Earth Etude for Elul 3 — 200 Jewels

by Thea Iberall

~ I had a medical emergency. The room felt like the galley of a sinking ship and I was lurching against the walls. The doctor said my heart had become irregular. He handed me blood thinners and I wanted to run away. My mind flooded with trying to figure out what to do. His western medicine uses empirically-based tools and years of rigorous scientific testing. It’s ingrained into us to believe doctors. But this medicine is what killed my father.

Besides, it is only one model, one that continually evolves. Look at how much Western medicine has learned in the last 50 years. We can’t even imagine what tools will be discovered in the next 50 years. Meanwhile, the Eastern approach—thousands of years older—tells us we are also an energy body, bathed in all sorts of energy flows. Even western science knows that our cells store and emit electricity; every action of our bodies involves electrochemical signals. The electromagnetic fields around us are measurable. 

I want to use an Eastern approach. I want to run to my acupuncturist and call on every energy worker I know. But I agree to start with the western medical procedure. 

The surgical day care center at Metrowest Hospital is on the third floor. My nurse, Peg, has worked there 31 years. Her scrubs are a flowered shirt and pink pants. I lie in the hospital bed with a warm blanket over me. The paper hat on my head is tilted sideways like a beret. They wheel my bed into the corner of a large room and hook me up. Dr. Desai is a friendly, older Indian man, who nods and smiles. He has quizzed me and is satisfied I know what is going to happen. I’m talking to the anesthesiologist and then suddenly, I’m waking up and it’s over.

The nurses are talking about a cream for the burns on my chest, but I am looking at the monitor. It is showing a perfect rhythm. Joy and gratitude fill my body. Peg thrusts an EKG readout into my hands. On the left, I see the irregular beats. On the right is the regular hills and mountains of my regular rhythm. In the middle is the shock of 200 joules that jolted my heart and burned my skin. 

What’s going to happen now? I may or may not be totally out of atrial fibrillation. Friends have had this procedure two, three or more times. Should I continue the Western medicine approach or turn to Eastern medicine?

I’m staring at the jolt. Just to the right of it there is a flatline for about half a second. Was I dead? I think about t’shuvah, returning to spirit, and I begin wondering that perhaps there is a third way. A place of trust, with me changing my attitude, correcting my past mistakes. So I’ve stopped stressing out and multi-tasking. I’m walking two miles a day, breathing in the trees. I’m not reaching for my stethoscope and I’m not clearing my heart chakra every second to check on the state of my heart. I’m letting go and living in trust aligned with the life force. I am living in the great quantum state of the unknown.

Our minds are powerful entities. Our intentions can create our physical reality. My heart will find its natural rhythm no matter which medical model I follow. Those 200 joules are ephemeral. I think of the 200 jewels I have in my life: my wife, my friends, my family, my community; the gifts of love and support that my parents gave me; my curiosity, my religion, my spirituality, my education, my career, my abilities, food, shelter, my health, my brain, my heart. 

I choose to live in acceptance, gratitude, trust, and love. Having faith I will be okay.

Thea Iberall, PhD, is on the leadership team of the Jewish Climate Action Network-MA. Iberall is the author of The Swallow and the Nightingale, a visionary fiction novel about a 4,000-year-old secret brought through time by the birds. In this fable, she addresses the real moral issue of today: not whom you love, but what we are doing to the planet. Iberall is also the playwright of We Did It For You! Women’s Journey Through History – a musical about how women got their rights in America, told by the women who were there. Along with her family, she was inducted into the International Educators Hall of Fame for creative teaching methods. In her work, she bridges between heart and mind and teaches through performance, the written word, poetry, sermons, workshops, and storytelling.

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