Last week I had a “cardiac incident.” I want to write “little” or “minor” as qualifier and reassurance but one doctor called it “major,” and I admit the pain, duration and lack of any discernable warning did not feel minor. In the last few years it’s been determined that my heart has intermittent “electrical” problems. It’s as if too much current is moving through too small a wire. The risk is that these energy surges could harm the heart muscle- ie.- burn out my motor.
Apologies for the mechanical metaphor- we are not machines- but energetically this is at least an approximation. Physical factors are being investigated, holistic solutions sought, and sound advice will be followed. I am feeling good, just very tired since the "incident."
But my question is: What is my heart telling me?
The obvious answer would be to slow down- but, in part because I have a chronic illness (CFS/ME,) I lead one of the slowest-paced lives I know. Really! I have not travelled in years, I rarely go out after 6 pm, I begin my days with my practise of prayer, meditation and gentle yoga. I have slowed down!
Or have I?
How am I seduced into speediness? I speed up when I become over-stimulated by input, over-engaged in often enjoyable interactions, external or internal. (Yes, monkey mind can interact with itself endlessly!) I know this- it’s why I do not have television, socialize infrequently and avoid shopping malls and large convention centres. But I underestimate how little it sometimes takes to speed me up. This week, having announced I may not be on Facebook as frequently, I’ve posted small in-the-moment observations. I’ve discovered I can follow my own slow rhythm IF I do not read and respond (immediately) to all the comments, do not follow the newsfeed or visit other pages.
Something in this points to why I allow/create overstimulation- I have an overblown sense of responsibility (if not, at times, an outright compulsion) to engage with and respond to everything/ everyone that crosses my path. Sometimes it doesn’t feel like a choice. But it is. And right now I choose to offer what I can, minimize what I take in and where I will respond, defaulting to less-is-more.
The second and not unrelated thing I notice is how often I feel compelled to hand over hand my way up out of a pit of weariness to meet (mostly my own) expectations of how and when something needs to be done. And guess what I use to pull myself away from the desire to simply sit or follow the impulse of the moment? Yep- external stimuli- reading blogs or perusing posts on FB, listening to the news, or talking with a friend on the phone. . . .
My heart is not happy about this, not happy with the over-stimulation, not happy about my semi-conscious reaching and racing and pushing and prodding riding roughshod over conscious decisions to slow down.
This isn’t the whole story- there are deeper narratives my heart is telling, but I’ll allow those to unfold over time. For now I surrender to slowing down on a deeper level- consciously limiting input and engagement; cultivating awareness of using stimuli to mask uncomfortable weariness; enjoying slow walks, classical music, the scent of lavender. . . .
So, that’s how my new year is unfolding. . . . . slowly. And for this, I am grateful.Oriah (c) 2012