Updated: Nov 21
It was 11pm and I was sitting in a hospital room, waiting for the doctor to see my Dad.
He'd had routine surgery earlier that day, but he was experiencing some concerning complications; hence, the late-night rush to the hospital.
The nurse came in and took his vitals (yes, I've watched my fair share of medical TV shows to know some of the lingo).
Dad's blood pressure was WAAAY up: 187/95
Not only that, he was out of bed every 5 minutes because of the pain, his shoulders were tense and raised, and his engineering-mind was in overdrive trying to work out what was happening.
This is a man who has the pain tolerance of a rhino's backside, a man who says he has a "heavy head" not a headache, so if he actually says he's in pain, then he's REALLY in pain.
So I did what I do whenever I'm in doubt, waiting, scared, unsure, powerless, tense or stressed... I turned to the one "life raft" we all have, regardless of where we are, what we're doing or what's happening.
I asked my Dad: "Want to do some breathing with me?" (Yes, I'm that kind of friend/daughter, which is either really reassuring or ultra bloody annoying!)
I placed my hand on Dad's lower belly and asked him to breathe into my hand for 3 deep, yet gentle breaths. We then focused our attention on his solar plexus (upper abdominal area) and then on his heart and chest.
With each breath I reminded Dad to feel into his body: expanding out with his breath, letting go a little more each time, releasing any muscle tension, softening his tissues, sending love to his organs and visualizing his healing colour (blue, by the way) spreading throughout his body.
Lastly, I reminded him: "Stop trying to work this out in your mind, Dad. Let your body do what it needs to do."
Something really interesting happened. We were no longer in a hospital room, tense, tired and waiting. We'd become intensely present - timeless - and I felt immense love and joy for this beautiful man as we breathed together.
And he was feeling it too. Instantly Dad's body relaxed, and his tummy felt warm and energized under my hand.
So much so, when the nurse came back in to take his "vitals" his blood pressure was down to 140/75, his pain had dramatically reduced, his shoulders had relaxed, his forehead had softened and his voice was even and calm.
He was out of his head and in his body.
Was he still in pain and discomfort? Yes, but his relationship to the pain had changed; rather than tense and mind-resisting, he was relaxed and body-allowing.
I know this was more of an extreme circumstance, but can't we all be caught up in our head and out of our bodies? Like, A LOT.
Being at the hospital reminded me - yet again - that every conscious breath counts.
Waiting for the kettle to boil.
Standing in a queue at the bank, supermarket or local café.
Sitting on the toilet.
Holding the hand of a loved one in a hospital bed.
It's amazing the little messages or signs we get, if we're present enough to notice...
After breathing together, I headed to the visitor's lounge to grab a cuppa and a few biscuits. (Hey, if I'm going to be at the hospital at nearly midnight, then I'm making use of the amenities, thank you very much.)
I looked at my steaming take-away cup with chamomile tea, and I started listing aloud all the little child-like pictures that decorated the cup: bird, bee, cloud, sun, mug, cupcake, slice of pie, pot plant... And then I noticed - amongst all the sweet drawings - there was one word in bold capitals:
Keep listening to your body and trusting your wise self,
P.S. Last week my Dad asked me: "So, what's your next e-newsletter/blog going to be about?" And I replied: "Hmm, I'm not sure yet..." Well, Dad, it's about YOU! ;-)
I love you. xxx
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