The Sandbox challenge this week asks us the following:
Can you recall a time in your life
when you were able to live fully in the present moment?
How or why did that happen?
What would it take for it to happen again?
I can honestly say that during the births of my children, I was fully in the moment, every one of them. It was the first time in my life that I blocked everyone and everything out, including the coaches and clinical people. I knew I had a job to do and that it was MY job to do, and I slipped effortlessly into that mode.
Due to my childhood, I have always had the capability to compartmentalize with ease, but this wasn’t quite like that…this was instinctual and as old as time.
My Mother confessed afterwards that she was pretty nervous about how I would perform during labour and birth. In her eyes, I was a bit emotional as a child and she feared they would hear me for miles and that I would embarrass her in front of the hospital staff.
I surprised her and also annoyed her with my refusal or inability to even respond to her or my husband by a certain point in my labouring. I quite honestly remember feeling like I was the most powerful beast in the universe, riding those waves and breathing in and out, and feeling my sons working hard to enter the world. I felt like it was fate and I was just the machine that was tasked with making it happen for them. It was my job, and by God, I was going to do it well.
Exquisite results with the last two.
I seem to recall staying in that cocoon for at least my hospital stays with them, as well as drifting into those moments in the dark after returning home, up during the night with them. Staring out the window at the stars in the inky black sky and then looking down at them nursing and feeling like we were the only two in the world awake at that hour.
Much more recently, I experienced living in the now once again.
I had been bothered by my one eye on and off for months and had put off going to the Dr as I was busy with work and Xmas, and the things we all get busy with.
Waking up every few mornings and feeling like I had something in my eye, and rubbing it made it feel worse. But it always resolved within an hour, so kept telling myself I would book an appointment when I got a chance.
A few weeks back, I woke up on a cold Sunday and my eye was really painful and felt almost like I had glass in it. I went through the day trying to see what was in it, watching it watering and watering and swelling up by the hour. The light sensitivity was excruciating.
My good eye was aching as well, which I found out later was due to overuse and over compensation.
It had been desperately cold outside for a week straight and when I looked outside, I realized there was now quite the little blizzard going on.
So, I made the decision to wait it out until Monday morning and go to my Dr right across the street.
I awoke around 3 in the morning, and could not open my eye. My sight in my good eye was also blurry, which scared me…honestly terrified me for a few moments. Anxiety washed over me as I sat in my bed, gingerly trying to open my bad eye with my fingers. The best way to describe my vision was like someone had smeared Vaseline over my good eye and so I could see shapes but not edges to anything.
I knew I couldn’t see well enough to drive myself in a blizzard, no matter how much pain I was in, and am currently living alone, so had no one to help me.
I couldn’t call anyone for help, or a cab, or even an ambulance because I couldn’t SEE.
So, all that is simply back-story leading up to my living in the now more recently.
After my dark night of the soul, as I will forever refer to it, I saw my Dr the next morning and was taken directly to Emergency to see an Ophthalmologist.
I had a corneal abrasion and to the best of anyone’s knowledge, I have had something in my eye for months, which caused it.
It has taken me almost three weeks to heal and I am still suffering extreme photo-sensitivity.
During that healing time, while my eye was patched, I realized that moving my good eye at all, made my bad eye move, no matter how firmly the dressing was taped to my eye.
So, I quit using my good eye as well when I absolutely didn’t need it to lessen the pain caused by my bad eye involuntarily moving with it.
No reading or television. No playing on my phone or laptop. No work. No driving except to daily medical appointments, where my eye was debrided of the epithelial cells which had grown all willy nilly on my eye, trying to heal on their own in clumpy little masses.
The two weeks I spend alone in the dark was as close to living in the now as I have ever experienced since my sons’ births.
Nothing to do but think and feel.
Living squarely in the right now.
Living experience through senses other than sight.
Adapting to the darkness surrounding me.
Learning the path to the kitchen and bathrooms by touch and then by memory of how many steps.
Calming myself with the sounds of my breath in and out and the purring of the cat in my lap and on my chest.
Hearing things I had never noticed before living in this house.
Coming to prefer the darkness to the light, as light distracts us and shows us a different reality than the one we instinctually know to be true.
Finally turning the television on and listening to silly sitcoms, which really do not require watching with your eyes at all.
An eventual creeping back to the light during the healing time, with visits from the kids and assorted friends.
Lots of long hugs and worried looks from my sons, who are texters and not used to Mom not responding. Unbelievably touched by my oldest son carefully drawing a skull and cross bones in glitter pen on my eye patch during his visit, in an attempt to make me laugh.
Thankful that I am a food hoarding beast in the winter and had more than enough soup and stews and frozen meals stored in the freezer to take us ALL into spring.
Back to work this week as I can tolerate with the fluorescent lights.
Looking like Jackie O at all time with my shades on, even inside!
Content with the knowledge that I have endured and survived one more obstacle.
One more fear successfully smashed through, with the knowledge that while I would never want to repeat those two weeks again, if something should ever happen to my eyesight, I know how to adapt and survive it.