My grandfather, Irvin Abraham Schnyder, 92 years of age, continues to harness so much heart chi, he has just gifted us all another rebirth.
As we welcome the summer, and a joyful season of the Heart/Small Intestine in Chinese Medicine, I am celebrating the remarkable power of the Spirit. According to Chinese Medicine, the heart stores the spirit. The heart spirit of my Pop Pop is so imbued with LOVE, that he continues to survive against the odds. His body has long since surrendered to the amazing willingness of his heart/mind to endure the uncomfortable in exchange for daily doses of LOVE. He has been on dialysis for close to a decade, and has outlived more than two groups of his peers receiving the same treatments for purification of the blood.
In my heart and mind I have wished this beautiful man many goodbyes, and offered many thank yous for the preciousness of having a grandfather well into my adult life. I have often wondered if he is just afraid to let go? But over time I have recognized that this is my own fear, and my own projections on what life means and how we are supposed to ride the waves of the inevitable. Pop Pop has this sparkle in his eyes, evident to all who meet him, and a spirit that honors life. He has shown me that if our commitment to something or someone is greater than our fears, magic is possible.
As my beloved grandfather went in for a surgery just this week to see if it was possible to do the impossible to, get his tired veins to become yet more adaptable to receiving continued treatments for purification I once again had the chance to learn that his spirit is wondrously strong. In my belief, Pop Pop survives through the sustenance of love, and dedication to living. He tells the universe daily that he is still in love with life, and that he is still declaring, “YES!” Yes, there will always be one more thing to stick around for. He acknowledges that at some point he might just be “ready” to move on, but for now he chooses to drink in life force in the great joy and anticipation of a 6th great grandchild, and of his first great grandson’s coming of age in the Jewish tradition. He chooses to watch the petals unfold for his five grandchildren as they pursue their own unique paths and, continually share their journeys with him. His daily medicine and mantra is one of gratitude for his family, for music, photography, the ocean, and community. Pop Pop is sure to spread his love of life through words and praises, to everyone he meets. You will not spend more than a few minutes around him without hearing, “I have got to tell you, I am the luckiest man I know,” spoken from his contagiously smiling mouth.
As I believe many of us often do, I as well have been known to wonder how I karmically arrived in my family. A clear thread that I have found to weave my family together is the Heart spirit we all share. However different we all are from each other, we all do have sparkle. And while we have a precious body temple that we must love and care for, we have a heart/mind that guides us nobly, I am understanding that our spirits are bigger than both. We are great spirits who can sustain our temples with force greater than what the mere physical has to offer us if we open ourselves up to it. LOVE LOVE LOVE!