I was having a beautiful dream, I do know that, but I don’t remember what it was. I come to, open my eyes and realise that I am alive, and wonderfully too, that I can feel my fingers and toes. I feel such incredible joy in this moment, even in the midst of being sick (not ideal after neck surgery) violently shaking and with pain dawning. A friend described my operation and recovery afterwards to me like a marathon, undertaken without any training, as I had spent the 6 months previous to this mostly flat on my back due to a combination of debilitating pain and medication. Normally a very active and busy person - from exercise classes to throwing myself massively in to work, volunteering and home life (I have two young children) – this enforced stop was an extreme shock to my system. I couldn’t drive, and living in a rural area this meant that my sphere completely shrank overnight and I relied entirely on other people to visit and to help. I am someone who is used to being highly capable, in control. I love travelling, seeing new places and people, and I have never really liked my house (it isn’t my house!), simultaneously beating myself up for this as I knew I should be grateful that I even had a home.
Now, I truly feel grateful for where I live: for all the benefits of my life; my family; my friends and the things that are really important – which are not ‘things’. I can see how ‘rich’ I am and just how much I have (not what I don’t have). I also feel blessed to have had this extremely challenging experience, to show me just what I am capable of; to challenge me to be a better person; to learn to properly look after myself and show myself compassion (it isn’t selfish but imperative) and to serve others. It wasn’t easy, in fact for the first month I refused to stop, kept going and hoped it would go away. For the next, I resisted and raged at the unfairness, “the world needs me to function”, “I have too much to do”. Then by chance another friend suggested a 'Mindfulness for Pain Relief' meditation by Jon Kabat Zinn. I confess I was desperate and would have tried anything to get back to “normal”. But from the first moment I heard his voice, Jon spoke to me and a new way opened up before me, starting in meditation and into really getting to know and understand myself as well as to find a way of relating to, and being with, the pain I was experiencing (both physical and mental).
There are so many parallels to life in general and how to live it, to accept (in an active way not resignation) the things in life we cannot change and that there is so much power in that. The name for this blog comes from the last words Jon Kabat Zinn says on that pain meditation: “I wish you well”. I hope that you find something in this blog that speaks to you. I will be sharing my story and all that I am learning, in the hopes that you may find it useful and serve a wider purpose.
I wish you well.
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