I walk in the door and am greeted by a four-legged springboard that is my cousin’s husky. Not to mention the droopy basset hound who jumps heavily at my feet. I’m barely halfway through the archway and my work bag is hanging off my shoulder caught in one of their paws, and I’m trying not to drop the rest of what was in my hands onto the floor.
Welcome to my temporary home.
This is one of those sacred, everyday moments. Like washing the dishes while a toddler is pulling on your pant leg, or when you’re driving home from work and your wife calls you to pick up a prescription because your son was sent home from school with the flu. They aren’t always convenient, but each moment holds something meaningful if you’re looking for it.
Sometimes it feels like what we do doesn’t make a difference. We go to work for a job that doesn’t seem to notice or appreciate the things we slave over. We pick up toys, kiss wounds, and run an Uber service for soccer practice, just to do it all over again tomorrow. We make plans, meet for coffee, and make connections with people who eventually move away.
To keep up with it all, we detach and start going through the motions. Life starts happening to us, and we stop making a meaningful contribution.
Another word for this is called dissociation which means to divide or separate. In other words, to disconnect. We can disconnect from our thoughts, emotions, memories, and surroundings to protect ourselves from the pain of mediocrity, anxiety, depression, relationships, and trauma. It’s a survival response, but for some of us, we’ve stopped using it as one. We’ve gone from being irritable to apathetic toward things that are a part of the everyday human experience.
May it not be so with us.
May we not be so busy, and our lives so full, that we do not have room for interruption. May we not overcommit ourselves to the point of exhaustion where we can no longer give our energy to the things that matter most.
May we stop turning to our vices because we are too tired, too burnt out, and too indifferent to engage in the practices that would cultivate lasting change.
However, for some of us, we’ve gone through unimaginable pain and endured trauma after trauma, so that survival gage is broken, leaving us in a state of numbness. But the amazing thing about the brain and body is its ability to heal itself. To realign and create new pathways.
But it takes a little work from us. It may mean going to therapy and nourishing our body with food and rest. It may mean asking for help, taking our meds, or saying no. It may mean saying yes to things we normally would shy away from or risking our comfortability.
But in order to do any of these things, we need to show up for our lives. We need to risk being present, even if it means encountering our pain and wounded hearts. Because the truth is, that’s the only way we’re going to heal.
Here are some things to help keep us grounded as we navigate our pain and daily living.
1. Take a shower. Notice the warmth, the smell of body wash, and the sound of the water as it pours from the shower head.
2. Take a walk. Listen to the birds, feel the pavement underneath your sneakers, and notice the environment around you. Leave your phone and earbuds at home, and spend time being mindful of your surroundings without any added stimuli.
3. Drink something. Have a cup of coffee or tea. Pay attention to the smell, taste, and temperature of the mug as you hold it close.
4. Stretch. Notice where you hold tension and be gentle with yourself. May this be a practice that helps you become more aware and in tune with your body.
As spring gifts herself to us, may these simple practices help us reconnect to our lives and reawaken to the new life being birthed around us. May we not simply go through the motions but show up, afraid, excited and every bit ordinary. May we hold these everyday moments with new eyes, pardoning interruption and making room for inconvenience.
My bag is almost to the floor, and I’m leaning on the wall to steady my balance. Slobber is stiffening my jeans. I’m annoyed but not undone. As the night draws near, I’m sitting on the couch exhausted from working, driving, and cleaning up muddy paws. I sit on the couch with a 60-pound, shedding blanket hound stretching across me while his brother nudges his nose against my ear.
These are sacred moments. They aren’t always glamorous, but they make a life. I hope to become more aware of them. May it also be so with you.