From: Stew Bittman
Now that I'm back home, surrounded by all the familiar and comfortable sights and sounds, it wouldn't take much to convince me that the 10 days in Costa Rica was all a dream. The whole experience is a blur.
I always return from mission trips determined not to talk too much, and all the folks asking me about the trip normally test me immediately. This time I've truthfully responded, "I don't know what happened." It all happened so fast (except for the plane trips)! But memories come bursting up to the surface of my consciousness like farts in a bathtub.
The deep, dark sea of beautiful eyes. Smiles and laughs, tears, hugs and blessings, and necks by the thousands and thousands. Yet these memories don't seem real in and of themselves. It all seems like one thing. I notice my mind, in an attempt to record and analyze and communicate the experience, separating it into isolated faces and events, like the many photographs we just had developed, as if that would somehow validate the experience.
The more my mind pulls in that direction, the more my heart knows that the lesson is about unity. About the power of one mind, one intention, one person, one experience, one Spirit.
Another thing my mind wants to do is to focus on how wonderful we are and what an impact we made in Costa Rica. Again, it misses the point. Indeed we made an incredible impact, but not because we are so wonderful. We simply served with the gifts we have been given. We simply served a cause that was bigger than ourselves. Miracles always happen under those circumstances. Nature helps me to remember this.
I'm looking at a wildflower called an Indian Paintbrush. It looks as though the tips of its green petals were dipped in bright orange paint. I find myself pondering the cells in the initial layer of orange. I don't doubt that they have some awareness, but I wonder if they have any idea of their contribution to the visual pattern that is bringing me so much pleasure. I think of the intricate, timeless, and interdependent chain of events that was necessary to simply allow these cells to express their genes for orange. Does expressing orange benefit the cells themselves in any way? Is there any meaning or beauty to that orange without my experience of it?
What of my contribution? Do I need to be aware of my contribution to know there is one? Do I need do anything other than to simply give away my gift in order to serve the Creator to my fullest? In this dream state that I'm in, I am overwhelmed with a deep feeling of the one-ness of all things, separated only by my mind. And Costa Rica stands as another reminder of what is possible when the mind's games of separation-attachments, desires, judgments, expectations, etc. are forgotten.
The crew in Costa Rica consisted of diverse personalities, backgrounds, and techniques. But there was one intention -- to bring the gift of chiropractic (and, therefore, life) to people who would otherwise most likely never receive it. There was one emotion -- love. There was one tool -- an upper cervical adjustment. There was one desire -- service. There was one direction of our service -- God.
In our last day's prayer, someone wondered aloud, "I wonder how many people we'll adjust today". Mike Lynch instantly and resoundingly responded, "ONE". This became our rally cry. And somehow a handful of chiropractors, along with some family and staff and some local University and Lion's Club volunteers, attracted and turned on the power in tens of thousands of people in six days.
Some may not like or understand what we do on these missions, but that's okay. To have experienced it 5 times now, I feel no need to justify or explain. It is an act of love, an act of union and communion, a right and necessary act. To know of its rightness, one need only look upon the faces of the chiropractors and of the people getting adjusted. The experience was very precious.
For those who haven't been on one of these trips, know that the experience is available in every moment. Whenever we choose to remember our connection instead of our differences. Whenever we choose to focus on something bigger than ourselves. Whenever we consciously choose love. Whenever we set up for an adjustment knowing that what we are about to deliver is the most loving thing we have to offer, delivered directly from our Innate to theirs, with no regard for its effect or for any possible reward. Whenever we truly practice chiropractic.
If Costa Rica was indeed a dream, may I never awaken.
(Click here to see new photos from the Costa Rica mission.)