Isabella and Thomas - Not quite the beginning


On Gratitude

In England. Inland. No sight of the sea so it had to be imagined. But, there, in this room Isabella would tell stories. She liked the room. Plain but not a cell. Comfortable but not adorned. Many shades of summer cream brought to indoors with the garden of greenery spilling in from the outdoors with off-cuts in potted plants. She was waiting. Waiting on her Thomas. Her dearest Thomas. Thomas who had so much to learn, at his asking, in the journey of their love. Today was no beginning as the beginning was lost to both. Always and forever they shared a natural affection which grew deeper with each day and the lessons of life. And today she dressed for the occasion as every meeting was the first time to her. Her choice was not drawn from the pool of other’s expectation but styled from her own hand. Not perfect and not so loose that the fit did not appear hand stitched or decorated. Hair up behind her ears she would with frequency push stands of the brown threads of her locks away, though they were never really there. Today she would do the talking. Prepared, she had briskly thought through each step with devoted care. And she waited. Each moment he was late she would smile and smile more with each passing minute. Giving up any nurtured wrath to those who do not know love at all. He would arrive in his own moment and that was her time. Thomas blustered in with full apologies sincerely meant. She needed no apology and they both understood that, but, for Thomas every meeting was the first and out of respect for the freshness of the moment he would respect her right to hear a “Sorry”. She needed no sorry for she needed Thomas. Isabella laughed as he refused to settle, bumping into the armless chair with full weight as it rocked to accept him. “Welcome, my Thomas.”, while she added, “and now it is time to settle. Are you ready to settle here and begin our lesson?” “I surely am” “I surely am” he repeated. “Very good” announced Isabella as she encouraged him more. “What I want you do to do right now is to breath in. In through your nose and out through your mouth” Three times she asked him and with each breath she could watch him relax. “Muchness perfect!” she exclaimed and he laughed but now in a settled manner. “Perhaps, now, you are ready to settle more?” she questioned him and he replied, “Yes, ma’am, I surely am.” And it was her time to laugh. “To allow you to be open to what I will teach you today I would like you to breathe again but in a new way as it was the first time and in the breath you will permit yourself to fully relax. Relaxed from the top of your head to the tip of your toes. Will you do that, Thomas?” Thomas knew all that he expected of himself and he expected much. A man. A strong man who made more than an effort to live up to his own expectations of himself. Simple but not simple. Deep but still shallow. Restless and mostly restless. But, here with Isabella was his time to give up on that. For Thomas was no facade. He liked who he was and what he could provide to others in his strengths. In Isabella he found a place in his head where he could enjoy affection and sympathy for himself and this was new and still yet undiscovered.“Will do do that Thomas” she asked again with a happy smile in her voice. “I surely will, my Isabella”. And he did. Just as she had promised, with this breath, he found a new sense of himself. It was hard to explain and needed no explanation. With the air rising as he breathed in he would feel its fresh perfume for the first time that day and became more aware as it journeyed down to his lungs which were awaiting this new life with anticipation. In his lungs the air would linger and he would relax more. It was here that he would remember to push his diaphragm down just as she had taught him. In the drop he relaxed to a new place and now closed his eyes just as she said he should. Isabella had a rhythm in the song of her voice which called him to forget other distractions. She said, “And as your eyes close you can allow yourself to drop deeper into a relaxed state and you’ll begin to feel enjoyment there and you can allow yourself to drop deeper still with each and every breath. That's good, you’re doing well, Thomas. Deeper and deeper down. And when you are ready you can let go of any thoughts in your head that you brought with you today. You can let them go as if they were carnival balloons, now no longer needed, floating higher and higher and as you watch them drift away you can feel yourself listening only to the sound of the music of my voice. Letting go, drifting down, deeper and deeper. You’re doing really well, Thomas.” She watched him and saw that he was the most relaxed he had been since their meeting today and she knew that he deserved that. Much was expected of him by others, No one, she thought, is ever allowed to be who they truly are but here, he could find that person, for himself, for her. It was her gift to him of all the great gifts they discovered in each others company. “What I want you to do right now, my Thomas, is to reach out with your right arm, The hand you use for your wood-cutting with the hand-axe. That’s good, Thomas.” She went on, “Stretch your arm all the way out from the shoulder with the palm of the lifted hand facing me, still with your eyes closed. That’s good,” she said as his arm reached out to be nearer to her. Isabella spoke slowly, “And as you keep that arm stretched out and the palm of your hand facing me you’ll notice that you can keep that arm stiff and rigid, stiff and rigid like an iron rod and the more you feel it heavy the stiffer and more rigid it will become. Stiff and rigid like an iron bar. That’s good, Thomas, you’re doing really well.” Thomas, now fully relaxed, was aware only of her lilting voice. Any noises or distractions nearby served only to relax him more. This was a special time from him and his gift to Isabella was to be on this journey knowing that he could discover more about himself and his Isabella as he paid attention to her voice, and her deepest love for him. “In a moment, not now, but in a moment I am going to bring the palm of my hand to rest of yours Thomas,” she said. “And as the palm of my hand touches your palm you will feel yourself relax deeper and deeper but your arm will stay stiff and rigid as an iron bar and all you will feel my palm resting and touching your outstretched hand.” And as she finished Isabella had already brought her arm up to rest just as she had said on his open palm. She noticed; and it was unexpected, that he sighed with relief as each finger touched his matching finger. As the heel of her palm came to rest she watched him connect with her in a new and special way. “You’ll already be feeling a new tingling in your hand,” she said, responding to his reddening cheeks, “and you will continue to enjoy this closeness as you relax deeper and deeper down.” Her voice now had a new authority as she knew that this was part of what he desired, “In a moment, Thomas, I am going to count down from five to one and with each number I count down you will feel a sensation on each finger of your open palm. Five, feel the sensation in your thumb as you search for where my thumb meets yours and as you feel the touching point I want you to think of the word ‘Gratitude’. And feel that now in your thumb, G-R-A-T-I-T-U-D-E, as she spelled it out to encourage him to relax depper still. Four, now your pointing finger, feel where it meets my pointing finger and once again think of the word Gratitude.” Isabella paused for a breath as she went on, “And now your middle finger, touching my middle finger and the word Gratitude. You’re doing well, Thomas. Moving now to awareness of your finger between your middle finger and your pinkie finger and be aware of my finger there and where it touches you there and think on the word Gratitude.” and she repeated “Gratitude, gratitude.” Isabella felt that sensation too as she instructing herself in this lesson in love. What Thomas showed on his face she mirrored in her heart as she went on, “And, now Thomas as you move your awareness to your pinkie finger I want you to pay special attention to the tip of your pinkie and where it connects with my pinkie finger. And when you feel that connection I want you to smile, smile just so I know that you’ve made that connection and only smile for me when you feel that gratitude and not before.” Isabella did not have to wait long as his smile came quickly. It was a smile like no daytime smile, no smile for the world to see, only her. A shy smile that only she understood. This was her moment to gift him the release that no worldly demand could induce and Thomas knew that. She carried on, “And, now Thomas as you move to feel the heel of my hand in your palm I want you to think back to the time of our first meeting and as you feel the warm and comfortable feeling from my palm I want you to take time to think on some detail now that you missed at that time. A detail that anyone could miss but you will now remember. It really doesn’t matter what the detail is or who the detail surrounds but when you have a new thought in your head them press your palm into my palm but only when you are ready.” As Isabella waited she said, “If you can’t remember a detail then just pretend that you can” and as Isabella stopped speaking she could feel the strength of his arm push into her palm and she knew then that he had been transported back fully to the experience of the first rush of their initial meeting some time back. He would have remembered a detail that she had forgot herself and this would be his gift to her later in revealing it. Isabella spoke to him saying, ”Thomas, in a moment, I will count to three and when I get to the number three, and only then, you will drop your arm and hand down to the side and remain sitting with your eyes fully closed until I ask you to open them. Do you understand that, Thomas?” Thomas did not respond but in not responding she knew she had his full attention. She deserved that and so did he. This was love of a deep kind forged in warm glow of gratitude, a gratitude that was on a journey to deeper depths. Isabella had learned a lesson too,

Note from Patrick Brady

When we think of gratitude we think we already know it but it is an emotion that needs to be enjoyed with another. Not that a single lonely gratitude cant be enjoyed. It has its limitations. The gratitude which relates to others is the deeper version where we test our integrity and know a new style of appreciating others and the gifts they offer to us, You will know best whether you are ready for that kind of love. And, if you are not ready you can read more from Isabella and her special talent for giving. Enjoy the story; her stories.

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