Michael Clark Duncan
Grooming Michael Clark Duncan stands out among many memories from back in the day when I was a Hollywood makeup artist. I remember the size of his head, I had never used that much makeup to cover someone’s dome before.
His big, friendly, split-tooth smile could flash at any moment and I couldn’t help but grin back. He loved watching cartoons and was a devout momma’s boy. He adored his mother. These are things I know about Michael. But looking back on his passing this month, what I don’t know is why a man of such strength and stature is gone because his heart gave out at the tender age of 54. And yes I said tender—I’m sure you got the memo–54 is the new 44 and it’s much too young to “cash it in”.
It gives me pause and prompts me to re-dedicate myself to my job. Here’s my job in a nut shell; to continually remind you that your body is capable of so much more than you may realize, and that recovery, healing and rebuilding are what you do best and they happen without your even thinking about it. Yes, that’s a precious machine you’re driving. How cool is it that blood courses through your veins at about 2.4 ounces per heartbeat, or approximately 1,900 gallons per day.
You’ll sit, run, dance, whatever–all the while, right there in the center of your chest, beat after beat, steadily cruising along with the flow of your life, is an ethereal center of love and powerful muscle as well.
Your heart is at the center of you so, if there’s stress in your life, your heart perceives that stress. And since heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. and Western world, accounting for about one out of every three deaths–we are all touched by it’s ravages. I was touched–more like smacked in the face–by it last December when Juan, my young gardener had a heart attack in my front yard. More about it here: http://www.gotoloa.com/heart-disease-juan/
MSNBC.com reports more than 2,200 Americans die of cardiovascular disease every day. That’s about one death every 39 seconds. It’s time to know more about ourselves and how we really function.
We’ve heard the strategy: EXERCISE, DON’T SMOKE, LOWER YOUR CHOLESTEROL, yadda yadda—all so ten minutes ago. If we’ve been paying attention at all, we’re on that already, and yet still, heart disease prevails. So let’s step to the side and see something more.
The Importance of Meditation
We are each responsible for the stress we perceive and we each take this to task from our own unique perspective. Example; Two separate people, stuck in traffic, late for an appointment. One may be sweating, crazed and cursing while the other is enjoying a song on the radio. Both are in the same situation but with completely different reactions in the body.
How our body reacts is our personal responsibility. To achieve the status of “enjoying the music while running late” it requires practice.
It starts with setting aside a few minutes each day to–release thoughts, listen to your breath and let go of tension in the neck and shoulders (or wherever you hold tension). These are the tools of meditation. Wise people are feeling the importance of meditation and adding its practice to their day. There are so many styles and different types of meditation and what I like my students to know is—it’s a practice and very personally your own.
There is no absolute right or wrong way to meditate. It takes focus and a little courage to be alone with yourself while you embrace the quiet and the unknown. If you’re prone to racing thoughts it can be a real challenge. But it is so worth it.
Meditation belongs on the above list as part of our strategy. Along with what we DO, it’s how we feel on a deep level that matters. Meditation helps to manage our heart rate, our disposition, and our overall state of being. It’s part of the plan to live long and well.
Rest in peace Michael, Juan, and all others that have gone too soon.
Love & health,