It was four years ago TODAY that I had a personal health crisis that changed my world. Funny thing is, that I shared it with all of Facebook as I lost eyesight in my right eye and oddly, asked questions there about what to do. Dopey as it sounds, I wasn’t nervous or anxious but more confused about why I couldn’t see out of my right eye. I thought it was simply an ocular migraine and began asking the people I knew at which point they might seek medical attention. I got mixed opinions and foolishly waited until the next day before going to the hospital. Unfortunately, I had had a stroke.
I am beyond fortunate as the blood clot landed itself in my eye and only occluded the vision in my right eye. Later, they found a hole in my heart which had escaped notice from birth and has since been repaired with the help of my amazing doctors and surgeons.
That was four years ago.
Those circumstances and that incident gave me a different outlook on my life. It has made me think about what it feels like to feel vulnerable, how it feels to depend on other people, what it’s like to learn and come to terms with limitations, and to know the discomfort in facing you own mortality. On the other hand, it has reminded me of the gift of life, to treasure every moment, to pursue dreams no matter how small they might be, to have self compassion, and to ask for help. Mind you, these were not easy, but were extraordinary gifts that I would never have received without my health tragedy. My response was to begin to meditate daily. I do this in an effort to allow myself to be present not only with my “good” feelings and emotions but with the uncomfortable ones as well. Meditation has become my easy button. I give myself permission to pause today and act like a human "being" rather than acting like a human "doing" as I seemed to be before - doing something every minute of every day without a break. Always pushing. I changed my life a lot in the past four years and I feel a sense of peace after my practice and have enjoyed bringing meditation to others as well.
Meditation is not about trying to become a whole different person like a cross legged monk sitting and chanting ohm. And contrary to what so many people think it’s not about shutting off every single thought you have or shutting off all of your feelings. There are lots of different types of meditation practices that people can use and all of them have the same purpose - to allow you to sit in presence on a thought or an activity or with your breath and to do so without judgment. It allows you to be inwardly focused while still being clear and awake but calm and still. Focusing on the breath makes this easier.
Have you ever tried meditating?
If you haven’t tried meditating, would you like to?
I’d love to hear your thoughts!