It’s easy to have faith when all is going well, isn’t it?
The sun is shining. My day moves smoothly from coffee with a friend to reading or weeding in my yard…either is as good as the other… and then the trials come (this year it is health issues). Worry and concern move into gear.
What should I be doing? What if the doctor is wrong? Why am I not getting better? What should I be doing?
Around and around.
It isn’t so much concern over the prognosis. And it isn’t just the question of what path to follow toward wholeness, I get totally involved in micromanaging medical issues which are far beyond knowledge and expertise – no matter how much I listen to advice and read. It all raises an additional question of where to place my faith.
My meditation becomes rife with mind chatter. In some cases I can’t even get to the garden variety menu planning as I sit, visibly calm, invisibly on the high wire. I perserverate on what I will say, what I will do, what I should remember, and what is the worst-case scenario.
It’s always “worst case” in the middle of the night.
That’s why I loved a recent Super Soul Sunday interview between Oprah and Jon Kabat-Zinn*. It brought me back to mindfulness of what I have right now. I don’t know why I always need the reminder that this moment is all that I ever have, but I’m grateful each time I get the nudge.
His additional message was to trust those who I have engaged to take care of my health. Then I can use my energy to stay calm and do the best for myself without worrying about their process. I needed that!
I can have faith in the process of life and living each moment of it.
*A pioneer in the field of mindfulness for stress reduction and health benefits.
“The further I wake into this life, the more I realize that God is everywhere and the extraordinary is waiting quietly beneath the skin of all that is ordinary. Light is in both the broken bottle and the diamond, and music is in both the flowing violin and the water dripping from the drainage pipe. Yes, God is under the porch as well as on top of the mountain, and joy is in both the front row and the bleachers, if we are willing to be where we are.”
― Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have
Sometimes I wake up convinced that I need a plan. Although following my nose through my day is my great bliss, I look at my growing “to get done” list and wonder if it will ever grow shorter instead of longer. That’s when I click into linear mode. I should recognize by now that my Seven* nature under stress goes to One*. I feel the need to organize and accomplish. I worry about purpose. Am I worthwhile if I don’t prioritize? Ah, the spiral downward…
In a mindset defined by results I forget that every moment of my life is what it should be: hanging clothes or stopping to eat raspberries with the basket tucked under one arm; going to the shop to get meat from the freezer for dinner or pulling a weed from beneath the rose bush on my way there; diminishing the pile of papers on my desk or lingering over the photos of my trip to Italy.
Life is an accomplishment. Being alive to all that is around me is purpose. And gratitude is recognizing each moment as a gift from God who is everywhere.
*Points in the Enneagram
There are so many lessons in life that I struggle against. I want to feel that it is someone else’s job to study…not mine. “They”should change what I cannot accept.
Do I think I can escape the lesson if I resist it? Not really. I realize by now that if I dodge what is put before me, it will appear in another way at another time. Life is good at pop quizzes.
And I have such peace when I relinquish the struggle and am still. I am learning this along the way. To live my life, be mindful, and wait.
It is a waste of my mind to let it travel down the same roads over and over, looking for an answer that is evident if I stop searching for a way out and begin learning.
The answer always comes.
“Look to yourself,” it says.