Mindfulness, Sickness & Health

Making peace with reality

I am in the middle of what I have just decided to call “the October grunts”. It’s that time when the weather changing from summer to autumn wreaks havoc on my body. The fibromyalgia pain activates, allergies intensify, fatigue wraps around like a suffocating blanket, and I often just feel like lying around moaning.

I am wrestling with reality. A part of me insists that “this shouldn’t be happening.” Another chastises me for being lazy. And another devises ingenious plans for how to surmount my obstacles—often through the meticulous employment of a planner, countless colored pens, and a compassionless iron will to keep soldiering on no matter what.

The wisest part of me knows that this is just the way it is right now. It invites me to inquiry. “How can these limitations serve me?”

They can instruct me in the wisdom of kindness—which is always a good idea, even when I’m not struggling.

They can remind me to, as Thich Nhat Hanh’s said, “Go slowly, breathe, and smile.”

They can help me implement the advice of Martha Beck (from whom I learned life coaching) to take turtle steps toward my goals because, right now, I don’t have the ability to take any other sized steps.

They can bring me back to the moment, back into my body to discover the places where the pain is caused by the way I’m holding my body rather than by something over which I have no control.

They can encourage me to not overthink things and, for heaven’s sake, stop pretending that perfection actually exists!

I would much rather not have them, but these “limitations” can serve me in any number of ways . . . if I let them.

How, if at all, are limitations serving you?

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