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Coming Back to Life

Before all this, I never realised that I was going around conducting my life half asleep. I am now slowly waking up fully to life as I recover. I feel a true, tingling sense of being alive, how I could truly live awake. I’m learning to be mindful and being present with whatever is here, whether it is ‘good’ or ‘bad’... such as with the pain and discomfort. Well, not all the time, obviously! It’s a daily practice and experience but I remind myself on the days that don’t go so well that I can begin again – and I do. I am learning to let go of perfection (I’ve decided that perfection doesn’t actually exist!) and today actually in this moment... and this one... and this one... - as Jon Kabat-Zinn says it is the only moment we’ve ever actually got and can act within – I’m challenging myself to be the best version of myself I can be. Even right now writing this I’m doing the best I can, for you and for me, but it won’t be perfect. That’s good enough. I’m good enough, and so are you.

After 10 years of parenthood and the busyness of life this brings, I felt lost and alone. Who on earth am I? Despite living a comfortable life and having a loving family, I confess at times I felt desperate, almost praying to something outside of me to help me and make it stop. Life felt hard and unrelenting and I had no idea how to change things or where to start. I forced myself to keep going, keep working, even though my body was screaming at me to stop. I didn’t know what else to do, so I held on ever tighter. I didn’t know that all the time I had the power to change things. I’d heard these words before, had read them somewhere, but didn’t know what they really meant. So I learnt the hard way!

I had an enforced stop (please see my first blog post Rebirth) but the world didn’t end without me! I’m learning that what seems counterintuitive, to let go to the experience and fully accept what is happening, not in any kind of resigned way but in an active sense, and drop trying to control leads to less pain or suffering. There are just some things in life that we cannot change. What I needed was less doing and more being. As I started to practice this, over time I could feel a space and a calmness eventually starting to enter in. I started to come out of my crazy, busy head and arrive in my body and the present.

I went from having a vague intellectual idea about living more fully and in balance to having a full embodied experience. From feeling lost, I have found in me through mindfulness and meditation, a compass to guide me – that was there all the time. Whilst being ‘imprisoned’, which is how I felt to begin with, in my mind and also physically inside my house, I was forced to get to know myself and who I really am. With some shame, I realised just how unkind I had been to myself. I had spent so long looking after others thinking it was selfish to look after and love myself. I am now working on being kinder to myself and more self compassionate and forgiving.

I have discovered that my one wild and precious life * is so worth it.

* Mary Oliver

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