Getting My Mind Right
As I nervously contemplated the various challenges with which I would be faced in resolving my current medical issues, including that dreaded aforementioned MRI, I began to try to reason with myself and think of ways that would make the whole experience more bearable. I had to find something that would reduce my anxieties and calm me down so I could cope with it all as best as possible. For some reason, the first thing that came to mind was my friend, Susan.
Susan practices yoga, meditation, and all that zen stuff many of us remember was so popular in the 70’s and she has been doing so for a very long time. I am such a realist that I have never put much stock in any of these approaches to mental and physical well-being. But here I was in what was at one point, the most desperate of situations, and this is where my mind landed. So I would just think to myself, “Susan — relax” because I associated that feeling with her name. I felt that’s what she would tell me and help me do if she were present. Ironically, those of us who know Susan are well aware that even she, with all her faithful practice, is not always relaxed. But maybe that’s the point. It’s not an inherited trait, magic, or automatic. You have to know how to get yourself there and she does. I know she has helped many people through her yoga and meditation teachings.
I began communicating with Susan long distance from France and continued when I got home. She provided me with some great resources to embark on my exploration of meditation. Coincidentally, she pointed out that the current issue of the Oprah magazine featured an entire spread on meditation for beginners. That seemed like fate. She also recommended some excellent apps like Headspace and Insight Timer that contain literally thousands of guided meditations. I jumped right on the bandwagon and began to read and experiment even going so far a as purchasing an Oprah-Deepak Chopra collaboration of meditations titled “Getting Unstuck”. These are all things I never would have considered doing before I was pushed to the brink. What I love most about Susan is that she is not preachy about the things she believes in — a habit many “believers” have that usually just turns people off. Instead, she quietly waits in the wings until you are ready and then she is totally there for you when you realize you need to tap into her wisdom.
Eventually Susan and I were able to connect in person. She guided me through a simple meditation and shared several books with me on meditation, mindfulness, and living happy. For me, there’s nothing particularly earth-shattering in anything I’ve read or learned so far. I see it more as an affirmation of thoughts and ideas I have had but maybe not practiced as much as I should. For example, the idea that positive habits and attitudes fuel well-being is merely common sense though not necessarily easily accomplished. And I could certainly use this approach to life now more than ever.
During this period when much of my time is being spent waiting between one appointment or procedure to the next, exploring this new field of thought has been at the very least a great diversion. Even just a small effort has paid off. Whenever I need to set aside fears and concerns about my health, I put on my headphones and tune in to one or another meditation. I’m never sure if I am doing it right or wrong, but I don’t think that really matters. Any attempt at creating some peace in my mind is beneficial.
So, as you can see, just like Cool Hand Luke, I’m getting my mind right… or trying to anyway. I have yet to face that MRI, but I am hoping when I do that I can achieve some level of calm to help me get through it. On a larger scale, I am definitely finding that using my down time (from doctors, tests, etc.) to expand my knowledge, understanding, and practice of meditation and other eastern wisdoms is helping me follow a much more positive path than I otherwise might have through this difficult part of my journey in life.