I have never been much for meditating. Sitting still is about as easy for me as a kitten resisting a wriggling piece of twine. My foot twitches, my face itches, my legs fall asleep in lotus position, and breathing feels contrived! Sigh… But many of my friends meditate, as does my husband and one of my sons, so the other night I surrendered, cross-legged in a chair and turned the timer on my iPhone to ring after 20 minutes. To my amazement, I became comfortable and mostly still. By focusing on the exhale (which naturally encouraged my inhale), I let go of many thoughts. I even felt calm afterwards; not the kind that helped me levitate, and I had no major insights, but I did feel more connected to myself, as if I had dropped anchor into earth. I felt a moment of presence.
That moment overcame my resistance to exploring stillness. Stillness goes against the modeling in my house growing up, which was more like Grand Central Station than a monastary. But I decided to try it again, because when I’m present I feel fully alive.
This morning I tuned in for only 12 minutes. No sooner was the timer pulsing than tears began to flow. What’s going on? I asked myself. More tears came, and then I saw my 5-year-old girl. What do you want? I asked her, loving her blond, curly hair. The questions flowed downstream.
I saw her furrowed brow looking at me. She was trying to figure out how to take care of me. Wait a minute! I told her, this is backwards! I’m supposed to be taking care of you! She didn’t talk to me, but I saw her confusion. She had grown up taking care of my mother, and now that I’m the mother to myself, she thought she had to keep on caring for me. You poor girl. I comforted, wiping my eyes. I vowed to gain her trust in caring for her. I unbraided her hair and started brushing it with soft strokes.
Life is a treasure trove of lessons if we stop long enough in the cove of our soul, to anchor our body, breath in new life, and keep our hearts open.
How often do we stop to look inside and let the twitching settle?
Love that last line! I always say “trust each breath”. Enjoy this moment. Focus inwardly and outwardly. You never know when it will be your last breath. I’m an ER nurse. I remember walking in one day to work, with the sunrise coming up behind me … thinking I’m so lucky to not have had any major medical issues (24 years old at that time). My world was changing and I didn’t realize it. Couple months later diagnosed with something so rare that has minimal research compared to other areas of medical issues. Scar tissue had progressively developed for unknown reasons in my trachea. 12 procedures followed within less than 3 years. No matter what though, I pushed through. I wanted to try dying vs giving up on the moments I should savor. My patients and colleagues concerned as I huffed and puffed rushing along the busy trauma center I work in. People asked, ” why are you still working in the ER, aren’t you afraid of “catching” something and becoming really ill from a patient?” of course I am, but when we pause as human beings and look and take in our surroundings… It provides a very calming effect. The ability to connect with ourselves at a deeper level.
I’ve always been a person to take everything as a learning experience. I’ve been in healthcare since I was 20, nurse for over 5 years. Seen and experienced so much. But my experience of being on the “otherside” the patient side of things, has made me become more compassionate and empathetic in such a short amount of time then I would’ve had I not gone through what I’ve had to.
I am a little over 4 weeks out from hopefully having my last surgery ( tracheal resection & reconstruction). Flew from UT to Boston. Having almost an inch and half of my airway removed. I continue to sit here and be thankful for my inner peace (mental serenity), even with all the concerns ahead when I see medical expenses start to trickle in that are beyond my control… I try to stay focused on the now & my long term goals. Unfortunately my airway has gotten into the way at times of my goals. but I sure have grown as a human being no matter what, through this journey of life. That is priceless. My goal to go back to get my nurse practitioners degree or MHA/MBA is underway… Hopefully next fall if my medical expenses don’t weigh me down for a few years, I can start that next chapter in my life w/o the weight of worrying about “taking a breath” ( fingers crossed). 🙂 I want to continue to share my first hand experiences to the rest of the community to heal and raise awareness.
You have a very angelic presence about you. An inner peace as you will. I admire that.
Wow, I wasn’t planning on writing a novel, but there you go:)
Dear Casey, Your story has really touched me. Thank you for sharing your courage and your passion for living life. I am still wiping some tears from reading all you went through and how you have found peace and richness through the challenges. This is the paradox of life, I think, that we grow most in the tough times. Thanks for sharing.
Today where I live we had heavy storms. I love storms. I love the rain. As I sat inside watching the storms through my window, it dawned on me to go outside and play in it. I decided to take my two dog companions with me for a nice walk in the storm. It was great and it felt liberating. It was cold and wet, but I loved it. I embraced it. I lived in the moment. And I reminded myself how much fun it used to be to play in the rain as a child. It was a great experience, and I can’t wait to do it again.
Did you ever take a “duck walk?” You take off your shoes, don a bathing suit and go splashing in the mud puddles. I remember as a child even lying down and messing about in the puddles, just like a duck would have done, only I didn’t have feathers!