I have to constantly re-identify myself to myself, reactivate my own standards, my own convictions about what I'm doing and why.
My life took a turn about three months ago. My husband Jim got sick. He's one of the healthiest people I know, and an inner ear virus literally took him off his feet. He began to wobble and had to hold onto the walls of our house to get from one room to another. A daily walker of 3-4 miles, an imbalance in his vestibular system kept him from walking without constant focus.
Who am I?
Life throws things at us that we cannot predict and cannot control.
What we can control is who we are along the way.
– Philip Simmons, Learning to Fall
I've been a fortunate person for a very long time, and this year has thrown some curves I had not predicted and could not control. A dear, dear friend died of ovarian cancer. My young and beautiful niece, my brother's daughter, died recently as well, tumbling our family into grief and sadness. No amount of radiation or chemotherapy could stop the tumor that ravaged her once vibrant brain.
I've always been grateful, in fact it's a daily practice even now. I'm grateful Jim has found skilled professionals in the healthcare world and is finding his balance again. I love watching him on the wobble board, knowing his brain is finding its way back to balance. I'm grateful for my own health and flexibility to be there for loved ones and friends in their grief; for the ability to walk without thinking about my next step; and for the encouragement of family and friends. My list is endless.
When life was easier
When life was easier, I would sometimes look around and wonder how I would manage the things life might throw my way--if and when--life being what it is. "I teach this stuff," I would say. Will I practice it in times that are not so easy? I've found that it takes all my skill, training and intention, and a lot of discipline, to get through some days. I meditate consistently, eat well, swim, walk and exercise in whatever way I can, and try to embrace and appreciate each of the myriad emotions that arrive daily in the guest house that is me.
I'm amazed at the focus and centered intent required.
Some days are harder than others. It’s as if I'm wobbling, too. I’m on the emotional wobble board, trying to find my balance just as Jim is finding his. His vestibular system is learning and re-identifying himself to himself. And I am finding new parts of myself in this wobbling emotional landscape. My emotional vestibular system is learning to find its way back to balance.
And so I continue to practice, to look for what is good, for the many, many, many things I have to be grateful for but am not seeing because they are seemingly small--but are not. I am re-activating my standards, my practices, and reconnecting to my convictions about who I am and what I'm doing. It is a day-by-day practice,
The Guest-House This being human is a guest-house Every morning a new arrival. A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor. Welcome and entertain them all! Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows, who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture. Still, treat each guest honorably. He may be clearing you out for some new delight. The dark thought, the shame, the malice, meet them at the door laughing, and invite them in. Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond. From: Say I Am You, poems of Rumi Translated by John Moyne and Coleman Barks Maypop 1994
Header photo thanks to Kirk Roberts