Monday, May 31, 2010

Letting Go

I tend to be rather purposeful. I recognize a need, quickly devise a plan to address it, and move into action.

Therein lies the problem. Life appears not always to agree with my assessment of a situation nor, it would seem, my proposed intervention. Roadblocks often appear. And then I have a choice~~to doggedly push forward, or to pull back and reorient myself, accepting guidance from things as they are.

I’m currently receiving this lesson in spades. I’m recovering from my second knee surgery, which requires several weeks on crutches with my leg locked straight in a brace. Freedom of movement is severely curtailed. There is no longer a seamless connection between my wishes and my actions, as even the simplest activity becomes now a process. Dressing, bathing, getting something from the fridge, moving between rooms, climbing into and out of the car, even repositioning myself on the sofa~~none are the mindless endeavors they were two weeks ago.

This recovery will be lengthy, and there’s just no hurrying it. No matter how diligently I undertake my physical therapy, bones need a certain amount of time to knit together, and tissue heals at its speed, not mine. It’s all rather sobering. Humbling, actually. And if I’m wise, I just might learn a thing or two.

I quickly recognized that while I continue to benefit from specific periods of meditation, now more than ever, each moment is improved upon and made more manageable through a continuous meditative focus. Every movement brings a lesson, an opportunity to allow, even welcome, feedback from the world around me.

When a crutch drops to the floor, or an object is two inches beyond my reach, I need to simply be with what is~~without judgment or upset~~and choose a fitting response. The times I’ve struggled emotionally have all come when I insisted that my plan prevail, despite the fact that it didn’t seem in accordance with what was happening in real time.

I’m not always so bull~headed, though. Often, I’ve held my preferences lightly. At these times, I’ve been able to bow to the moment, abandon my plan, and be guided into my next move. It feels good to flow with things as they are. It’s actually quite freeing.

And into the midst of this steep learning curve, another gift arrived. Amid the stack of DVDs checked out of our local library was Brother Sun, Sister Moon, Franco Zeffirelli’s 1972 biopic of St. Francis of Assisi. While likely of questionable historic accuracy, I gained a needed perspective as I watched this fictionalized Francesco coming to recognize the world surrounding him as imbued by God.

Yes, I need to accept each moment as it is. If I appreciate the holiness that infuses each of those moments, though, I will also greet them gracefully and with joy. For where else would God be, after all, if not in this moment, right here, right now?

So, I seek to embrace each experience, even those my small self may not be particularly fond of, as a manifestation of the sacred. I shall also use this long recovery process to loosen a pesky inclination toward willfulness.

In the words of the real~life St. Francis, “Above all the grace and the gifts that Christ gives to his beloved is that of overcoming self.” Overcoming self. Yes, it’s good for what ails me, now and for the rest of my life. Amen.

Be well yourselves. And here's to us all seeing the divine in even the most mundane~~or annoying~~of moments!

Loanne Marie

For an essay that addresses this issue in a different way, please click here for one of my very first posts.

And for an essay detailing the quite different lessons that arrived in December with the surgery to my other knee~~amazing to me how different the two experiences were!~~click here.

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Leia Marie