Enjoy the Flavors

On March 5, 2017, a day whose wild weather poured sun, rain, hail, rainbows and fog within a span of several hours, we lost a cherished friend in our acupuncture community.  Ray Rubio finished his battle with stage 4 pancreatic cancer, crossing over to the Great Next with courage and dignity.  He is now free from the pain and suffering of this earthly dwelling, leaving two beautiful children and a legacy within our profession that will continue in his honor.  While life goes on, it goes on just a little dimmer, for his brightness is sorely missed.

Ray was a force of nature…his never-ending supply of ideas, teachings and the most infectious laugh ever were a gift to those who knew him.   He founded the American Board of Oriental Reproductive Medicine, which organization has introduced me to latter-day luminaries in the field of Traditional Chinese medicine for infertility, pregnancy, post-partum and menopause, as well as experts in the field of male reproductive health.

He was also a wise elder of just 55 years, for while he was valiantly preparing for his death and organizing the end stages of his life, he shared these wishes for us:   
"Whenever you can, remember these small steps and they'll help you: Stop and take a moment; enjoy the sunrise and the sunset. Laugh as much as you can. Enjoy the flavors, not the high. Don't store up moments, spend them as they come–you might never see each other again. Get out in nature as much as possible; she is your greatest teacher. You can read about an ocean your entire life but you'll never understand it until you jump right in. Lean in: let go." 

What does it mean to enjoy the flavors and textures of being human?  How often do we consciously embrace the gift of our five senses (and for some, a sixth), which are our lifeline to this moment, then this one…to the last breath?  What practices can we employ so that we “lean in; let go”?   Life can feel dizzyingly distracting, and our model of busy-is-better isn’t serving our highest purpose.  So, for as many moments as I can, I will take to heart and to practice the words of Ray Rubio.  Each day I will ask myself, right now what do I See?  Taste? Touch? Smell? Hear?  What can I do to be in better alignment with my life’s purpose?  

And I will remember what it means to be a sentient being, and will honor all other sentient beings on this beautiful Mother Earth in the beautiful thing called Life.
Enjoy the flavors.