Each morning I read from a wonderful little book of daily meditations The Promise of a New Day to focus my mind on things that may be lost. This book has little tidbits of wisdom to get me out of my own head, which in these days of smartphones and multiple attention-robbing gadgets, can be a challenge. Upon reading each day’s message my mind is filled with beautiful images, and some not so beautiful images. I can see myself in these words, either on the wise-side or the not-so wise-side of the message.
This is my subtle reminder to be more mindful during the day and to nurture myself to be the best I can be today.
Seemingly random acts, choices, plans and reflections make up the pattern of our lives. This mosaic gives us a course to follow with blinding clarity if only we listen instead of pushing this spiritual enlightenment away. Each day we unknowingly prepare for these bursts of clear vision through seemingly ordinary thoughts and actions. One of the keys to harnessing our moments of direction is to hear and listen to that voice that resides inside each of us.
Ah, THAT voice.
The same voice that whispers small doses of self-esteem robbing messages or messages that make us doubt ourselves or the choices we have made. At times the voice emotionally cripples us with fear that is debilitating.
“What if I fail or look stupid?”
And many, many more ego serving, self defeating voices that stifle our flashing lights of clarity. That voice is what talks us out of doing things we want and its partner is fear. I am not sure who first coined “You should do one thing every day that scares you” but I do believe this. Sometimes that scary thing is making a decision or taking action. How many times has fear been your first reaction to a choice or action that must be undertaken? How many times have you reasoned with your scared self and tempered the fear, pushed forward and had a wonderful outcome? What if you had not been able to push through the fear? What would the outcome have been? What would you have missed? Hindsight is truly 20/20.
Everything we do is a process.
From the time we arise in the morning to our last step in getting ourselves into bed at night. Learning not only to hear but listen to our voice is a process which each of us must develop. Learning to unfold this habit can seem daunting at times. I don’t know about you but it is not easy to trust a voice that I have listened to and followed in the past which led me to a place that was scary and heartbreaking as well as a valuable lesson in the end. Is the cost of pushing through the fear too high? We each must decide for ourselves but I would like to share my lesson and hope you are able to glean tidbits of wisdom from pieces of my mosaic.
The choice I made came from deep within my soul and six years later that act changed my life profoundly. In 2009 my father was having health issues which were not being addressed. I listened to my voice and I made a decision to talk Dad into coming to Ohio from Louisiana to have a battery of tests with multiple doctors for multiple issues. Three weeks later my father was diagnosed with adrenal fatigue, small vessel ischemic disease and vascular dementia. Bombshell!
In the beginning things moved along fairly smoothly.
Dad was still driving and seemed better as he was being treated for his medical issues that had worsened the dementia. A year and a half later he was no longer driving and needed much more help. Within three years Dad needed help seven days a week and I was working minimally so I could take care of him. My feelings vacillated between overwhelming fear, heartbreak and guilt for thinking I was not doing enough. Beginning the fourth year, my husband and I were exhausted and Dad needed assisted living. After he ran away for the second time, the facility asked that we take Dad somewhere else.
We brought him home.
Someone had to be with Dad every moment of the day except when he was sleeping. The baby monitor notified us of his restlessness and impending rise from bed. Sleep was elusive and heartbreak was a physical sensation I felt in my chest. I cried frequently and still felt guilty I was not doing enough. In April of 2014 Dad had a stroke. He had two more in the hospital which left him unable to walk or feed himself. Dad’s transition to the Ohio Veterans Home came with more of that voice. This time the voice was whispering self doubt and recrimination. Should I have fought harder to bring him home? Could I have done more? Was this the right place for Dad? It wasn’t easy but gradually I was able to push through that doubting voice. I refused to allow that voice to rob me of my confidence in my decisions regarding Dad and his care.
The impact of just one choice
This one act/choice of intervening in Dad’s life in 2009 became a significant piece of my mosaic. This piece was much bigger than the fear and guilt I felt and the heartbreak I experience even to this day. The voice was guiding me to wellness, and is leading me on a search for perfect health. This decision helped me see that my health and wellness were not something to think about occasionally, I must make my health a priority. Stress alone had taken a huge toll on me physically and mentally in six years. Lack of meaningful exercise and movement made me stiff and injury prone. The food I was putting into my body in the name of convenience and exhaustion was not serving my mind, body or soul. Lack of sleep made me sluggish and brain fogged.
My blinding clarity came from watching Dad slowly deteriorate.
The foods served and consumed were full of processed ingredients with unpronounceable chemicals known to cause harm to our bodies. Watching residents who had moved into the home walking on their own turned into needing canes, walkers and wheelchairs from lack of movement. What I couldn’t or wouldn’t see before now became crystal clear.
I started a new journey by learning and practicing meditation.
I eliminated from my diet as much processed food as possible. I started researching wellness and well-being and found an unlimited amount of information and avenues to explore. Soon I was buying organic when available as well as growing some of our food again. I have milk kefir cultures (SCOBY-symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast) that turn milk into kefir with some 35-50 strains of probiotics every day. I have learned that our micro-biome is what keeps us healthy or weakens us into disease.
A friend sent me a link to a workshop being held by Annamarie Fernyak and Linda Snyder called “Walking Your Path.” I attended and learned ways to set my intentions, honor myself and how to play. When I am able I attend Mindfulness with Annamarie on Mondays and I joined a gym.
I kept searching and found Dr. Deepak Chopra and his teachings. I read many of his books and in February/March of 2015 traveled to Carlsbad, California to the Chopra Center and completed two of the three prerequisites to start teacher training. My intention is to complete my third course this year and start teacher training for Primordial Sound Meditation. I am excited about the prospect of being a Chopra Certified Instructor and sharing tools to help others find greater peace and fulfillment in their lives. All are pieces of my mosaic.
I hope you have been able to glean some useful information from the pieces of my mosaic and are able to put them to use in your life.
With even a small but sincere desire to understand your fear, something inside of you will open wide and you will see things totally different. The voice of ego will diminish with your continued ability to push forward through this fear. Start small, continue to make progress and before you know it you will be able to apply your experience and knowledge to help you add to or form your own mosaic.
An intention of gratitude
With the New Year’s arrival, instead of beating myself up for goals missed, I have set the intention that I will be grateful for all I have found and incorporated into my life that inspires me and is my path toward wellness and well-being. I will add what I can to serve my mind-body-soul journey and approach this new year as an opportunity to add what was not attainable in the past year. No self recriminations.