Ok I’m not coping. I have had a week off already and I’m more anxious than when I left work. I’m juggling so many balls to do with my health, finances and work that I’m in overwhelm still, everything is so hard. My Canberra doctor has provided an update to work and I will now be working only 20 hours a week until May next year, that's six months longer than he originally said. Great, haven’t budgeted for that.
But the bit that took me over the edge was him saying that this cornea graft is not likely to provide any vision.
Why would anyone do this to someone else? Why would the doctors put me through a procedure that requires significant life restrictions for 18 months if I’m not going to have any hope at the end. I can’t do this. I can’t live through all of this pain and heart ache for what? To be left blind at the end? To have lost my home, lost my job, lost my soul and independence? When the walls come crumbling down they crash really hard.
I had been crying so much the last few weeks that my cornea eye was stinging really bad so I went to a doctor who said that it was all raw inside. Oh crap! Great, so not only am I losing it mentally and physically but I’m also ruining the one thing that is most important to me in the whole world – my chance of sight!
I needed to find something to pick me up and fast.
My wonderful psychologist was there for me, we had a phone discussion about what I can do to restore my resilience tank so that I can start to handle life again. A lot of what she said stemmed back to being mindful, being present in the moment and not thinking about the past or the future. And that got me to thinking about Buddhism ... so off to Audible.com.au again and I found myself some books on Buddhism.
This is my interpretation of Buddhism and what I will attain from it so please don’t be offended if you are a Buddhism expert and feel that I haven’t defined the practice adequately. I’m sure I’ll understand it and explain it better as my journey grows.
The thing that resonated with me the most was that Buddhism recognises that life is full of turmoil, sadness and death, there was no glossing over the reality of life or saying that positive thinking and prayer will end all suffering. Positive thinking and prayer are good and important, but I needed something to acknowledge that life was hard and to guide me through the hard times.
I simply learnt that with the power of mindfulness we can end our own suffering and suffering is something that I am definitely doing. There are several characteristics that the path to Buddhism teaches you to let go of to move to enlightenment, the one that resonated with me the most was clinging on to things. Clinging on to ideals, people or objects causes stress and fear... so in my case it is clinging on to the life I once had, clinging on to the life I want to have back in 18 months, clinging on to certain people, clinging on to how I want my job to be, clinging on to how I want to look and want my home to look, clinging on to how I expect to spend each day and so many more.
So my first practice will be learning to not cling. I know that people regularly say ‘learn to let go’, but the words ‘stop clinging’ seem to resonate more with me. I picture myself literally holding on to something with a vice like grip, with my hands clawed around it and holding on for dear life. I’ve started to stop clinging, stop trying to change things and make them the way I want to, and to just let them be. So far this is quite a harbouring thought.
I have also learnt to bring mindfulness into my entire day. One doesn’t need to be in meditation to achieve mindfulness, sitting here right now typing to you I am being mindful, I am completely engaging all of my senses and awareness in what I am doing and not following where my mind wanders. It’s actually quite fun being mindful, there’s so many things that we do each day that go unnoticed. I always thought that a mindful walk meant that I’d have to walk slowly, but it doesn’t, I can engage all of my senses and notice what I’m feeling and what it feels like ie the breeze, the different surfaces under my shoe, the clothes on my skin, what I’m hearing and where it’s coming from and how it makes me feel, does it create any memories or sensations?
This morning’s green tea was a sublime experience of mindfulness. I made my pot of green tea, grabbed a mug and went and sat outside to enjoy it in the sunshine. I watched the brown tea pour from the spout into my mug and bubble – I’d never noticed it bubbles before. Then I burnt my tongue because I drank it straight away instead of making the pot and then running off to do something else while it cools, so I laughed at myself and congratulated myself for being in the moment. The biggest thing I noticed was my mug, it had all these cute little pink, blue and purple owls on it. I drink from this mug all the time but I had never bothered to look at it and enjoy it. I spent 20 minutes enjoying my tea mindfully and when I was finished I got up and felt energised and ready to start the day. Woah! This mindfulness thing is like a caffeine hit, like a drug that energises the body and clears the mind.
And most of all .... it rests my eyes...
Looking forward to experiencing more of this spiritual Buddhism journey and sharing it with you.