Last night I went to bed thoroughly low. Awoke around 3:00 obsessing about a person who had done me what felt like major harm. I lay there a while, aching, then clicked channels to consider my options. I take medication at bedtime, including melatonin, that leaves me groggy in the middle of the night, so I didn't want to call it morning with barely four hours of sleep. A bowl of cereal often helps me get back to sleep, but I felt I just couldn't eat. The obsessing continued. It wasn't going anywhere. I thought, I have to stop this. So I started counting my breath.
This is the most ordinary thing you can do in meditation. You count on the outbreath, and let it go all the way out. In, out one; in, out two, and so on. It is not a falling-asleep technique, but a way to harness an overactive mind in sitting meditation. I counted my breaths to ten, started over, and fell back to sleep.
I am doomed to be up when I wake up at 5:00 a.m., which I did, so I got up and made my way to the kitchen. Making coffee, I thought, I have to address those issues. Sixty-six years of living have taught me to understand when my depressions are about something more than corticosteroids. I was pretty sure this one (and the muscle spasm in my back) were about the calamity of lower kidney function, a real blow. With it came the need to get ready for dialysis just in case, and the onset of painful and crippling neuropathy. The Constant Reader knows I have been avoiding shopping for a walker and making an appointment with the vascular surgeon. What better way to avoid hard things than get profoundly depressed and throw out your back? I'm not saying that's the cause of anyone else's back trouble or depression. This is just my story, how things work out for me.
I went to the computer and started researching wheeled walkers with benches. Right away I got into this, reading reviews, thinking about whether I want a pink one that signals breast cancer survival (decided against it). From there I went right on to the Kidney Foundation website, and read the basics about vascular access. More data, and an intriguing question of where to put the access when one arm has lymphedema and you need the other to take blood pressure and lab draws, both constant facts of my life.
By then it was sunrise, and a poem began to write itself. That kept me busy until Tom got up at 9:00. He and the cat are pretty predictable, the kind of beings a poet should have around.
And I felt cured. A hot shower was wonderful on the back. Then gentle workout at McConnell and the Precor stretcher. My back was practically cured by the time I hobbled out. Home, I made the appointment with the vascular surgeon. Tom and I agreed to go look at walkers tomorrow, after acupuncture.
I believe sometimes we animals need to go into our caves. It can be a dark room, and no one disturb me; or depression can come in to protect us - that lid over feeling while your deep mind works it out. If I really permit my fear and despair, and don't hold on to them, they run their course.
Today was rain, rain, but I have a new slicker from Land's End (see photo). It is very optimistic, with a soft cotton orange lining. And the daffodils are coming out. They like the rain better than snow, and are taking in nourishment for next year without a thought of how they'd rather things turned out.