Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
I don’t care how busy life can be, I am committing to meditation. And I have Gunilla Asher to thank for it.
Namaste, Mrs. Asher.
For those who might not know her in the valley, Gunilla is the publisher of The Aspen Times. She is a former colleague of mine here at the Post Independent. She’s always had a strong work ethic in making the newspapers in this valley shine. Gunilla is a fun-loving wife to her husband, Mark, and a dedicated mother to their two boys, Charlie and David.
She is also a survivor.
It seems impossible that anyone these days does not have some kind of experience with cancer. Whether it’s losing friends or family to the disease – my first experience was at 6 when my grandmother died from bone cancer when she was just 51 – or battling and beating it, like my grandfather is doing right this minute, cancer does not play nice. Cancer is like this jerky villain in a superhero movie, lurking in the shadows and waiting to rob good people of lives spent with family and friends. I’d really like to tell cancer where it can go – and stay.
Hint: It’s not a very nice place.
That’s what Gunilla is doing. She is letting cancer know that it needs to go, get out of the house that love has built. She’s ready to be the world’s next miracle. I admire her so much for that. But that doesn’t mean she’s not scared. It’s fight or flight time.
And she’s picking the former.
At just 41, Gunilla is fighting the merciless cancer that has made its way back into her life after she has underwent chemotherapy, a double mastectomy, and more recently, a hysterectomy. The Stage 4 breast cancer she had hoped she beat has spread to her bones, lungs, liver and lymph nodes. Now is Gunilla’s time to heal.
And she’s not doing it alone.
On Sunday my friend Maria, who also works for The Aspen Times, organized a group meditation for Gunilla at True Nature Healing Arts in Carbondale. Outside of the meditation I’ve done in yoga class, I had not experienced a focused practice for helping someone to heal as this. I could feel the positive energy as soon as I entered the room. About 20 people who know Gunilla from different aspects of her life gathered in a circle. We were there for her, to help her heal with the single-pointed concentration of her well-being on all of our minds.
And we were there to heal ourselves, too.
Brandon, who led our meditation, reminded us that we should be in a healthy place to help Gunilla heal. By building our own positive internal energies, we can pass that on to her even when we aren’t in the same room. Especially at 11:11 (a.m. or p.m.), when Gunilla has asked her friends and family to take those moments of the day to say a little prayer, meditate, do a healing dance, or whatever other positive steps we can take to help her win the fight. I’ve been amazed how many times I’ve caught 11:11 on the clock and not even expected it.
Even if it’s for a second, let’s make the healing happen at 11:11.
The meditation was a powerful session for the participants in the room. There were tears shed. Everyone sang their oms (also known as mantras) out loud for Gunilla. Kind words for her recovery were shared. There is certainly no doubt Gunilla is well-loved.
It’s important in her healing that she knows that.
As soon as the meditating began, I experienced a flood of emotion. I sat with my eyes closed, legs crossed, and palms open to the sky. Hot tears felt like lava running down my face. I saw a glowing Gunilla in new motherhood, as she held her baby boys for the first time. I experienced my own grief, as well as hers, and could almost feel my old dog Elwood come sit down beside me. In true meditation form, compassion, love, patience, generosity and forgiveness all came to me in that moment.
Now that’s my kind of healing.
At the end of the meditation, Gunilla came to the middle of the room and we all gathered, showering her with the love she needs. We piled around her as she lay on her back, sending our healing vibes through touch and in our own ways. Prayer and healing can come in different forms, and I know now that meditation is how I best facilitate it. I may have never known that until this moment in life. And for that, I thank Gunilla.
April E. Clark loves her newspaper family. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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