The Good Days Keep Me Afloat
Today has been a good day. It is the first sunny, warm day in what seems to be months. In fact, I daresay it IS the first sunny, warm day in months!
I had an invitation to go play. I spent some time on the river kayaking. Then I had lunch at an open-air cafe. Then I rode my bike home - 4 miles. Let’s not get crazy about this. Then to the pool to play with the dogs. Running and splashing and carrying on. Puppy games. Sounds good, huh?
Distracted from vision loss
Guess what? I have been losing vision all day long. Same rate as I always do. I had no concerns about it because I was too busy paying attention to other things!
Much of mental health is related to where we are putting our attention. When we are anxious we are paying attention to what could go wrong. Simplistically speaking, when we are depressed we pay attention to what did go wrong. How about attention to what is going right? Or even attention to what is neutral? Disasters do not happen every instant of every day and we live those non-disaster instances just like we live the disaster ones. We just don’t pay attention to them!
There is a lot more to it, but basically mindfulness is choosing where to put your attention and working to keep it there. Please note, I did not say “keeping it there.” I speak from experience when I tell you my “monkey mind” jumps around from branch to branch. My job is to keep returning it back where it belongs.
Dwelling on blindness
It is really easy to dwell on how we are going “blind”...even if we aren’t. As a species, we are genetically predisposed to think of every possible bad scenario. It is a survival mechanism. However, it is not impossible for us to will ourselves to pick up that attention and shift it to something positive or neutral. And then to do it again and again until it decides to stay there a moment or two.
Enjoying the good stuff
Today I picked up my attention and flopped it solidly down on a beautiful, sunshiny day. If you want to get religious, today was my gift from God. It was my job to unwrap it and play with it. It was not my job to ignore it in favor of worries or to wonder about its quality and how long the gift would last. All I was supposed to do was enjoy it...right now.
You would think that would be an easy assignment. Enjoy the gifts God has given you. Surprise! It is not and that can be especially true when you are worried about a loss. We all need to keep bringing our attention back to the good stuff again and again.
And, about the good stuff. Having a good day to remember helps when days are not so great. It reminds me that it is possible to have good days even in the face of progressive vision loss. Good days and good memories are sort of like having someone blow up our inner tube. When the bad times pile up and threaten to inundate us, we float.
Gotta go. As my parents would have said, after playing today, I am going to sleep tonight! Good memories and sweet dreams!
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