March 24, 2019
The Process of Meeting Striving and Driving
Right now, I am sitting at our fold up coffee table that serves multiple purposes. In our glorious and greatly appreciated 825 square feet of living space that we call home, this fold-up table has a view of the ocean and it humbly serves many purposes. We prep meals on it, share meals around it, layout projects that we are working on upon it, organize our tax papers on it, layout home-baked goods to be re-packaged and delivered to friends and neighbors door steps, and simply use it as a desk as I am now. It’s the best investment of $39.95 USD we have made in a long time.
We made this investment, because I had begun to have trouble sitting and working at our kitchen counter that had previously served all the aforementioned purposes. The diseases I have been fighting turned up their obnoxious presence in this body about three years ago and as such, the struggle to walk, ride my bike with my husband Robert, practice yoga, and engage in other activities that fuel my soul has become more challenged; even just sitting at a bar stool at our kitchen counter had become well, just too painful, too difficult. But now, after some intense lengthy treatments, I am better. We even folded up this table for an entire day while I worked around the kitchen counter just to see if I could. It was pain free working… and all the while I noticed this voice in my head saying repeatedly, be careful, don’t overdue, you don’t want to go backwards again.
I wondered whether there was wisdom in this voice or just fear… And here I am back at the table today, working on taxes, and now, stalling to join Robert on the Sunday afternoon bike ride that has become a joyful tradition for us – at least when I am able. Why am I stalling?
I notice I am feeling afraid. And I am breathing in and out, observing the sensation of the breath in the body as I notice where fear has set up its own fold-up card table to take residence within.
To get these legs working again, I have been in physical therapy, acupuncture, massage therapy, avoiding gluten and dairy, and receiving other types of treatments for the other diseases that are making using the legs challenging. I feel better than I have for a long time and still I feel afraid.
I see the fear, I greet the fear, and I notice I am debating with the fear. It won’t be my first time on the bike; we have been working with a stationary bike to rebuild muscle memory, and have even taken the bike out on flat surfaces while Robert supervises my riding ability. I have been on this bike before and simply stopped when it feels like it has become too much. Robert was there to care for me then and he is now. And guess what? Fear is still present.
I see you fear. I name you fear, and I notice I am in emotional pain because fear is here to set up a workplace within me on a beautiful day where I would love to be outside enjoying a bike ride with Robert. Ah… this is now emotional suffering. I want what “is” to be something other than what it “is”.
I want to have the overall confidence that this body can push through whatever physical challenge it might experience to finish the bike ride that this mind is dead set on doing. However, this body has repeatedly told this mind that striving and driving are no longer options. This body has sent clear messages to this mind that pushing through physical or emotional pain no longer is a strategy that works … at all! For this past year of living, it’s as if this body goes on strike in a very dramatic way anytime the mind says, I need more out of you than what you are producing now. If a body could flip the mind a finger, and turn the other way, that is exactly what I have been experiencing this past year.
And so, I began to question, what would setting aside striving and driving look like? The immediate response – it looks like failure. It looks like you’re not producing enough, doing enough, and your body will get sloppy and weak because you won’t be exercising enough. (And then I notice how this also shows up in my work life and home life – ouch!)
To summarize the story my mind is telling here, looks a little like this. If I give permission to the body to avoid striving and driving means that “I” won’t be enough. And when I ask who is I anyway, I start to giggle and the hold that fear has begins to loosen. And the breath begins to arrive more easily.
What do I need to hear right now? This… what would it look like to consider that the wisdom inherent in noticing what you are experiencing and pulling back when the body starts to signal too much is simply wisdom to respond to for it is designed to help you operate in optimal health? What would it look like to know that not even trying to do what you love is just fear that anyone in your circumstances would be experiencing if they have been experiencing what you have been experiencing for the past 3 years and prior to that.
So, today, as this blog entry closes, the mind, the body, the fear, and the deeply felt sensation of “not being enough” are about to go on a bike ride. We have set a goal for how long we intend to ride and to where we intend to ride. (Of course, we have. We love to accomplish stuff.) We also have made a commitment to listen to the body and to invite the mind to kindly respond to the body, noticing the stories of not being enough or doing enough that will arise as we bring the bike ride to a close, whenever that might be and especially if it is prior to the goal not being met. And we are noticing the joy that arises in moving forward with the fear as opposed to being paralyzed by it.
Sending you and I loving kindness,
Marilee Bresciani Ludvik, Ph.D.