I am deep in training mode for the upcoming Breast Cancer 3-Day, so on weekends you can find me walking all over Santa Monica, building up my endurance with distances that started at two miles and are now up to fifteen. I like to create routes that are fairly close to my house so it is easy to make pit stops, re-fill my water bottle, grab a snack and stretch.
I have come to look forward to these long stretches of time where my main task is to simply walk, where I can enjoy music and podcasts on my ipod, think, ponder, imagine and enjoy all the beautiful flowers and trees along the way. I have a long list of lectures from Zencast.org on my ipod and listening to these has become one of my favorite rituals. There is something serenely delicious about walking in the morning, with sunlight sparkling on the leaves, listening to words of wisdom and guidance that never fail to give me a new perspective on whatever conundrums happen to be muddling my brain at the time. I am still struggling with the fallout of a huge loss from the beginning of the year - and am learning that all of my strange health issues are a significant part of this process - and these lectures have given me many insights and tools that are very helpful.
Over the past many months I have done as much as I can to focus on taking better care of myself. While this started because of my health, I am beginning to see now that this is just as much about my soul as about any of the issues that have been addressed with procedures, pills, blood tests and surgeries. While the importance of exercise, eating well and getting enough rest are valuable, letting go of the desire to be SuperWoman is even more important. A lot of teeny tiny moments of release are making just as much of a difference as the fact that I work out many times a week now. I don't make the bed every day. I don't cram my calendar with social activities out of obligation. I have become messier and maybe even a little bit less accountable. I have missed deadlines and dropped the ball. I have said no. I have worried less about trying to be The Perfect Wife and I am re-learning how to cry more easily. I am embracing my imperfect self and maybe even celebrating her. As I try to forgive those who have hurt me, I am also creating space to forgive myself for all the mistakes I've made throughout my life.
In one of the lectures I listened to recently, the speaker said forgiveness was letting go of wishing for a different past. I found this incredibly comforting, and a profound reminder of the power of right now. Right now I might not be as productive as I could be, there is laundry to be done and errands to do, my camera is broken, I have a flat tire on my bike and my bedroom is a mess. But I am sitting in a home I love and it is a beautiful day. In this precise moment, all is perfect, even my imperfect self.