Renewal in 10 Minutes or Less


Renewal, the act of not just enduring, but embracing life sometimes takes the long and winding road. Sometimes it takes less than 10 minutes.

I woke up this morning at the farthest point from any sense of renewal. I’m injured, with a possible rotator cuff tear from Pilates/taekwondo/middle age. I woke up in tears last night due to the pain. I’m grumpy. Less sleep and more Monday do that to me. And I’m overwhelmed. The snow is melting which means I’m two steps away from massive gardening chores. I’m supposed to be starting my less-paid-work-more-writing career…today. All the volunteer opportunities that sounded great in the fall are due this month. And it’s my wedding anniversary, with no plans made to celebrate.

It was a good morning to meditate. This morning, meditation meant sitting in my reading chair, ice pack on my shoulder, eyes closed, letting all that anxiety wash over me.

I let exaggerations run wild through my imagination. I imagined having to give up all the physical activities I like to do because I can’t move my arm and keep getting injured. I ran through the long list of things that I would have to do to have a good garden, feeling defeated before I even started. I thought with dread about all I have to do in preparation for the elementary art program I’m helping to present and the fundraiser I’m chairing. I fairly shook with the fears of never making it as a writer after laying all the groundwork. I felt badly thinking about the half-assed effort I made to honor my marriage. I felt a little sorry for myself. And then, I was done.

I saw the pointlessness of my anxieties. Even my worst case scenarios weren’t all that bad. The sun is out. I can hear the long silent birds now singing outside my window. Spring is finally arriving. Right now. In this moment, I can find pleasure. My hot cup of coffee. Writing. The sound of my daughter singing happily to herself in the other room. I do not need to breathe any more life into my anxieties. I do not need to give this moment over to them.

My crazy schedule doesn’t start until tomorrow. I am able to ice/heat my injury whenever I need to today. I will make my lists and prioritize and organize. I will plan my schedule for writing. I will figure out exercise I can do without using my arm. I am going to write a loving note to my husband and wrap the small gift I got him. I am going to plan a nice family dinner for this evening. I’m going to be okay.

Meditation is not for the timid. It’s for people like me, overwhelmed, in pain, disoriented, anxious – we can find ourselves fighting off our worries and anxieties until we implode. Inside me is this field where free range anxiety gallops, roughshod over the greener pastures. I gave it a few moments. Then I put a fence around it. And now I’m here.