If there is anything I have learned over the past 9 months, it is that there is power and pleasure in presence. No matter how unpleasant the current situation is. Let me explain…
Last December I had an accident that tore most of my hamstring muscle from my pelvis. This is a large group of muscles that extend from below the knee up the back of the thigh. When physical therapy didn’t heal the tear, I had surgery that put me in a wheelchair for 7 weeks and from which I continue to recover. As you might imagine, this was a painful experience that upset my normal activities (major understatement).
I have spent a lot of time either sitting still or lying down. And while I won’t deny my share of anger and frustration, I have found an amazing amount of power and pleasure from this experience. How? By simply paying attention and practicing presence.
Since the accident, I found I have the power to choose what to focus on and what to do. Pain drew my attention constantly. Yet when I opened further to what didn’t hurt, I felt better. This included paying attention to the world around me, not just my body. Hence, lots of garden, bird and squirrel watching.
I chose to do exactly what my doctors told me to do and not do. So I fed my body in a healthy way and got lots of rest. Most importantly, I focused on what I could do, not on what I could not. When I found myself pushing too hard, I remembered one of my teachers telling me, “The quickest way to go fast is to go slow.” Again, less suffering.
Also, I discovered that I had the power to ask others for what I needed. Initially, I needed a lot of help and felt uncomfortable asking. It got easier and paradoxically, the more help I asked for, the more powerful I felt.
As I heal, I have been able to:
- spend quality time with friends and family
- accept love and assistance
- watch my garden emerge from winter into spring and summer
- listen to, watch and get to know the various birds and squirrels in my yard
- read the books that I have wanted to read
- knit, knit, knit
- meditate more
- enjoy the sun on my face and the freshness of the air
- watch a pair of eaglets grow and leave the nest
I could go on and on with this list. Pleasure has been available every day – all I had to do was notice it. Once noticed, I could offer love and gratitude for these simple and nourishing moments. Thus, less suffering and more enjoyment!
So you may be wondering how to practice presence. It can be as simple as STOPping:
- Take a breath or two
- Observe what is happening (inside and out)
You may also want to try out the free 4-minute meditation on this website. However you choose to experiment with presence, I’d love to hear how it goes for you!