On this journey from hopelessness to hopefulness, I have begun to take mini time-outs during my day. I am trying to get out of my head and be present in the moment that I have right in front of me – forgetting what has happened and not trying to anticipate what will happen. Consciously breathing – in, out, in, out, in out!
It can be a simple as sitting on my deck noticing the cool breeze, and seeing the beautiful roses blooming in the bed next to the deck, smelling the jasmine blooming nearby! It could be just taking a shower for no other reason than to feel the water cascading down your back, blocking out the noise as you put your head under the stream, noticing simple things like a droplet of water or the steam. It’s as simple as actually listening to the tune playing in your car and singing along no matter what your voice is like. It’s enjoying moments of silence without the need to fill them.
Today I had 2 totally different experiences – one more successful than the other. Driving into work I am singing along to the tune playing, volume up loud, when someone does something silly in front of me and immediately I am muttering! I catch myself mid-sentence – what am I doing? How can I become so impatient, so angry that quickly? It troubles me that the moment of calmness is lost and I struggle to find it again for the rest of the journey. This is not how I want to start my day…
I am at work early after a very restless night! I am tired and not ready for the day. I decide to head out for a walk and chose a new direction today. It’s barely light enough for me to put my sunnies on. I have my iPod and the music turned up, drowning out my singing – yes I’m singing – no-one is around to hear me! I randomly smile at a stranger I pass along the way. I stumble across this little park, an oasis I never knew existed. I stop under a tree, taking the earphones out to listen to the birds chattering away at the start of their day. Even the raucous voice of the crow does not annoy me as it usually does.
I see the circular artwork, notice one is made up of butterflies and I think about butterflies, whose sole purpose in life, it seems, is to be beautiful. I see jacaranda trees, now flowerless, but full of pods pregnant with seeds ready to burst and scatter life on the wind.
I am grateful for the artificial knee that allows me to navigate the steps. I walk beside the water, say good-morning to the ducks. I lift up my sunnies so I can see the colours unfiltered. I notice different smells, some good, some unsavoury but all natural. For a moment I am sorry I don’t have my journal with me, but only for a moment and then I am grateful not to have the distraction. There is a tree full of beautiful, white flowers but too high for me to appreciate them fully; a bush covered in little purple flowers, so delicate.
I know I will be back. Often. My soul is restored and I am ready to face the day again.
So, I will continue with my mini time-outs, my little ways of trying to truly live each moment instead of squandering them with worry. Tomorrow is uncertain and worrying about it will not make it less so. My therapist once told me that she could not give me guarantees that the things I fear won’t happen, but nor could she say that they would. She could only help me to be ready either way. As for my times of panic, the first thing to realise is that it won’t kill me and I can do things to ground myself and become calm in the midst of them. I am moving from hopeless to hopeful one inch at a time, becoming unstuck from this dark place I’ve been in.