Mindfulness Makes Life Worth Living

January 17, 2018

“May the God of green hope fill you up with joy, fill you up with peace, so that our believing lives, filled with the life-giving energy of Holy Spirit, will brim over with hope! (336, The Message Bible) 

Cause-and-effect assumes history marches forward, but history is not an army. It is a crab scuttling sideways, a drip of soft water wearing away stone, an earthquake breaking centuries of tension. 

Solnit, Rebecca. Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities (p. 3). Haymarket Books. Kindle Edition.

When I first got out of the hospital, I was pretty miserable with intense PTSD. My goal was first to begin the day in a positive way, then the goal became to begin and end the day feeling well and then finally, the goal was to be positive during the middle of the day too.   It was hard but misery is a wonderful motivator.

Many people know that a gratitude practice is one of my main wellness skills.  I do want to say though that I do not force my actual feelings.  Negative feelings are valid feelings and often to move towards positivity, one has to first acknowledge and honor where one is in the present moment, which includes misery, anger, fear, anxiety, etc. I do not lie and say I am grateful for things I am not, I just try to find a few things each day that actually make me feel better.

People ask me all the time if mindfulness works because it feels like nothing is happening, no progress being made, and I say yes.  I think of mindfulness like water wearing away stone.  For years, it seems like nothing is happening and then one day, you realize that you are standing in the Grand Canyon and that you are grateful.  

Yesterday I marched in the MLK Black Lives Matter Parade, representing people with disabilities, and there was a moment in which I took in the joy of seeing all the activists together and I thought to myself, “without mindfulness, life would just crush the soul” - with so much awfulness in the news, I feel like it is even more vital to take joy when we can.
I used to have a friend who would often say, “I GET to do this” about every little thing, including boring or troublesome stuff.  I thought it a bit much, especially his attitude towards unpleasant things but lately, I have been thinking it too.  Yesterday I had a few hours before work and I was shocked to discover that instead of thinking, “oh no, I only have this short amount of time,” I was thinking, “I get to have all this time.”  Life seems richer, fuller this way.

Today I see life as full with artistic growth.  Even though technically I have a lot of limitations, I see myself as incredibly privileged.  My roommate and I talk about our privileges a lot and it seems to me that often the people who appreciate their privilege  the most are those society would deem as still not having that much. I can honor where I am and still acknowledge that I am so much better off than many people with the same disabilities. 

Whiteness should not be a privilege and our limitations should only be our imaginations.

I will leave you with these words from the march: 

Disability Rights Are Civil Rights! 

Don't Roll Back Our Rights 

No Nursing Homes - Our Homes

Don't Dis My Ability

(My favorite picture from the march - one day I'm going to get this quote by Audre Lorde tattooed)

Link Love:

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