Arriving home from the hospital, a dear friend stayed with me for the first few days and the house was pretty busy with visitors offering all sorts of support; energy work, dog walking, yard tending, moving water. The second week was quieter, giving Suki and I time to get adjusted to a slower pace, perfect for the healing process. In between sleeping, pain meds, more napping, slow mindful walking and a bit to eat, I had lots of time on my hands. Sitting for more than bit was out of the question so forget trying to catch up on computer projects or start developing new client programs. Horizontal was the way it had to be. I knew there was a reason I bought that leather recliner a few years back...
I'm used to spending time with myself but at points the lack of constructive activity became invasive. Physically it was challenging but mentally even more so. My organic mind is pretty active and staying present can sometimes be an art form for me, especially when I'm feeling boxed in. As my mind narrows, I can get easily hooked into wrong view, especially if my reserves and resiliency are down (which they were following all this foreign medical stuff). Even with a strong mindfulness practice, waves of weakness would appear. Taking it easy and not asking myself to do more than I could comfortably do were losing muster to the slow growing echo of a frustrating and sad pity party.
It's amazing how the mind can trick and trap you, spiraling you into a different zone when you're not paying attention. In some of those second-week hours, I found myself too alone for comfort and my head spinning to places it hadn't been to in decades. With the long weekend and hot weather, I wanted to be hiking, at the beach, having BBQs, kayaking in the refreshing water, or just taking a car ride. I was totally home bound and, in my mental made-up plight, it felt like the whole world was having fun and I was just laying there. See...told you it was sad.
Whenever this madness begins, it's best to cut it short as quickly as possible. I know we all go through similar times. As my youngest son Connor says, "Just rip the band-aid off instead of slowly pulling on every skin hair." He's right. Why torture yourself if you just switching gears fast will do the trick?
Befriending oneself is one of the main ways to creating love and understanding where there would otherwise be mental drama and trauma. Asking yourself "How would I be with my best friend right now if she came to me like this?" is a perfect opening question and will give you lots of hints as to what you might need. It could be a hug, an open ear, an inspirational quote, a reassessment of strength, a high-five for achievements, or an understanding smile. We can give all of these things to ourselves. Whatever it is that you need, connect with the one inside who loves you deeply and knows you better than anyone else. Listen for the answers and don't judge. Open your heart to yourself with deep self compassion and empathy. I know that most of us can be overly self-critical so give that a rest and turn instead to self-love.
Befriending yourself is an extremely important aspect of a successful life and provides a strong foundation of resiliency. When we are our first best friend, we can buffer discriminations and discrepancies that our small mind may start to feed on. Before the pity party swirls out of control, we can stop and reframe, turning instead to something that is positive and real. Real is important since, when we feel small or vulnerable, we make up more garbage than our truth composter can digest.
Befriending yourself might also mean that you need to reach out to community, to ask for help. It's amazing how challenging that can be and I'm glad I've been learning to do it better. As a support practitioner, I think it's second nature to want to care for others first. Let's not fool ourselves into believing we don't need to be on the other end of the helping hand, though. There are just times when we can't do it all by ourselves. This isn't a sign of weakness but one of strength. From what I see, people are always ready and willing to help as best they can. We just need to remember that they are not mind readers! So ask for what you need. If people can't deliver, they'll let you know... and none of it's personal if they can't.
Another important aspect of asking for help is that we never know how our needing assistance can fill the gap of someone else being needed. Being seen as valuable and of service is important in our shared humanity. Doesn't it make you feel fantastic when someone asks you to help them? Out of all the people they know, they thought you were the perfect one. That's pretty special.
In another week or two I'll be good as new, fully energized for all the great classes and workshops I've got coming up. Perhaps I'll see you at one of them or somewhere else along the way, strengthening the inner or outer friendship. I'm also looking forward to reciprocating support back to my long list of dear friends who loved and cared for me SO much during this time (and continue to do so). I wouldn't be so far along without the kindness and healing energy they have offered, for the little space in their heart where I can rest easy. For this, and much more, I am grateful.
Mindfulness & Stress Management Coach
Eden Energy Medicine Certified Practitioner
8 limbs Holistic Health, LLC