Friday, July 31, 2009

I YAM WHAT I YAM

Popeye


This is going to be fun.

OK, full disclosure: For years I have always hated my dentures which I experience as both uncomfortable and as highly constraining. The joys of taste and the simple pleasure of feeling the sensualities of my tongue roll across my palette are simply not available in a mouth full of plastic. And, besides, the damn contraptions no longer fit well and they've started to hurt. Indeed, I rarely use them at home – they just sit in their container waiting for me to grab them for my entry into the public world of presenting myself. I've been thinking about no longer using them for quite some time.

Two nights ago we performed a Santo Daime healing ritual called Os Chamados – The Calls – which are the healing hymns of Mestre Conselheiro Luiz Mendes. One part of the ritual is that as people line up for their first drink of Daime each receives a randomly-drawn card that indicates some virtue such as "truth" or "justice" or "harmony" – a good concept to contemplation during the ritual.

For example, this one says entendemento -- understanding.

Understanding

In the spirit of what I had already been thinking about and of getting what I had asked for, the card that was "randomly drawn" for me said – of course! – COMFORT. Well, it didn't take much contemplation to realize that it was only vanity that stood between me and my healing. OK. I got it! One smiles with one's heart and not one's teeth. I decided then and there that my denture days had ended. So be it!

Yesterday was my first toothless venture into the world. I came into town to meet with Dande Tavares who is the World Wildlife Fund representative on Amazon forest issues. My mission was to ask him to be my local "teacher", to introduce me to people and projects of sustainable production and forest preservation. He has generously agreed, which is tremendously important for a newcomer and foreigner such as myself.

Then I prevailed upon him to be my photographer, documenting my toothless reentry into the world.

Popeye Lou
Photo by Dande Tavares

Dande thought the whole thing was pretty funny.

Dande Tavares

You know, as I have mentioned in previously posts, Saturnino likes to deliver a lecture at the conclusion of our healing rituals that says it is a misconception to think that healing involves suffering. Instead, he thanks people for sharing its joys.

It works that way for me. I have often thought, "Well, here I am at 71 years and I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up." Now I know. I want to be younger. I don't think that's going to happen in my body – surely not in my teeth – but it sure can happen in my heart and that's what I really want. With faith that one gets what one asks for, I know I will receive it.

PS: Around here they are going to start calling me Popeye Lou which is a word play with Papai Lu (Papa Lou).

Yup, healing can really be fun.


9 comments:

Anonymous said...

wow, that's pretty brave, and important to breakdown others attitude about physical differences. thanks and glad for your comfort.
love marjorie

Kelpie said...

Ha Ha! What a lovely spirit you have Papa Lou!
Much love,
Kelpie

Anonymous said...

Hey, Papa Lou! Your new look is wonderful. When are you going to take your wig off? Just kidding. Bob Byars

Anonymous said...

Hey, Lou! Great wake up call to all of us still attached to the matter. And also a great gesture from the Daime. What a doctrine we live in! Rodrigo Tavares

Anonymous said...

Hey Lou, well done brother, what a terrific spirit! Who cares about the dentures, you look great and we love you any way you are! Thinking of you and all the wonderful family of Fortaleza, Um Grande Abraço, Mario

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Lou! Blessings from Oregon's high desert...
Doran

HERBERT said...

MY DEAR NEPHEW LOU, NOW YOUR FINALLY READY TO PLAY WITH THOSE ELECTRIC TRAINS I BOUGHT YOU FOR YOUR FIFTH BIRTHDAY!!!NOW IS THE TIME YOU REALY LOOK THE PART. I'LL ALWAYS LOVE YOU FOR ALL THE LOVE AND HUG'S YOU SENT ME ALL THESE YEARS.
YOUR UNCLE "CIGGIE"

keep up the good work.............

Grupo de Apoio à Participação Interativa said...

Oi Lou!
We loved your new look! Thanks for sharing with us the joy of this brave renovation.
Mas, e agora? Como você vai aprender a falar portugues sem os dentes?
TE AMAMOS MUITO, com saudades
Elisa e Edu

Preston Moser said...

Dear Popeye Lou,
YOU LOOK BEAUTIFUL - WONDERFUL!

Much Love,

-Preston |8-)