I have one of those electric toothbrushes that gives you a signal after you have brushed for 2 minutes. These days, my PCA holds onto my elbow and hand while I brush. I can still steer the toothbrush, but she is there adding strength to my arm and grip. As with many things, I am persnickety about how I pilot my brush: front of the lower teeth, top of the lower teeth, back of the lower teeth, front of the opportunities, top of the upper teeth, back of the upper teeth… You get the idea. Lately, the two-minute alarm has been going off before I am finished with my routine. For the last few days, I’ve been feeling irritated that I’m not finished when the alarm goes off. “I’m doing something wrong,” I’ve been telling myself or “this dang toothbrush!”
Today, I thought “what if slowing down on the toothbrushing is an invitation to practice moving through sacred time and space?” What if slowing down in general in my life (as I must do these days) is an invitation to move into the divine?
My new kind promise is “I will spend my days in a way that enhances the well-being of myself and others.”
When it comes to well-being, people will line up around the block to tell you what your definition should be. It’s great to hear ideas about what makes for a healthy life: more exercise, consuming less fat and sugar, more wholesome companions… That’s all good advice, but when you are living with chronic illness, you have to craft your own definition of well-being.
Open space for the emotions that arise as you are hearing about other people’s journeys. You may feel angry or sad or wistful or jealous or lonely… Whatever you feel, that’s okay. Those feelings will arise and fall. No need to quash or celebrate. Just let them move on through.
Some suggestions, though, will beckon to you. Try them. See if they fit. If not, no problem. Allow yourself to experiment. How much? How often? What style? You decide. Hold possibilities loosely and tenderly. Allow them to take form.
What’s the biggest smallest step? What one small thing (action or object) would add the most richness to your life? Just one, not a whole big program. Step by patient step.
It helps me to think tiny and daily. For example, I want to sing more often. I’m not going to try singing in the choir. That would be a big step – beyond me at this point. Instead, I found a few songs online with which to sing along. I’ll try adding that to my schedule for a few days and see how it feels. I want to be kind to myself about the format and timing of this new habit.
How to tell what’s right: Does it move you closer or farther from a sacred, creative, compassionate life? [That’s my definition of well-being. Your mileage may vary.] Does it move you closer or farther from the divine? Breathe into it and you will know.