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Patience = kindness in action

Updated: 3 days ago

My young adult daughter recently had a medical issue that quickly escalated into an emergency surgery. The long and the short of it; she's better now and healing. Just a few days after the dust settled she could already see the good things that came out of a difficult experience; that she was home when this unfolded, having a general sense of good health and well-being and of course the kindness of the nurses and doctors who took good care of her while she was in so much pain.

Like many medical emergencies, they can be unexpected and can take you into a state of presence and focused attention as you navigate what needs to be done moment to moment. Even if I didn't have a regular practice of mindfulness meditation, I'm sure my momma brain would have kicked in to help me calmly and rationally help her navigate that crazy situation. All is well and now my brain is already making sense of the past and help my daughter find the solutions for her own care moving forward.

Today she was frustrated, annoyed at her body and the amount of time its taking to heal. Maybe it's because she's young and otherwise healthy that she doesn't have a lot of patience right now to rest and heal? Maybe it's because she's also looking for a job while working on deadline for big project she took on? In any case, today she made a disparaging comment towards her still wounded body and half jokingly cursed her body for taking so long to feel better. I get it; it comes from frustration. A bit of dark humor in our family is a past-time and can lighten the load, but, around me, negative self-talk towards one's body sends my hackles up and puts me into (at times, annoying) wellness warrior mode.

I paused and tried to think of a response to her dark yet frank sense of humor...

"Breathe...feel your feet pressing into the floor" body gently instructed me. "How can I help?" the heart interjected.

This is what came to mind:

I remembered how hard it is to have patience especially when it comes to physical pain. Pain in the body is a contraction, a state of resistance and at times, a natural and helpful message that we need care. Maybe it's a message to slow down, or to do less? Maybe it's to hurry up and do more to seek care? Perhaps to look deeper at an underlying issue that was once dismissed for a length of time? I remembered reading an old Cherokee proverb, "Listen to the whispers so you don't have to hear the screams." A reminder to listen to those subtle cues in the body that are trying to send us a message that we need care and attention.

Today the pain for my daughter was a gentle reminder for her to rest. As much as her mind wants to move forward with her goals and aspirations; her body is gently reminding her to pause and continue to rest. Patience and rest are the kind, attentive responses she can give her body right now that will help her heal so she can continue with her future goals with more strength and ease. Taking rest can often be just as challenging as making effort; especially with our western mentality of "do more, achieve more, acquire more." Practicing patience and taking rest for her today is kindness in action. I told her this and she only slightly rolled her eyes while giving me a cute little grin. I also added (because I just can't help myself) that a little gratitude is sometimes helpful. Often in yoga class, I'll finish with a little gratitude for the body and remind participants to add a silent, "thank you" to their bodies for their bodies' strength, state of health and well-being, or for their bodies' capacity to heal.

After this suggestion, she, only slightly begrudgingly, repeated to herself..."Thank you"....and then, keeping that mischievous smile, whispered..."biyatch." Laughter ensued.

p.s. laughter: often the best medicine

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