|Art work by me : )|
Anyone that knows me well, knows that I am far from black and white. Not that I don't have certain beliefs or hold convictions that I remain faithful to, but for me, life is lived in the gray. It is in the "in between" where experience finds compassion, where obstinacy finds understanding and where grace abounds. It is where true joy can be found - but it is also where some of our most difficult days find their struggle.
One of the times where this gray matter becomes most difficult for me is when I am put in the position to verify my illness with Social Security or my long term disability insurance. I've written about this before. The contradiction of wanting to be well, yet having to prove how sick I am. My nature is to make the best out of things. Yet, when it comes to these situations, it feels quite the opposite. Thank goodness, these ordeals happen on a limited basis.
But there is also a sort of living in the gray that happens on a day to day basis. Balancing what I want to accomplish with what I am actually capable of accomplishing can be a trick that sneaks up on me at times. When I am very sick, these decisions are pretty cut and dry. Laying in a hospital bed does, indeed, limit my possibilities. It's not where I ever want to be, but it is a place where my focus and energies can remain on one thing - getting well.
When I was healthy, prior to getting sick two and a half years ago, possibilities seemed limitless. Often times the only thing to get in my way was my own lack of ambition. Unless hindered by some sort of an injury, setting the goal to run a marathon was a challenge that was completely doable. Balancing work, family, running, hobbies... was a task that included a conscious selection on my part. All elements holding possibility.
The past two weeks have been very gray. At one end of the spectrum I have an upcoming graduation celebration and family coming for a week. At the other end, I have a flare that seems to be continuously smoldering in the background and a heart condition that is being barely kept at bay with a medication that makes me less than "energetic". Add in two parts perfectionism, one part avoidance - and you have a recipe for suffering. My first clue... not having time to meditate.
So... this is the To-Do List on my kitchen cupboard. It's actually list number two. List number one went up about three months ago and was accomplished (mostly by my husband) this past weekend. The current list includes details that are supposed to be "accomplish-able" by the 17th of June.
Unless you are the Buddha, not many human beings ever attain complete enlightenment. Even the perfectionist in me has a very realistic idea of what I am capable of. What we can hope to attain is an awareness of who we are, where we are at or what we are doing. This morning, after a few hours of ridiculousness, I became quite aware of who I am and what I was thinking...and I just had to laugh. There I was, at 7am, standing out in the front yard in my pajamas, trying to hold a hose so that I could water my flowers (number one on the sub-set list made this morning). I hadn't taken my medicine. Heck, I hadn't even taken my first sip of coffee. About 15 minutes in the sun and I felt like I was going to pass out. Frustrated at my body, I just kept pushing forward. Water the flowers by the driveway...don't forget the ones in the front of the house...oh, bring a pail out to the mailbox where the new sunflowers are coming up...bring the hose to the back deck...make sure to spray the pollen off the furniture...sweep the pine needles... STOP!!!!!!!!! This was the complete insanity that began to flood my brain. All the while - feeling more and more sick. Barely able to walk in a straight line, I dropped the hose and walked back into the house.
This is me, in my chair. These are my pajama bottoms, of which I am still sporting at this very moment (12:42pm). I have no intention of taking them off today, nor do I plan to go pick up that hose or even look at a list. Today I am going to be well - both physically and mentally. My ego would like to convince me of the importance of a perfect home, a completely organized graduation and the title of "Super Women".
If I listen closely, my heart tells me that what matters most is taking care of this moment. And my taking care of this moment is the greatest gift I can give my family.