Every year, I set a two-word intention. It's helpful. I tend to stick to the spirit of those two words far better than I ever did with actual new year's resolutions.
This year, because I (cough) love a challenge, I chose these words: Here Now.
I regretted it almost instantly.
It's so dang hard to refrain from worrying about the future (my personal specialty) or ruminating on the past (ok, I am pretty good at this too).
Of all the two-word intentions I've set over the years, this one has been the hardest. The simplest, but the hardest. It's like that saying is true: humans make plans, and the Universe laughs.
I had some side effects to a medication earlier in the year, the worst of which was a six-week stretch of nausea and retching. It was so severe that I dislocated a couple of ribs.
Also, it stopped me sleeping through the night, and THAT made me crazy. Like, way more than my usual crazy.
The first lesson I learned:
Always check what side effects medications have. Ask the googles, and don't just trust your doctor. Not that I am bitter or anything.
The second lesson:
It's quite easy to be in the moment when said moment is enjoyable. It's a whole other thing when it involves sleep deprivation and retching.
So it's been six months of practice.
Practice at relaxing into whatever turns up. Practicing being gentle with myself when I feel like crap. Practising being here now, with varying degrees of success.
In the end, what really helped me turn the corner wasn't anything I did, but rather, allowing someone else to help me, so I could just be.
Karen suggested I try manual lymphatic drainage, a form of massage designed to help your lymph drain. The lymphatic system is our body's detox system: it's meant to move excess hormones, including the stress hormones adrenalin and cortisol, out of the body by mopping them up and fluidly transporting them to the organs of elimination.
Lymph relies on muscular movements.
Unlike blood, there is no heart to pump it back up to the chest for drainage. If you don't move enough, neither does your lymph.
Which means if you've been lying still because you've been ill, or your body is misaligned (like, say, dislocated ribs) or you've had a surgery, you end up with a buildup of fluid with all sorts of nasties in it. It's probably not quite as nasty as when you get a blocked drain at home, but the net result is similar.
After the first treatment, I felt deeply at peace - and I slept really well, for the first time in months.
Also, the pool of lymph in my right chest, which I'd thought was muscle tension, and which was restricting my neck and arm movement on that side, is gone.
Right now, I'm finding it much easier to be here. Much easier to just be.
Being here, now is probably a practice for a lifetime, rather than a few months or a year.
But I've made progress! Turns out you can't always do everything by yourself. Sometimes, you need to give up control and just be. Let other people help you.