders.
In a symbolic but real way, they have. The unconditional love communicated by this simple, caring touch warms the heart, thaws defensiveness, creates a tucked-in sense of well-being, if only for awhile. It’s Love people lean into here, an altogether more powerful kind of medicine.
“Leaning into love” – we all do it, but don’t express it quite like this. Another post cited “the wisdom I have within me” – we all have it, but again don’t express it like this. It is so therapeutic for “love leaners” and “wisdom holders” to read, to hear, such
accolades about themselves – about OURSELVES. There is no separation between me and you – between them and us.
Thanks Sharon. I’m new to justlistening, but can tell that you have learned so much by this activity and have turned it around and are so able to articulate the beauty of it.
I could use a justlistening retreat and apply it to literacy classes I’m giving to adults struggling to get their GEDs. Where do I sign up to be notified of retreat possibilities?
a beautiful meditation of the deeper meanings of co-humanity!