Mind, body and spirit . . .
During the time that I had to stop drinking was when I started noticing the importance of the balance with my mind-body-spirit. Then, the “body” part was obvious and easy. I loved to hop on my bike and ride down to the beach. Cruising the strand on a cloudy weekday morning was my absolute fave because it was sure to be crowd free. I let the feeling of the cool damp air cover my body. Slowing down, but not yet stopping, I’d look out to the ocean, “aah my ocean, there you are, I see you now.” No matter what level my spirit was resting on – as if it was on auto pilot – it would take off and suddenly be lifted to a higher brighter place. There it was, the connection to the universe that I spent so much time longing for.
Ah, but the mind. Not so easy. Think. Think. Think. Where’s the answer? How do I calm my sober mind?! I never knew what anxiety was till I quit drinking! And so many resentments! I allowed them to hang on to me like a sucker-fish hitching a free ride on the side of a whale. Thank God for a little time – a little sober time is helpful as I seek the fine balance in my life.
Alas, things are a little different for me today. No longer living at the beach. No more bike riding. Unemployment. Standing by for disability. A city that does not yet quite feel like home. Chronic pain. Fatigue. It is what it is. . .
This morning I wake up after a long painful restless un-sleep. I see the early sun peering in through my east facing windows – my tummy makes sounds like a squeaky door in a haunted house. Geeze. That can’t be good. My mind has started the morning from a place of empty darkness.
Here we go again – pain tightening its grip on me with each slow step of the body. I let out a big sigh full of extreme sadness. The sudden ringing of my cell phone interrupts my focus on my rusty joints. Not being fit mentally to put two sentences together – I have no choice but to let it go to voice mail. I can not think logically. I can not move gracefully. My spirit needs to answer the phone. My brain is full of fog, like a spider web hanging inches above a swamp.
As I stand at the top of my stairs I am still – and as if I’m watching an old home movie – I look down and see all of the things I need to do:
Time to get a move on with my day! Carefully, painfully I move my arms to hold on to the railing on either side, my hands, stiff, swollen and hurting, looking like they belong on a mannequin in a store window on Main Street. Perhaps it is too soon to try to go downstairs – however – old habits are hard to break. I am a manager who needs to grab a cup of coffee, shower, and go open the shop… One step down. Step together.
I am a single mom who needs to drop her son off at school on the way to work… Two steps down. Step together.
I am a surfer girl who needs to paddle out and play in the ocean… Three steps down. Step together.
Agony pulsating through my body in such a way that it feels I might break. I wait for my body to follow the directions of my brain. Agonizing endless stabbing pains run down my right arm ending with stabs so real that I look at my hand expecting to see blood. The pain debilitating from the stabbing. Seems so odd to me that there is no blood.
I force myself to focus on what is in front of me. Ever so carefully – one more step together.
With another slight move forward, silently my foot slips out from under me – I land on my ass and my lower back hits the stairs as I awkwardly slide and bump down to the bottom. I am alone yet I feel embarrassed, mortified, stunned, defeated.
I do not cry. In fact, I hear nothing. The morning is quite still. The sun, bright. Grace, my cat, is squinting her sleepy eyes as she starts to do her graceful stretches, like she thinks she is a yoga teacher this morning. As she walks past me she softly rubs along my pain ridden legs as she heads towards the kitchen – where her food and water bowls are.
By this time I’ve pulled myself up as I continue my incredible journey. I try my best to put the weight of my steps on the out side of my feet where the pains are not quite as horrific. Once more I forgot to put my thick socks and tennies on. (Now there’s a nice look, jammies and tennies.) Finally, I lean to the right and make my way to the cozy kitchen. This time I land my rear-end safely on the cushy bar stool that I had put there in case I need to sit while I’m in the kitchen.
I look down and I’m surprised to see Grace sitting next to her empty bowl. She is silent. Big round green eyes looking sweetly and patiently at me. With a slight tilt of her head, the chubby furry cat waits for me. She does not impatiently beg for her morning food. She doesn’t mind. Is she waiting? Does she have faith in me? A cat that does not scream a “meow!” or two at me? She is in the present moment. Slowly, carefully, I feed her as the sound of her beautiful and extremely loud purr fills the silent morning. The cool cat is fed. My first victory of the day.
Wanting, longing, to sit on my couch, I made my way to the living room. Carefully, I stretched out on the couch. A much better landing this time. Heaven. A piece of the mind and body starting to move towards their connection. . .
And what was waiting for me? The beautiful flowers that my dear childhood friend gave me the day before. The aura of the love behind this gift engulfed my defeated spirit. An overwhelming sence of acceptance covered me in an instant. I felt my spirit now moving towards the mind and body. . . Somehow, everything was just the way it was supposed to be. I was brought back to the moment. My moment. My connection of mind, body, and spirit.
Perhaps I’ll just take my very own special “sick day” today. My job today, just as it has been for the past couple years, is to regain my health. Yep, I’m calling in sick today. I give myself permission to move slow, rest on the couch and focus on the beautiful flowers with the cute black and purple vase that sit in my cozy little home. The flowers that were given to me by my dear childhood friend. They were given with the beloved intention of love and hope. And without love and hope, I have nothing.