One WILD life
Thich Nhat Hanh's book, "No Mud, No Lotus" is about the acknowledgement and transformation of suffering. He inspires us to face our suffering and guides us to a place of true happiness.
On June 1, 2015 I was in a car accident and had a TBI..or Traumatic Brain Injury. My entire world shifted. I was in incredible pain...a dense fog...and completely exhausted. After twenty years in business, I had to close my store and lay off all of my employees. To give my brain the best chance at healing, I had to retreat...and be still...while my whole world was crumbling.
At first I resisted. I tried to push through and ignore what I was experiencing both physically and emotionally. Interesting approach for someone who had been practicing a mindful lifestyle for years. The more I practiced the "head down push through" approach, the worse things became. One night as I was emptying my garbage, the powers that be dropped down a Molotov cocktail of symptoms that literally brought me to my knees. Good thing I don't have neighbors. Unable to handle the pain I rolled onto my side and began to weep. First my mind was filled with the voice of the doomed...the ugliest of scenarios....and the tears were the greatest...then it moved into a reminder of my two daughters...and how my actions would influence them...then back to the ugliness and tears...and then a sense of calm...and the beginning of what I now know was acceptance.
I was lucky in a way as I really had no out...I was a stranger to myself...and my survival toolbox was obsolete. I was experiencing so many physical symptoms that it would have been impossible to continue on the path ALWAYS traveled. The only way through was letting go and trusting. It really was my only choice....and it scared this Leo to death.
"Do it Afraid" floated into my mind as I laid now calmly under the moonlit sky. It was a mantra in a CD a friend had given me years ago. I slowly sat up and looked around at all the of beauty that surrounded me. Okay I said to the Universe...I'll do this....I'll let it be what it is. I'll stop....I'll listen...I'll change course. I'll believe. But you...you need to have my back.
So here we are..almost two years later...still fighting the good fight. I've done my part...not without waiver...but have stayed true to the path. The Universe has not let me down. I've been surrounded with beautiful people including an incredible doctor...blessed with continued healing...and allowed to get back to what I love to do. I've found the beauty in being patient...going slow....enjoying the free fall....having compassion...and loving myself. I have been given the gift of an inner peace that surpasses the worldly goals that seemed so paramount pre accident. I have been given the grace to sit in the mud....and the good fortune to recognize the lotus.
This is obviously a very summarized version of what has been a path filled with many opportunities to look directly at my suffering....embrace it....and let it go. Although it wouldn't have been a path I would have consciously chosen, it is one that has driven home the lessons of Thich Nhat Hanh.
If this finds you in mud of your own, I encourage you to find a quiet place, be still and listen. Be with your suffering...cry with it...get mad at it....love it...and move through it. To help transition out of the mud, visualize the lotus within you and embrace the beauty of your existence...and then come along with me...and all the others...on the true journey of this one WILD and precious life!