2001-11-17 / Columnists

Health and Harmony

By Dr. Nancy Gahles

By Dr. Nancy Gahles

It was a beautiful November morning, the 12th of the month. My daughter Jade's 12th birthday. She had just celebrated her Bat Mitzvah on Saturday. My husband left to take his parents to Kennedy Airport for their flight back to Florida while I, her Catholic mom, went to St. Francis to attend the 9 a.m. mass in celebration and thanksgiving. Since she had recently become a woman, I allowed her to stay alone at home with two of her friends.

As Monsignor Gerahty celebrated the offertory, we heard a loud explosion and the church rumbled. We all exclaimed, slightly, and the Monsignor continued with the mass. Then came a second, smaller explosion and still he continued. I did want to run out as visions of my house exploding ran through my head. After all, woman or not, it was her first time home alone. But being the good Catholic girl I am, I stayed put not daring to disturb the Liturgy of the Eucharist. A braver woman behind me began to voice her feelings that maybe we should leave when someone ran into the church screaming, "There's a fire outside the church!" We all ran, and as I looked down 130th Street towards the bay all I could see was a towering inferno of black smoke and flames. It appeared that it was 129th Street on fire and I thought about all my beloved shop owner friends. As I ran faster than I ever thought possible, I was trying to ascertain the parameters of the fire.

Approaching 134th Street it was clear that my daughter had not inadvertently blown up our house.  I slowed down a bit so as to prevent a heart attack and then picked up the pace as I neared my street. The children were frantic but quite relieved to see me. We hugged each other as we said a prayer in the street and watched the beautiful November sky filled with black smoke and felt another hole in our beloved community.

It reminded me of a part of the speech I made to my daughter on her Bat Mitzvah just two days before.
"Go boldly into your future. Be courageous. A woman must have courage to face her challenges. Be strong. A woman must be strong to carry on and never give up on herself...To be a woman, it's not for the faint of heart but then, neither is Life."

Life calls upon us to face challenges most unexpectedly. It is possible to meet these challenges with courage and strength. You need faith, family and friends. And, like I told Jade, never give up on yourself, your own inner strength. Cultivate that strength daily through linking yourself to the highest, purist thoughts. Meditation is the tool by which you can direct your inner self to quiet contemplation.  Listen to your innermost self.

It might have been a long time since you have been listened to, and by someone who knows you so well and who loves you unconditionally… yourself. Guided imagery techniques help you to use imagery to access a deeper understanding of yourself, to realize your full potential as a human being, to love yourself more fully and to have a safe place to go in times of crisis.

It gives me great happiness to offer mediation classes on Thursday evening, at 7 p.m., please call my office for a reservation. Upcoming workshops will be listed in the "What's Happening" section of the Wave.

May God give us the courage and strength to carry on. My deepest condolences to all those who have lost someone they love. May they rest in Peace.

May the Blessings Be!

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