Awake + Remember

The summer I turned 40, my father died. I was at a youth camp as a volunteer counselor for teenagers days before it happened.

I remember I was up in the mountains breathing the fresh pine scented air doing an activity with the teens that was contemplative in nature. I don’t remember everything about it other than that there were “stations” that we walked around to with activities for listening and other things.

What does stick out in my memory is the station where we took a rock and listened to what God was saying to us. Then we wrote something on the rock to remember. And actually, what I heard during this contemplative listening exercise were the words

“awake” +

“remember”.

I used a black sharpie and wrote one word on each side of the pebble.

Every time I move and unpack I come across this rock of remembrance.

I remember the sorrow + shock of my father’s death, and also, the joy of that touchstone. These two words are keys in my life that I constantly have to keep coming back to, because it seems no matter what, I slip into periods of

being asleep,

dull,

unaware,

unengaged with life–periods where I need to awaken again.

And once awoken, then I need to remember.

I need to remember all the things I had forgotten

about my purpose,

how to live life,

and how to be in this world.

I need to remember my passions and pleasures. I need to remember how to sit and breathe. How to restore the positive and not be stuck in

the sucky-ness of life,

the difficulties,

the trauma.

We have been in a new house for a year-and-a-half and we still are not unpacked. There are two main reasons for this: the first is that we were waiting on some remodeling work to be done and our contractor delayed the start of the work by a few months, and then took an extra few months to finish the work.

He finished it shortly before we learned I had a tumor in my spinal cord. So the second reason we didn’t finish unpacking was we went into the spiral of my neurosurgery and recovery.

Now it’s been over a year since that

life-saving,

but body disabling

surgery.

I haven’t found that stone yet.

I know I will come across it this summer when we finish moving in, painting the walls, putting up curtains, and hanging the pictures. I look forward to that moment. Today, it’s the memory of that stone that has helped awaken me once again.

But the memory of that stone is actually only the third thing that is helping in this process.

Recently, my therapist called me and mentioned that I might enjoy listening to a talk by Jack Kornfield. He’s a Buddhist speaker and teacher. So I listened to his latest podcast on healing and acceptance. It’s really good. You can listen to it here. That podcast reminded me of truths I know, practices I need to re-engage in which I just haven’t had the desire to do lately, and how much I need to apply what I know to myself.

The second thing that helped me reawaken this week was talking to a good friend of mine about spiritual matters and life growth. She reminded me of how healing yoga is. She’s a yoga teacher also.

I haven’t been doing much yoga. I can’t really do a lot of what I used to be able to do because my strength, coordination, and balance are severely compromised from the surgery. I usually do some yoga with my physical therapist and that always feels awesome. But this special friend of mine was just sharing her love of yoga and how much her practice has increased and it inspired me.

So I looked up the yoga schedule at my local gym that I belong to and asked a friend to go with me to yoga. I’m also mentally committing myself to go to classes in the mornings.

If I can actually get my butt out the door and onto the mat, this will be a huge triumph for me mentally. I haven’t had any motivation for months now. But, all this has me focused on the two words on that little stone.

The two words that will be needed in my life for the rest of my life.

Right now, once again I will focus on being awake and remembering the truth.

(Originally published on Patreon)

© Michelle Hess

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“Bringing Women from All Over the Globe Together

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