Here’s your reminder for today,
Put your phone down.
Try something new.
Make a travel plan.
Dream out loud.
Taste your food.
Listen. I mean really listen.
Say yes and see what happens.
Say no, and honour your boundaries.
Reminisce with a friend.
Laugh every chance you get.
Ask someone how they are.
Help where you can.
Tell someone how amazing they are.
Love yourself fiercely.
Appreciate the little things.
Recharge your senses.
Feel it all.
This morning I was in a coffee shop after a stress echo test, and did a quick mindfulness exercise to calm my scattered thoughts. I had been in my head all night, and all morning. And I just knew it was time to get out. I took a deep breath.
When I was growing up, my mom would frequently say “There is a world around you.”
It was delivered in a patient tone, with well-enunciated words. Sometimes she would squat in front of me, her eyes looking deep into mine. I would be forced to pause whatever boisterous game I was playing, and look around; take it in. To this day it’s something I say to myself when I feel too fixated on my own issues, and something I say to my kids as well to help them centre.
In the coffee shop, as I calmed my ‘what if’s, I whispered it to myself again. Like I had so many times before, I looked around. This time my eyes lingered on a woman 2 seats down. She started to cry.
So many people were around us, but everyone seemed very busy all of a sudden, looking at their phones, or their feet- anywhere else. I left my seat and gently put my hand on her shoulder. I asked softly, “Are you ok?”
She bit her lip and fiddled with her breakfast sandwich wrapper, and tears just kept dropping from her eyes. “If you need to talk, I can listen,” I said.
She did. Hesitantly at first, but gradually the waver left her voice as she told me about how it took 4 years of waiting and begging doctors to take her seriously; how she was treated like it was all in her head; how the pain meds they prescribed somehow earned her the treatment of an addict; how now she had just found out that her condition has progressed so far that she doesn’t know how long she can keep her mobility; how her disability subsidy doesn’t cover her rent and she just found out she has to move.
I sat there listening to this all too familiar story. Not taking it on, but listening. It took no energy. I kept my hand on her shoulder. I gave her some web resources. I told her to keep advocating; to keep fighting. I told her that she was right. That she wasn’t alone. That she was so very strong to get this far.
She stopped crying. She took some deep breaths. Her shoulders dropped. She ate her sandwich and I stayed by her side. Slowly, I noticed some lightness and hope come back to her eyes. “Thank you so much,” she said. “I think I can keep going now.”
There is a world around us, and it is brimming over; and life’s lightening connects us when we least expect it.
“I think I can keep going now, too.” I thought, my heart full.
There is a world around us.