Kindness in Daily Life

I open my eyes and look at my watch: 6:15. Not bad. And I didn’t toss & turn too much, didn’t wake up too often, anxiety didn’t take over that many times. I decide to call off my caregiver for the day. I get out of bed and when my feet touch the carpet I whisper, “thank you”, then head into the kitchen. I’ll call Helen today, she says she’ll be available and we can write together (I enjoy these get-togethers; we write down topics on scraps of paper, crumple them up and toss them into a bowl, then choose one and, without thinking, write for 5-10 minutes on that topic. Afterwards, we read what we’ve written to each other). As I grab my smoothie from the fridge, I decide to take a walk, early, before it gets too hot. The thought makes me smile.

            After my smoothie, I sit in my armchair and begin to meditate. I focus on my breath, feeling my belly go up and down, grounding my energy through my body. After a few minutes into it, I start to feel strange. My thoughts become scattered and my eyelids flutter – I can’t keep them still. I can’t seem to focus and my stomach clenches in fear. Agitation churns throughout my body. The feelings are too familiar – what I call “seizury”. Stay with the feeling, I tell myself. I bring my attention back to the breath. Agitation turns to anxiety and my thoughts speed up. Again, my stomach clenches. Back to meditation. Maybe I should have a caregiver. I feel the anxiety burn in my belly and turn to resentment and anger. Resistance. I breathe into it.

            But, I’m unable to stay with it – I’m too uncomfortable, my body and mind too restless. I sigh. Damn! I better have a caregiver after all – who knows where this is all going to go? My heart sinks. No writing with Helen. No walk, either. I get up and pace the room and remember; kindness. I say it out loud, for emphasis: “kindness”. And then I surrender, feel a softening, a tender acceptance.

            And then I call my caregiver.

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