Post-op Week 6: I went back to working full time in the clinic. Sorry I haven’t written for over a week. What with a busy schedule, demanding patients and that gnawing post-op sensation in the lower abdomen and pelvic region, I was but a pulp of human remain capable of doing very little else by the time weekend finally rolled around. Fortunately, I had the foresight to enroll myself in a meditation class starting last week as well, which helped tremendously throughout the week. Since I couldn’t return to my martial arts training just yet, I decided to turn this period of relative immobility into an opportunity to deepen my practice by learning how to be more centered and present.
We started week one on being mindful of the breath. Our homework included sitting and meditating for 5 minutes each day.
The challenge belies in finding that precious five minutes of peace and quiet around the house. First day of homework was interrupted by Plumster who bounced into the living room with the announcement that she couldn’t fall asleep. Second day, our very affectionate lick-y puppy decided to pay me a visit as well. Third day, I wised up and waited until everyone is sound asleep before my practice. The idea of mindful meditation is not to clear our mind. The idea is to gently guide our mind and rest our attention on something we do naturally: breathing. As we breathe, thoughts and feelings would come and go, and we are to practice letting go. Letting go of emotions, of judgements, of criticism. We are to learn to accept our internal distractions and to empower ourselves with mastering the art of starting over.
That sounded all fine and doable, but in practice, I had a very difficult time letting go. My mind would wander into series of commentaries of my days events, into my to-do list for the house, to-do list for patients, to-do list for the weekend, etc etc. In fact, when our group emailed to remind me to meditate that night, I replied, “oh thanks! I’ll put that down on my to-do list for the night.” Urgh! So in reality, what I actually did to rest my attention on my breathing was this: I counted. I counted in my head each and every one of my breath for five minutes: “in one, out one; in two, out two; in three, out three” and so on and so forth. It did get kind of cumbersome when the numbers got bigger: “in two hundred and ninety eight, out two hundred and ninety eight…” I emailed my teacher about my practice and asked if counting our breaths, humm… counts as meditation. She assured me that counting the breath is a technique that some people use, and her understanding of it is that you can count your breaths up to 10 and then begin again. Phew, counting was definitely a lot easier after that :)
During our walk over the weekend, I noticed the abundance of flowers that spring has brought us. This time, instead of running right past by them (or worse, avoiding them so that the flowers don’t slow my pace) with my iPod blasting into my ears like I used to do pre-operatively, I literally stopped our walk and smelled the roses. “In one, out one” I inhaled the fragrance of this glorious spring. Monkey King turned around facing me and smiled. That moment, that beautiful, peaceful moment with my husband standing there looking at me, I could surely learn to be more mindful of.