One of the symptoms of my late thirties is that when I’m fighting a cold, I get shooting pains in my left ear. It tends to throw a person off balance, at least this person. And last week, it was an incredible gift.
They started on Tuesday night, along with the tightness in my chest and achiness along my shin bones. Does everyone have these symptoms when they’re getting a cold?
So I went to my acupuncturist. I drank Chinese herbal beverage, took some other Chinese herb, and hoped. I had four families coming to Thanksgiving dinner and I needed to not be sick. It was enough that the sensor in my oven is out so randomly, the oven just turns itself off. Oh, and it was the first Thanksgiving I wouldn’t be with Mike since 1993. I had enough challenges.
But the shooting ear pains and the pending illness were a gift. I didn’t have enough energy to make up stories about where my ex-husband would be or what he would be doing. I couldn’t even feel sad. I had to find a place to put up two folding tables and two dining tables and I needed lots of chairs.
It worked. We had enough seating. The oven turned itself off without beeping loudly to warn me that it had done so, but my candied yams were already hot. The pain stopped jabbing at my inner ear sometime in the mid-afternoon and we had a great Thanksgiving.
Though I still felt like I was fighting a virus on Friday and Saturday, my mom was here and she let me sleep in. Life was good. Then I started feeling better, well enough in fact for my brain to spin out story after paranoid self-pitying story. And anger. And deep despair.
Though my mom was with Cavanaugh yesterday morning so I could sleep in, I was tossing in half-sleep filled with anxiety dreams. So, I started saying the Serenity Prayer and kept saying it.
Then I talked to a friend last night who is about to get divorced herself and I told her I’d send her the three prayers that have served me best this year. I thought I’d share them here with you.
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.
Loving kindness meditation
(from Jack Kornfield’s A Path with Heart) in which I substitute “I” or another person’s name for “all beings”
May all beings be filled with loving kindness.
May they be well.
May they be peaceful and at ease.
May they be happy.
Please forgive me.
I love you.
Someone told me recently that if you can worry, you can meditate. I can’t always still my mind or let the thoughts float by like clouds. So having a mantra or prayer to substitute for the worry has been a great gift. I hope these will serve you too.
Image by cyberman2