It is not exaggeration that for almost 60 years I have been a woman who lived outside of herself, meaning whatever I could not “fix” I suppressed, as if a reckoning would never come but, of course, it did. Fiscally, physically, and spiritually bankrupt, life as I had known it ended, which really was a good thing.
It did mean I had to “go wild into my life” but as freeing as that is, it is not without its pitfalls. The discovery of my story revealed a raw power but knowing my story is only freeing if I am not attached to its outcome. If I am, I am doomed to repeat my own history. I am not without my moments of reliving past behavior but they are fewer.
Two weeks ago, I began accessing what Deepak Chopra calls the “gap between our thoughts” through meditation. Chopra says that in meditation, we access our baseline state of consciousness, in essence where we began. For years, I have touted meditation while my actual practice of it was not an actuality. When the Chopra Center offered a free, 21 day meditation challenge, I was not without my skepticism yet I knew I was ready to begin meditation.
No doubt that makes a difference but I am amazed at what meditation has provided me over these past two weeks. They have not been easy weeks for my lupus has been quite active but meditation has provided me another way to be with lupus. In accessing the gap between my thoughts, I am in the stillness, where my physical body connects with my consciousness.
“In the gap” is a tempting place to stay but the pull of physical existence is stronger. For me, meditation is not a ‘60s “trip” nor am I in some sort of trance. I am, however, in a place where my physical presence is lighter. Upon my return–and this happens every time–there is a physiological change in me, a release of tension that pervades my life more and more. Whatever physical discomfort I have been feeling, it is less.
Here’s what I think is happening: my pain is less because more and more I accept it as a part of my physical presence. I do not know that I have ever accepted lupus or any of the other names my dis-ease has accumulated. While it is taking me some time to realize fully that acceptance, the coincidence of reading Cheryl Strayed’s book as I began meditating with the Chopra Center is not lost on me. Both are tools for releasing the past and accepting what is by choosing to be present in each moment. When I am, there is a physiological change in me.
After 35 years of chronic illness, I am surprised but I also know that when I went knocking on the doors of the ancient traditions this time, I surrendered. That is an admission I never thought I would make much less post on the Internet but in accepting all of my story, lupus included, I surrendered to all I have been and all I have done, freeing me from the responses I have always made.
When I am present, the physiology of my body responds differently. I am not pulling from the past or tugging from the future for a response. My moment is not attached to any past baggage or any future “what ifs.” Situations are not free but my response to any of them, including lupus, is.
Being present is to reside in the unknown, “where the wild things are,” where creativity connects with consciousness. It takes practice, requires patience, its paths are many yet the moment is all we ever have, and it is enough.