When Mindfulness Feels Too Hard
:: Context - I broke my Greater Trochanter / Upper Femur in a skiing accident 12 days before I wrote this ::
Lying in bed last night I got caught in the swirl of thought and fear: I can't handle it anymore. How can I do this for months? Will I ever fully recover? Can I handle the rehab? How much longer do I have to sleep in this position? Will I ever get a good nights' sleep again? I felt trapped and hopeless.
Somehow, even while lying mostly still, I found myself writhing.
In the dark of the night, things feel more intense for me. It's the only time I really experience what I may call anxiety. Not just now that I'm forced to lie only on my back and dealing with discomfort and pain. But it's surely worse.
I've struggled with claustrophobia and fear of being trapped for as long as I can remember.
It took every ounce of my discipline to keep coming back to my breath. I kept forgetting, getting caught up in the downward spiral.
At times, I couldn't even complete one cycle of "Gentle in breath. Elongated out breath." I knew that the work for me was to keep coming back to the present moment. I actually felt the invitation, almost hovering above me. Asking me to love my body as it is. To accept and love all of it - even the agitation and anxiety. To be in this moment - even in the midst of increasing levels of discomfort - physically, emotionally, mentally. To breathe.
Can I stay with this moment?
Can I be present to everything happening inside of me? Around me?
I'm not gonna lie - it was an inner battle. This is a whole new level of practice for me and I'm not sure which part of me "won".
I wanted to escape. I just wanted it all to go away. I just wanted to fall asleep and wake up feeling better. I begged for help from God, the Archangels, my guides - anyone!
But I also know that I experienced a few micro-moments of touching into the present moment and my felt experience in those moments. And I know that's a huge accomplishment.
My natural impulse is to resist, run away, avoid discomfort, find a way out. I seek to skip to a future time in my head when it's better. Power through the bad to get to the good.
For the past decade, I've been inviting myself to lean in, feel more, experience all of life even when it doesn't feel good, surrender to what life is offering to me rather than what I think I want. And I've been teaching other women how to do this.
Here I am, being asked to reeeaaallly walk my talk.
Last night felt like advanced training and it was not fun at all. But mindfulness is a muscle that needs to be exercised. A practice. And the rewards come from the micro-moments of present moment awareness.
It would be easy to just complain and vent about last night, and I've done a little bit of that this morning, but I know that all of this - all of life- at some level - is happening FOR me. For my own journey to connect to myself and be with my experience. To be present in my life. To not need life to be a certain way to enjoy it. To accept life as it is FIRST. Anything else is arguing with reality.
AND the truth is, I'm still "in it" - feeling some resistance and fear. So today I get to love the part of me that's resisting. To love the part of me that wishes my leg wasn't broken. To love the part of me that feels a little scared for the future.
I'll move through it. I'm actually REALLY okay. I love life - I love it all. And I'm open to learning what life is teaching me today.
My, oh my, this journey can be a humbling experience.
What's your experience with being mindful and staying the present moment?