I have been clenching my jaws so tightly at night, that I not only wake up with headaches every morning, but actually lost a front tooth! It was a compromised tooth, to be sure, but with the added pressure of body and spirit, and a direct bite into a hard cracker, it broke right off. Honestly, given the state of the world, it is not that big of a deal. It is just a tooth, and fortunately, I’ll have it replaced.
After reading the news last night before bed, which is a terrible thing to do, I could not sleep. I was overcome with sorrow, anxiety, and helplessness. I had also just returned from dinner with a dear friend, who is gracefully dealing with a temporary medical challenge, which just started the day prior, and was overcome with compassion for her. I just wanted to hide under the covers and run away. But to where? It would not end the war, heal my friend more quickly, or take away my sorrow and fear. Because, in the simplest terms, “this is it.” This is my life right now.
Instead, I practiced my Embrace The Middle process, just as I teach others:
- I took a few deeper, slower breaths and became present to my myriad of conflicting thoughts and feelings, without engaging with them.
- I felt the uncomfortable accompanying sensations in my body – elevated heartrate, churning stomach, and tight muscles.
- And then, I put my hand on my heart, and gave myself a hefty dose of self-compassion. I acknowledged that “this hurts,” that “this is hard.”
- I ended by remembering the “ands” in my life – the phenomenal sunset I watched hours prior and my friend’s and my humorous, failed attempt to take a picture without showcasing our physical challenges.
There is still a horrific war, I am anxious, AND it is a glorious day outside. “This is it.” All of it. If you care to zoom-in on the picture below, you may see my missing tooth AND the painted horizon of a gorgeous sunset. Though I considered sharing a close-up of my mouth, I am not quite that far along in my “embrace the middle” journey. Let’s just say, I did not need a Halloween costume on Tuesday.
I extend my heart to every single one of you, for whatever “is” for you, in this very moment. Whether your moment is one of joy, sorrow, anxiety, calm, neutrality, or likely a combination of all, I invite you to place a hand on your heart and say “this is it…” for right now.