Note: This is a piece I wrote a few months ago, but it illustrates how my limitations present themselves for me and I wanted to share that with you.
Last night I celebrated by 36th birthday with my family. More and more people are telling me that they don’t like their birthday and would rather skip it altogether. But I have always loved my birthday and I actually enjoy adding years to my name. I love filling our living room with people I love and talking, laughing, connecting. And on top of that there are presents and actual icing on the cake? What’s not to love! 😉
But then there is the day after. The day after can get pretty intense for me. And no, I’m not talking about some alcohol –induced stupor, believe it or not I only drink water. For me it has to do with the physical limitations caused by the stroke I had years ago.
On the evening itself I try to give my body room to breathe by taking breaks and retreating upstairs to lie on my bed for 10 minutes every hour. Still after about 2, 2,5 hours my body starts to give way. Focussing on a conversation becomes harder and I notice increased tension on the right side of my body. Often these aches get to a point where I cannot lie on that side anymore so I need a (mild) sleeping pill to get to sleep. Fortunately those always work like a charm and I sleep well.
But even after about eight hours of sound sleep, the morning after l feel worse. And even knowing this ahead of time and reminding myself it is totally worth it (which it is) it can still be overwhelming.
And while that looks funny and I can often smile at myself, sometimes it does overwhelm me and I enter what I call the “not-funny-anymore-zone”. The right side of my body just doesn’t want to play anymore and reminds me of that with every move I make. Usually there isn’t much else for me to do but just breathe through it and retreat to the couch. My state of mind being one of reluctant resignation. Understandable, but not very helpful.
It is hard for me to say all of this as it seems as though I am complaining or feeling sorry for myself. That is not what this is. But truthfully, perhaps I am trying to justify my resistance. Because that is what trips me up on a day like that. Deep down I resist it. I understand that overexerting myself comes at a price. I understand that my body needs rest. What I sometimes struggle to understand is the extent of my exhaustion. I will give my body a rest (a very generous offer as I don’t have much of a choice at this point) but I resent having to do it.
I know that I will be at peace again once I surrender to it. But knowing that doesn’t always help me. I then try to let go of my resistance in order to get to that place of peace. But unfortunately I cannot state my terms. Only unconditional surrender works. I need to stop arguing with what is and let go of any thought that says this moment should be anything other than what it is. That even though I may not understand why, it is as it is. That I now have a choice: to fight it and be stuck with it, or surrender to it and make the best of it.
Interestingly, what sometimes does help is to ask myself: can I accept that I cannot accept? To bring understanding to my resistance. Or as Eckhart Tolle said:
“Bring acceptance to your non acceptance.
Bring surrender to your non surrender. Then watch what happens.”
Surrender to non surrender is still surrender after all.
As the day progresses I usually find a way to lean into it more. To allow it to be more deeply. The beauty of it is, once I find that place of genuine surrender, I find peace. And not just peace of mind, I find peace, or rather “ease” in my body as well. I move about more easily and the aches and pains dissipate to a much more gentle level. But most importantly: I smile a lot more.
I smile remembering the good times. I smile knowing there is nothing I have to do right now. I smile at the sweetness of surrender.
Do you ever have difficulty accepting an aspect of your life situation? And if so, how do you deal with that? I’d love to hear.