Pray to the Moon when She is round,
Luck with you will then abound,
What you seek for shall be found
On the sea or solid ground.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Thoughts While Nursing: Paying it Forward... & Another Reason to Love Pan

Arnold Böcklin, Pan nel canneto
Although I was vaguely familiar with the concept of "Paying it Forward," it was not until I stood outside the doors of the NICU last March that it gained a concrete application in my life. A friend from our tiny town in Utah had come to the hospital 185 miles away to check on us & offer support. She was very familiar with children in ICUs having lost a child to cancer only a year or so prior.

I had been on medical bed rest for two weeks before the Changeling decided to prematurely bail from the womb. During that time, our meals were prepared almost entirely by neighbors & other members of the community. The local Relief Society chapters organized meals, offered to clean the house (although Hubby would have none of that) & also offered to tend to the Little Lad, run errands, etc. We were overwhelmed by the outpouring of concern & support.

I wrote thank you notes, but this seemed like a pretty lame gesture. 

Standing outside the security doors of our medical cocoon, I told my friend that I wished I could reciprocate somehow -- not just to the community, but to everyone; the medical life-savers (literally), the folks who provided our housing, the emotional & financial counselors… She told me that not only was that unnecessary, it was impossible. What we needed to do was to "Pay it Forward." That was what she was doing, for all the kindness given to her when her son was sick & dying. She said there is no way to properly give back in measure to those who gave to you, so go give it to someone else. She told me to do the same for her.

Pay it forward. To be honest, I was a little afraid this was another one of those Steven Covey-isms so pervasive in Utah culture. While the etymology of the actual phrase 'pay it forward' is foggy, I did learn that it was popularized by Robert Heinlein in his book Between Planets. Heinlein's legacy of paying it forward continues today through the efforts of the
Heinlein Society. (Incidentally -- if you weren't already aware -- Robert Heinlein was also the author of Stranger in a Strange Land, a book that became the cornerstone of the Church of All Worlds (CAW), one of the oldest incorporated Neo-Pagan churches in the United States).

Searching for the origins of this principle, I discovered (to my surprise & delight) that Pan had a hand in promoting it. Menander's Ancient Greek comedy Dyskolos, circa 317 BC, contains one of the earliest written  references to this concept. The play surrounds a grouchy farmer, his beautiful daughter & the man who seeks her hand in marriage. Pan is instigator & the underlying influence throughout the story, the crux of which is stated so eloquently here:
Sostratos: You're talking about money, an unstable business.
If you think that all of this will stay with you
for all time, guard it, share with no one
what you own.  But what you're not yourself master of                    800
— and everything you have is not yours but luck's —
don't begrudge any of these things, father, to anyone.
For luck herself will take everything of yours for herself
and assign them again to some one else, perhaps someone who doesn't deserve it.
That's why I say to you, for as long                                                        805
as you are master, you must use what you have in a noble fashion, father;
yourself, you must help out everyone, make rich
as many people as you can by your own efforts.  For this act

never dies.  And if you ever happen to stumble,
the same will be there for you from what you've done.                     810
A much better thing is a visible friend
than invisible wealth which you keep buried away.
(emphasis mine)

How wise & wonderful. Over & over I find Pan's gentle benevolence quietly working its magick in literature & life. I suppose I should not have been surprised to find it here -- just another wink from One I hold very dear to my heart.

Arnold Böcklin,  Pan che fischia a un merlo
So, paying it forward, how do I do this? While I make an effort live in a kindly & generous manner in my daily life, I feel that honoring this principle requires more purposeful, direct action. When & where these opportunities will arise, I cannot anticipate, but I believe I will know them when they present themselves.

I feel I was handed such an opportunity yesterday. At a local bookstore, we met an elderly gentleman wearing a Veteran's hat, searching the "Spiritual/New Age" aisle with a lost look about him. Not having found the book I was seeking (but placated by three other nice finds), I was ready to leave. It was then that the man asked me if I "knew about metaphysics." How does one answer this question? I stumbled on my words for a moment or two & then asked him, "What exactly are you looking for?" He explained that he was trying to find books about healing & ley lines, but he referred to them as "Hartmann lines." Out of my element, I faltered. Hubby found one book, but it appeared to be a survey of the ley lines of the U.K., not a book about healing.

I have an acquaintance who refers to herself as a "practicing metaphysician,' so I asked the man if I could get his email address. I told him I would try to contact her (she is notoriously difficult to reach) for advice. He took the pen, paused & then asked me if I could do the writing for him, gesturing sadly to his gnarled hands. If I didn't already want to help him find some answers, that settled it. We chatted a bit more, exchanged introductions & said goodnight to Bob.

In the car on the way home, we talked about Bob. During our bookstore chat, Hubby had taken the time to observe Bob's heavily adorned hat. Apparently Bob is a veteran of both the Vietnam & Korean wars. He is also the recipient of a purple heart. If this man wants a book on ley lines, or help with energy healing or a metaphysician, or a fluffy pink velvet unicorn, he bloody ought to get one (or all of them). 

So, I'm throwing it out here into the blogosphere: can you help me help Bob? I don't know a thing about energy lines, ley or otherwise. I don't even understand the Feng Shui thing. I talk to fungi, flirt with horned gods & pray to the Moon -- the totality of my healing powers are summed up with a kiss & a latex-free band-aid. If you know anything that might be of assistance, if you have bits of knowledge, links, book recommends, other resources for Bob, please send me a message, or leave a comment. Please. And thank you.

"Pan ... but in truth I will pray to you every time I go past you — and I shall be a friend to my fellow man." Sostratos, Dyskolos


Your Wolf in NYC said...

There is so much that comes to mind, the locus of this inquiry (both Bob's and yours, thus shared) so diffuse and grand, it is difficult to just jot down a succinct "answer" for you. And that, i believe, is the beginning of the next step: refine the question. Where does Bob live? What exactly is he after? What is his ailment or desire? Where does he come from (in all senses of the term), and so what does he gravitate to/resonate with? Ley lines and Hartmann lines are related, and basically the same, but not necessarily the same. It's a bit of a semantic thing, which is often annoying and distracting. But, essentially it sounds like he might be looking for relief from cancer? The magnetic energy grid of the planet may or may not have something to do with that, but debates rage and there is little qualitative proof. The Hartmann grid, if you subscribe to the theory, is basically a tight grid found like a net around the entire planet. The thories of Ley Lines speak of a grid/net as well, though of a much larger and less evenly patterned nature, and each line being hugely more "powerful" than the lines Hartmann theorized. This stuff is just the beginnings of the discussion, but as i said i really think the question/s ought to be more specific if helpful answers are to be found. There are many books and essays written on the subjects of Ley Lines and/or Hartmann lines, but the majority of what you'll find is just general musings. Focus the aim of the arrow and you will strike closer to the heart. Email me more if you want; i'm absolutely willing to help.

Anonymous said...

This is the basis for your Mushroom Hatred Remediation Program. Pay love and tolerance and hope and compassion forward. Love overcomes hatred, compassion overcomes intolerance, hope overcomes desperation.

Your Magick has touched me today. Thank you.

Pay it forward, girl.

Moma Fauna said...

Hare & Wolf,

Thank you both for your comments. This is very important to me. Ironic, isn't it? Given that it is something with which I have no skills. Perhaps then it is an exercise in finding the support from others.

Wolf, love, you will be hearing from me soon.

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