The Secret of Why

Secrets, secrets are no fun

Unless they’re shared by everyone

Author Unknown

We all know about secrets — having them, keeping them and having them kept from us.   In my case, I felt a lot of people knew secrets about my accident and I set out a couple of years ago to unearth them.   Granted, what-I-believed-to-be the so-called “secrets” were often straightforward things like someone’s  stories, a medical record or a hazy recollection.  Yet to me, these were secrets of a grand proportion for the simple reason that no one had ever told me about these things before.

Just why did I need to know these things and why did I need to know why?  In fact, why does anyone need to know why?

It seems science answers this for us, which comes as a great relief to me since these are the things I would otherwise have thought too much about.  “Why is what drives not only everything we do, but also our emotional reactions to everything that happens to us,” says the Buddhist doctor Alex Lickerman, author of the blog, Happiness in This World, Reflections of a Buddhist Physician.  “The negative impact of being left in the dark about why things are done the way they are can be so extreme for some people that explaining our thinking to others actually represents an opportunity to contribute to their well-being. Research has suggested that taking the time to explain yourself will help your children develop a moral conscience, your students achieve mastery, your employees stay happy, and your personal relationships flourish.”

Ahhh, it feels so good to hear stuff like this.  It confirms how important it is to understand the context of our lives.  It is (in my opinion) the essence of Kierkegard‘s quote, “Life must be lived forward, but can only be understood backwards.”

If there is an easier way, please let me know.

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Shot Karma

Injections are one of many ways to administer ...

Image via Wikipedia

My husband Brian likes to remind me that life is like a karma credit card — it’s far better to add as many credits as you can to your card of life because the debits will inevitably come along.  Having been the recipient of thousands of injections through many years of surgeries, medical check-ups and blood draws, I knew what it was like to get a shot, to feel the anticipation of a needle prick.  As time went on, I’d become queasy at the very thought of a needle and grew accustomed to looking away while some kind nurse or practitioner went about their business of sticking me.  It takes practice to be the patient and I thought I’d become quite good at it.  I never wanted to be on the other side.

But this week, Brian told me that he had a procedure on the horizon and as a part of it, had to have twice daily injections.  He pulled out a plastic bag of pre-filled syringes and handed it to me, intimating that I become chief injector.   My stomach turned somersaults.   There was no way I could do this.

As my yoga teacher Cynthia has told me, life has a way of touching you on the shoulder when it’s your turn.  As I examined every angle of how to get out of giving Brian his shots, I realized there was no way out.  The karma of shots had come my way.    For many years I had taken them, adding debits to my karma credit card.  Now it seemed, it was time to add some credits to that card.

As the moment approached,I over-thought my new role.  Then, I remembered a passage from the book, Surfing the Himalayas:  A Spiritual Adventure  (, “Thoughts should have a place in your life of course, but it should be a very small place.  To really  know something, in order to see its perfection and to become part of that perfection, you must become the action that you seek to perfect.”

Brian handed me the needle.   As if I’d done it all my life, I took it, flicked the tip and watched droplets of fluid fall out, then plunged it into the folds of stomach Brian gathered with his hand and depressed the plunger, feeling the tension of liquid pouring into his body and out of the syringe.  We both exhaled. 

From nursed to nurse.  Karma isn’t always supposed to come full circle in a single lifetime but it felt that way.  I’d repeat the same anticipation, the same motion for three more days.  I didn’t want to perfect this action by any means.  Still, I found a way to become one with it.  If nothing else, I felt it was my turn to do it.