Dawn comes a little earlier now, and the filtered light through the window curtain at my foot nudged me awake. For a pleasant moment I savored the richness of a sleep-warmed bed. Then fresh loss returned to me; my peace of mind fell away. Fumbling through the beginning of my day the words would not come – the studdering step, step, step of my brain stuck, wouldn’t go forward. Flipping through the messages from the night and the morning, I saw one reminding me to drink lots of water and reflect. Oh yes, I realized, the toxins must be flushed lest they fester.
In that moment I was grounded back into myself. The endless looping disbelief gave way to conscious action steps. Flush the system, pick up your tools of choice and go back to work- battered, tired, preoccupied but, ultimately, present. When you slip on the banana peel you sit stunned for a moment, re-locating yourself in space. Then, assuming you are not permanently injured, you get up.
Next, you breathe. It sounds silly and obvious and somewhat ineffective, yet the difference between a shallow breath that heightens anxiety and the deep breath that calms has a significant impact on your health. And you engage your heart meridian by pressing on the 4 points, acupressure, along the outer edge of your arm at the base of your wrist. You can add up the means to lessen anxiety and focus yourself for action.
When you get up and move, remember to put your awareness on a steady exhale, strengthening the abdomen. A strong core is what stabilizes our balance, literally and figuratively, when we’re blindsided.
Comfort Food – Carrot soup and Grilled Cheese on Multigrain Bread
I seldom refer to this but when I was seriously injured in a car accident, lying alone and vulnerable on the highway just outside my smashed auto, my consciousness took flight. My hip was broken, I was partly under the car and the driver of the other vehicle had run to the opposite side of the road to be safe himself. I literally could not get up, but in my mind I saw myself running away down the road. Then a stranger appeared. He was holding my shoe. The force had blown it off my foot and onto the road somewhere. The man, a trucker, brought it back to me. This stranger hunkered down and told me help was coming, he had radioed for it. He had kind eyes through wire-rimmed glasses and a soft voice, and I focused on him for a moment. Other than that I really only recall grey outlines of a snowy, icy November day on the Pennsylvania turnpike. After reassuring me, he turned and left. Shortly after that I heard the ambulance siren.
My good Samaritan, as I think of him, could have been anyone. We didn’t ask each other questions or establish our identities, occupations, or religions. For a long time since then I have felt that my sense of the world included the unexpected kindness, the general good of humanity. And I’ve gone about my work with faith that sometimes what you need will touch you and it will help.
This is what I know today: we each must focus on and be true to our core selves, hold on to our belief in our own thoughts and keep our own counsel, not adopting a tribal identity without reflection. And we need to grasp the integrity of our bodies, locating ourselves in space, in our core strength. The bully may knock you down but you can get up again and persevere. We women have been doing exactly that for eons. There are young children to protect, another generation of young adults to nurture.
Poem “All Souls”by May Sarton
All Photos Claire Mauro