If you’ve read my newsletters or social feed this year, you may have noted that I had two foot surgeries earlier this summer. And last week, I sprained my foot…yep, the same one that had the recent surgeries.
Now, I could simply cop to being distracted, klutzy, or both, and just move on with my day.
Or I could pause a moment and pay attention to my life.
Sometimes I am as oblivious to myself as I am to my cat, Lucky. He will often jump on my desk and nudge me for attention.
Nudge. Nudge, nudge.
Usually, I spend about ten futile minutes swatting him away, off my keyboard, out of my coffee cup. Then, it dawns on me to push everything aside and give him a minute. One sweet minute. I close my laptop, clear away all the stuff in front of me, and love him up good.
He becomes so content that he lays down and doesn’t even get up again til dinnertime. Gotta love the wisdom of cats. Pay a little attention now and avoid a big scratch later!
So back to my foot.
For two days after the sprain, I went about my business, telling myself it wasn’t too bad, limping more and more until the throbbing pain woke me in the night and I had no choice but to sit up and take notice. Then – and only then – did I get an ice pack, compression sock, ibuprofen. You know, the things that would have been super helpful a few days earlier when I first tripped the light fantastic.
And I ask myself, “What’s UP with that??”
Maybe I’m too proud to admit a weakness. Maybe I’m reluctant to ask for help. Maybe I’m simply distracted and detached from my own well-being. Maybe, on a psychic level, I’m afraid to move forward in my life. Woah.
The good thing about admitting all those thoughts out loud here to you is that it helps me draw awareness to the present moment and it quiets my distracted mind. It’s here, in this one sweet minute, that I may “clear my own desk,” so to speak, and love myself up good.
A long-time student of Focusing, I am captivated by the power and mystery of inquiring of the felt sense in my body. When I sit quietly and ask the pain in my foot what it needs, a phrase wafts into my awareness: step with intention.
The message comes so swiftly, clearly, and completely into my consciousness that I trust its wisdom (even if I don’t immediately understand it). I try on some questions and feel around.
Where am I hesitant to step? Where have I stepped in too boldly, too hopefully, perhaps? Where have I stepped in and regretted it?
Ah. That last one lands. Immediately, on the movie projector inside my mind, I am shown the image of a project that has been hanging, incomplete since mid-summer. If I’m honest with myself, I had already decided that I wasn’t going to move forward with next steps, but I’d been tiptoeing around (tripping around??) rather than stepping cleanly into a resolution.
Straight on, I get to writing a letter that allows me to step with intention beyond a messy situation. Once I resolve to honor myself by stepping intentionally, I find the words to conclude honestly, with integrity.
Step in Step back Step aside
I remind myself that ALL of the above are valid options, but I’ve got to be present enough to hear which is the just-right action for me. Maybe stepping in every time isn’t what my Self wants in this season of life. As I invite deeper discernment, I notice how stepping back feels in my body, and I grant myself permission to explore other options in place of my default “charge ahead” attitude.
How many times a day do we pause and check in with our loved ones? Our animal companions? Our social media feeds?
How many times a day do we check in with ourselves?
There’s so much wisdom in every breath. Our lives are nudging us each moment. May we be daring enough to listen.
Since I’m healed up now – inside and out – I think I’ll head out for a little walk, stepping with intention into this fine fall day.