This was sent to me from my beautiful friend Rose Khalsa, an incredible cranial sacral therapist practicing in Takoma Park....
DOWNWIND FROM FLOWERS
Several years ago in Seattle, Washington, there lived a 52- year-old
Tibetan refugee. "Tenzin," as I will call him, was diagnosed with one of
the more curable forms of lymphoma. He was admitted to the hospital and
received his first dose of chemotherapy. But during the treatment, this
usually gentle man became extremely angry and upset. He pulled the IV out
of his arm and refused to cooperate. He shouted at the nurses and became
argumentative with everyone who came near him. The doctors and nurses were
baffled. Then Tenzin's wife spoke to the hospital staff. She told them
Tenzin had been held as a political prisoner by the Chinese for 17 years.
They killed his first wife and repeatedly tortured and brutalized him
throughout his imprisonment. She told them that the hospital rules and
regulations, coupled with the chemotherapy treatments, gave Tenzin
horrible flashbacks of wha t he had suffered at the hands of the Chinese.
"I know you mean to help him," she said, "but he feels tortured by your
treatments. They are causing him to feel hatred inside - just like he felt
toward the Chinese. He would rather die than have to live with the hatred
he is now feeling. And, according to our belief, it is very bad to have
hatred in your heart at the time of death. He needs to be able to pray and
cleanse his heart."
So the doctors discharged Tenzin and asked the hospice team to visit him
in his home. I was the hospice nurse assigned to his care. I called a
local representative from Amnesty International for advice. He told me
that the only way to heal the damage from torture is to "talk it through."
"This person has lost his trust in humanity and feels hope is impossible,"
the man said. "If you are to help him, you must find a way to give him
But when I encouraged Tenzin to talk about his experiences, h e held up his
hand and stopped me. He said, "I must learn to love again if I am to heal
my soul. Your job is not to ask me questions. Your job is to teach me to
I took a deep breath. I asked him, "So, how can I help you love again?"
Tenzin immediately replied, "Sit down, drink my tea and eat my cookies."
Tibetan tea is strong black tea laced with yak butter and salt. It isn't
easy to drink! But that is what I did. For several weeks, Tenzin, his
wife, and I sat together, drinking tea. We also worked with his doctors to
find ways to treat his physical pain. But it was his spiritual pain that
seemed to be lessening. Each time I arrived, Tenzin was sitting
cross-legged on his bed, reciting prayers from his books. As time went on,
he and his wife hung more and more colorful "thankas," Tibetan Buddhist
banners, on the walls. The room was fast becoming a beautiful, religious
When the spring came, I asked Tenzin what Tibetans do when they are ill in
the spring. He smiled brightly and said, "We sit downwind from flowers." I
thought he must be speaking poetically. But Tenzin's words were quite
literal. He told me Tibetans sit downwind so they can be dusted with the
new blossoms' pollen that floats on the spring breeze. They feel this new
pollen is strong medicine. At first, finding enough blossoms seemed a bit
daunting. Then, one of my friends suggested that Tenzin visit some of the
local flower nurseries. I called the manager of one of the nurseries and
explained the situation.
The manager's initial response was: "You want to do what?" But when I
explained the request, the manager agreed. So, the next weekend, I picked
up Tenzin and his wife with their provisions for the afternoon: black tea,
butter, salt, cups, cookies, prayer beads and prayer books. I dropped them
off at the nursery and assured them I would return at 5:00.
The following weekend, Tenzin and his wife visited another nursery. The
third weekend, they went to yet another nursery. The fourth week, I began
to get calls from the nurseries inviting Tenzin and his wife to come
again. One of the managers said, "We've got a new shipment of nicotiana
coming in and some wonderful fuchsias and oh, yes! Some great daphne. I
know they would love the scent of that daphne! And I almost forgot! We
have some new lawn furniture that Tenzin and his wife might enjoy."
Later that day, I got a call from the second nursery saying that they had
colorful wind socks that would help Tenzin predict where the wind was
blowing. Pretty soon, the nurseries were competing for Tenzin's visits.
People began to know and care about the Tibetan couple. The nursery
employees started setting out the lawn furniture in the direction of the
wind. Others would bring out fresh hot water for their tea. Some o f the
regular customers would leave their wagons of flowers near the two of
them. It seemed that a community was growing around Tenzin and his wife.
At the end of the summer, Tenzin returned to his doctor for another CT
scan to determine the extent of the spread of the cancer. But the doctor
could find no evidence of cancer at all. He was dumbfounded. He told
Tenzin that he just couldn't explain it.
Tenzin lifted his finger and said, "I know why the cancer has gone away.
It could no longer live in a body that is filled with love. When I began
to feel all the compassion from the hospice people, from the nursery
employees, and all those people who wanted to know about me, I started to
change inside. Now, I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to heal
in this way. Doctor, please don't think that your medicine is the only
cure. Sometimes compassion can cure cancer, as well."
We all...must take Time...to smell the flowers and observe the nature...all around us...we will have a smoother Journey...to the next...Paths...