Thursday, November 4, 2010

Living in the moment

The time is always now.

This morning I was looking forward to a sleep in, to wake only when I was ready. The boyfriend was up and gone early and I heard nothing of it, but it can't have been much later when my sleep in plan was ruined by an alarm. My alarm, I hadn't switched it off and it woke me at 7:55am. I considered going back to sleep, but was disturbed by a fly buzzing, trapped behind the curtains. I rest a little and got up, putting off the sleep-in I've been dreaming about until tomorrow.

It's been a big few weeks for me, after atleast two months doing little other than hanging out on the couch and milestones that involved being able to drive a car to a Dr's appointment and hanging washing out, I was looking at much bigger things coming my way. The first was moving back to Melbourne, leaving the safety and support of my parents and beginning to fend for myself, with some help from the boyfriend. Driving was no longer just around the corner as it was in the country, it was often trips of 15km or more. I became responsible for feeding myself again, thinking about what I needed in advance, purchasing ingredients and preparing. The list of such mundane day to day tasks goes on, you know what I'm talking about. I had a week to get used to looking after myself in Melbourne until I would be tested again, boarding a plane to Queensland and having a week long holiday there. I was a little nervous about such relatively significant things happening and the demand I'd be placing on my mind, body and emotions.

I had troubles stopping the worries about all of the action that was looming in my very near future, though it was all exciting, I worried how my body would cope after being sidelined for some time now. One of the most helpful things I have been able to do to reassure myself in such times of worry is to focus on the present moment. I ask myself, is everything ok right now? Often when I check, I smile, because everything is perfectly fine in the present moment and I am ok. Spending some time focussing on how 'ok' I am right here and now really helps me to feel a sense of calm and peace. Sarah Wilson wrote an excellent piece on this very topic recently called Is everything going to be ok?  it came at a time where I was getting caught up in all the less positive things and had lost contact with that part of me that is eternally peaceful and ok.

So I got on that plane to Queensland and among other things I went out on a catamaran on the Whitsundays, I had my haircut, went shopping, swam in the lagoon, ate out, enjoyed coffees and read the paper, I bought books at a second hand bookshop, wrote postcards and relaxed. It was fun, I was ok. I must confess that sometimes it was tough, I got tired and grumpy. I don't want to have to admit it, but sometimes I was quite the test for my boyfriend, snapping over little things.

The gorgeous Airlie Beach

Not only does an overactive thyroid make you tired, it can make moods and emotions extra hard to deal with. My usual patience is more often absent than present. I think more than anything though I was upset with myself, I struggled to accept that I was not up to doing everything that I would like to and that I was feeling tired. At first it was unconscious, I was just grumpy and easily annoyed, but after some bath time and reflection I realised what was going on. I have heard it simpy explained in buddhist podcasts I listen to by Tara Brach when she speaks about this kind of thing, referring to it as the two arrows. She says that the first arrow is just what is, as it is eg. I can't go for a walk without becoming exhausted. The second arrow is when we place a judgment on it. eg. I am useless because I can't just go for a walk like a normal person, what a drag I am on this holiday, I should be able to just do it. Alot of this kind of stuff came up for me, after 2+ months of having very little pressure to do anything, of just being able to do exactly as I felt and with very little company, I found myself struggling with the concept that I was now spending almost all of my time with another and that my limitations often became his.

In the months prior to this I had been able to mostly manage the intensity of my moods and emotions by spending my days alone and evenings with my parents; I would rest alot and if I was still really struggling with my mood in the evening I would escape to bed and rest, the rest would make things better. It's hard to feel relaxed when you're constantly exhausted and your body is hyper and flooding with adrenaline. So all I could do to help was stay very still and take time out for myself to allow my body to calm down a little, my mood would follow. Salt baths also really helped, I found the water soothing and calming, the salts help the muscles to relax. I didn't get much time to do all of this on the holiday hence I was extra challenged by my condition. On the upside my health had improved significantly, so I was atleast able to get out and about. It's funny how sometimes we 'cope' better when we're quite unwell and incapacitated as compared to being just a bit unwell and slightly slowed down.

We returned from a fantastic week in Airlie Beach on Saturday and on Monday we moved house, the boyfriend and I have moved in together, another milestone. Moving is a tiring process, but totally for a good cause! Today is my first day to relax, I don't have to go anywhere or do anything, my old place is all tidy and goodbyes have been said. Our new place is in reasonable order and there's food in the fridge. I have a kettle and lots of yummy tea to choose from, I even have some decaf plunger coffee if I feel the need.

And today I can relax, knowing that yesterday I ticked an important task of the list in relation to my health, I had a radioactive iodine uptake scan on my thyroid. Results will arrive with my new Endocrinologist today. I shall update on this process and the news here shortly. For now, it's aurevoir.

If you like The Answer Is Writing you might also like Inner Beam.

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