I’ve been sitting in an NHS waiting room for just over 2 hours now. My back hurts, my neck hurts and there are still at least 30 people around me who may or may not have their turns before me so I’m not sure how much longer I’ll have to wait.
This is the perfect time to feel grumpy and ungrateful but I’m using it as an opportunity to reflect on all the gifts available in this moment –
A place to sit
A roof over my head
Access to ‘free’ medical care when I need it
A home to miss while I sit here
My laptop on which I can type this blog
My phone so I can do pretty much anything I want while I wait
The books I brought with me
My ability to read…
The list goes on and on, and the longer it gets, the better I feel as I sit here.
I’m beginning to see how often I have a choice in how I feel and what I focus on. I’ve seen this before but what I missed until starting this blog is that I have to cultivate the habit of training my thoughts and actions in a particular direction every single day. This blog series is providing me with daily opportunities to practice.
Without it, I don’t think I’d give these things the attention they need so they stick.
In the past, the knowledge that I had the choice to think and feel differently, wasn’t always enough to change the direction of my thoughts and feelings in the moment. I hazard if I faced something more difficult than a long wait in a doctor’s waiting room, I might not yet be skilled enough to choose the direction of my reaction but that’s precisely the point of continuing to practice.
As they say, there’s little point starting to sew the parachute after you’ve jumped out of the plane. By then it’s too late. In the past, I think that’s what I’ve done. I’ve gone about my business on a day-to-day basis without necessarily making an effort to cultivate the skills I’d need in hard times.
Then, when I’ve faced difficult things, they’ve often gotten the better of me. I’ve reacted emotionally, expressed myself in ways that brought greater stress to everyone around me, and generally created way more drama than joy.
It’ll be interesting to see how the continued practice of writing and “sewing the parachute” will change what happens when the time comes that I have to jump out of the plane – or life pushes me – and, in the meantime, I guess it’s just nicer that I’m not a grump when I finally DO get called into the doctor’s office and won’t spend the rest of the day tearing strips off people because I’ve gotten into a mood over something that really wasn’t very bad at all.