As my initial numbing shock wore off on my short drive over prior to the ambulance arriving, I felt the temptation to fill that void and get upset and tense with the surprise and seriousness of the matter.
Then I remembered Eckhardt Tolle’s wisdom- surrender to the moment, don’t resist it, don’t judge it- whatever is happening in the moment simply is what it is. As I relaxed in the car the beautiful spring green of the ravine I drove past was available to notice and receive peace from.
I didn’t feed the drama of constructing a scenario of doom and gloom that could easily have played out in my head. Upon arrival, again I chose not to feed any thoughts of panic. My mother went about methodically, if not painfully, getting prescriptions and other necessities ready to have on hand for what now had become routine in our life at Emergency. Typically I was allowed to assist only after firmly insisting rest was advisable while we waited for help to arrive.
My hands did start to shake as the adrenaline rush in my body increased when I heard the sirens approach, knowing it was headed for our address. That insistent high pitched sound and all its associations triggered a panic in me briefly- a triggered response that was clearly contradicted by the situation in front of my eyes. Again I recognized I had a choice not to feed that impulse but rather to relax as much as possible in what was clearly a controlled situation in that moment. The paramedics were wonderful, competent and I was grateful to let them take full control of the situation with their skill and welcome good humour.
While driving to the hospital again I realized I had a choice about how to feel. Not only was remaining relaxed good for me, it was helpful to not add my own stress or agitation to my mother's obvious discomfort.
While in Emergency, looking at the other patients waiting unhappily for their turn, I could feel my gratitude for the immediate attention while medical procedures were conducted.
From a surrendered non judgmental inner state I was able to leave calm messages for other family members, rather than communicate alarm and create greater stress that would only cause unhappiness and futile worry.
As time went by, appetites grew and I enjoyed my walk outside in the sunshine to get lunch for both my mother and myself, a shared meal heartily enjoyed even in the hospital room- a very good sign. When we had to move from the receiving room to the hallway to wait for a consultation room to become available, again there was an option to accept the unfolding as is, rather than resist and complain against it as I may have done in the past. Focusing on the fact that we were together, conscious and alive with full bellies, that was the greatest gift of the day.
Accepting a situation as is without judging it doesn't mean passivity. I followed up on medical procedures and initiated some follow up to ensure all needs were met and information recorded, however I wasn’t as uptight as I’d been on other Emergency Room visits. Patience was available to exercise and it felt like a luxury I was bestowing on myself as well as those around me doing their best. After another family member arrived a few hours later, I went home and was able to catch up on a lot of work in a surprisingly short period- I wasn’t depleted at all from the experience.
Rather than cancel a date planned a month before, that evening I was able to enjoy dinner with friends. Throughout the evening it occurred to me to call to see if any messages with updates had been left at my home but I realized if I called I’d be disengaging from the moment with my friends, multi-tasking in a way that wasn’t really necessary and that would definitely create stress with the illusion of urgency such an action would stimulate. I didn’t NEED to know. My intuition was telling me I could relax and be present exactly where I was.
The final test came when I got home late and there was no message informing me on the current status after consultations with the doctor and test results- didn’t know if my mother was still in ER, had been admitted to hospital, or was comfortably sleeping at home. When I became quiet, in my body I could find a natural calm, my intuition told me all was well as is. Rather than risk waking anyone up, I surrendered to not knowing officially, mentally- my head would have that information soon enough.
At the same time I rationally realized that if there was anything I really needed to know, if there was a crisis that had developed, I could confidently conclude I would have been alerted by phone. After a good night's sleep, I discovered in the morning that everyone had arrived home late the previous evening, and all was under control for the moment. Medical procedures were clarified, and follow up visits with specialists booked. Truly good news is no news.
This experience was a profound shift in my personal paradigm. Choosing to recognize that in each moment all was OK as is, that drama could be left for another day, that there was a choice to simply be there as the events unfolded and not judge anything, to seize the moments we were together alive- this way of being created a peaceful space inside that was surely an easier and preferable alterative to feel than the futility of stress and worry.
Admittedly each event will dictate the availability of the option to gracefully surrender to the moment as is- however this experience is a beacon that anything is possible when true awareness of, and non judgmental engagement in the moment is mine.
It is my sincerest hope that by sharing this story, readers too can access and exercise options that support inner peace and calm in unexpected challenging situations that make up the stuff of life.
Click here to read about how Eckhardt Tolle Saved a Garage Sale
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