“You are the consciousness and awareness beyond your mind and your thoughts. By stilling the mind you realize this fact. Then, peace of mind will be always be with you.”
“When the restless activity of your mind slows down, when your thoughts stop rushing like waves on a windy day, you will start getting glimpses of the sweet taste of inner peace.”
On January 1st, we entered a new decade! Many years ago around this time of year, I set SMART goals, or as a minimum, my hubby, Pierce, and I would reflect on things we were grateful for over the prior year. With Pierce’s serious health episode in 2017 and recovery in 2018, 2019 was a year filled with gratitude. As Pierce healed, we took each day as it came and appreciated daily progress as it appeared. Goals were unconscious, more like wishes or prayers.
New Year’s Eve of 2020 approached. I knew goals were still not appropriate. I asked Pierce to reflect on the past decade. He summed it up without a pause, “I’m glad to still be here.” I realized that even though he was the one to experience the uncertainty of his life. I, too, shared his sentiment. Any niggling desire to establish 2020 SMART goals vanished with this simple realization. I thought of acquaintances and friends who had lost a spouse in the past decade. The living spouses are all resilient. They appear to navigate their lives well without their spouses, but all admit how hard it is. Most deaths were unexpected, i.e. prematurely from whatever long term goals were set as a couple. I pause and am grateful that my spouse is still here.
Despite my decision to not make any New Year’s Resolutions, it felt like there should be some intention as we enter a new decade of uncertain times. In an email and on social media forums, I saw some recommended meditations to harness any sense of having to start the year anew with some purpose. One recommendation, from author Sharon Blackie , was “meditate and find a word to focus on in the coming year.” The guidance was that the word represent a desired state of being, rather than an activity…not a SMART goal!
This sounded perfect! I sat down to mediate, and the first word that came to mind was “to not be blechy.” I knew where that word came from. I also knew that to set a valid intention, my word for the year needed to be positive and “to not be” did not qualify. I discounted this statement as emotional residue from an exchange that had become all too frequent between Pierce and myself. No matter how often I tried to re-focus my meditation, the state of “not being blechy” would not leave my chattering mind. I decided to sit with it a little longer…
As a result of being on the heart/lung machine and intubated for almost 3 weeks, my hubby struggles with some minor memory issues. According to the doctors, this is normal and should go away, but it hasn’t in the time frame predicted. This causes Pierce some distress. Some days, I go with the flow and wait for him to get whatever word is MIA, other days my impatience comes through by tone in my intended neutral words. This typically happens when I’m multitasking or trying to get something done that I think has an urgency to it. For example, I’ll get laser focused on writing my blog or preparing for a yoga class. Pierce enters the room and asks me a question that I had already answered within the last 24 Hours. I bark back the response, frustrated at having my train of thought interrupted. Pierce then asks, “Why are you being so blechy?” I immediately snap back, “Im not being blechy! Im trying to get things done.” And the final blow, “Besides, we discussed this earlier today.”
“Ouch! Nothing like rubbing cognition deficiencies in your spouse’s face! Wow”, I thought, “even in retirement and with all we have learned over the past two years, I’m addicted to ‘doing.’ I really do behave in a blechy manner. Hmmm, what’s the opposite of blechy, well maybe not the opposite, but what state of being would limit my blechy outbursts?” I thought of other blechy moments in my life, I’m embarrassed to confess there are many. Most often it happens when I’m stressed, overcommitted or uncertain about my own abilities. What gets me out of this state? Duh, I start and end almost every yoga class helping students experience some version of this word – “stillness!”
I knew stillness was my word. I contemplated further about what this means. Pierce and I are both retired. If I can’t find time to cultivate stillness now, when will I? Is any self-imposed deadline worth a potential blechy exchange with my hubby? “NO!!!” For 2020, I resolve to pause, even when I’m laser focused on one of my projects, be still and listen to what my hubby has to say. Responding from my place of stillness will minimize my blechy retorts. This is a tough one for a hot-headed, French/Irish, Gemini gal. I’ll let you know how it goes.
Wish you all a bright, happy and healthy 2020!