free writing 20 minutes
April 23, 2016 § Leave a comment
I have learned a simple trick to change the course of my life – that is, to transform my own possibilities of thought, what I am capable of thinking and what I have the capacity to enact in my life.
This simple trick is based on 20 minute periods of time. To use 20 minute periods to enact new activities that change the course of my life. I use three basic 20 minute activities as my first choice. From these three basics all other possibilities emerge. These three choices are: meditation (sitting quietly with my eyes closed), writing (free writing with no plan or agenda) and yoga (stretching and breathing, again, no plan). When I do any one of these choices each day the possibilities of my life course is transformed in unexpected but desired ways. When I do more than one, the possibilities for positive change increase exponentially.
Right now I am exercising my free writing choice for 20 minutes. It is the middle of a quiet Saturday afternoon. I woke up with a bad headache, sores in my mouth, and aching in my back, hip and neck. I rinsed my mouth with mouthwash, took a tylenol and ibuprofen, and had breakfast. By the time I took the dog out for a walk I was feeling a little better, a little more hopeful. While I was out walking Brother2 called in and we talked about family and work events from the past week.
I have been visiting my mother in one hospital and than another throughout the week. She was released from Hospital1 on Monday morning. Brother4 picked her up and delivered her to her group home. Everyone assumed she would have a quiet day settling into her new life post-surgery. She had a perforated ulcer repaired and had only been on solid foods for one day. I planned to check in on her at the end of the day to see how she was settling in.
When I got to her group home at 730 pm I was told that she had gone out for a walk to get cigarettes. Of course I was very surprised at this news, as it hadn’t occurred to me that she would go out for a walk so soon after her surgery and just having gotten back on solid food. I left the group home and after a short delay helping a man with a puppy, I got on the road, thinking I would proceed to my al-anon meeting.
I turned onto the road to take me south and saw, in a bus shelter, my Mom, bleeding from her forehead, with three kind strangers holding her hand and on their cell phones. I pulled over and put on my hazard lights and ran up to find out what had happened. Mom had fallen and smashed her head on the sidewalk. She was dazed, confused, and scared. Within a minute or two the ambulance arrived. The ambulance workers determined that Mom had to go back to the hospital for assessment. So that put Mom back in the hospital Monday night.
Tuesday I took the day off work to attend to Mom and figure out what we were going to do next. She had a very sore right knee and she couldn’t put weight on it. There wasn’t any definitive conclusion about what caused her to fall. Eventually we settled on dizziness from weakness arising from over exertion too soon after a protracted illness. However, this brought a new problem to light, that Mom had a knee that was damaged from arthritis and the pain of falling on it made her unable to put weight on it.
I was in the hospital on Tuesday from 9 am to 530 pm waiting for different diagnostics to sort out what to do with Mom. She had stitches in her forehead from the fall and various scrapes and bruises. She could not be sent home to her group home because she could not get up and down the stairs. However, she didn’t need to stay in the hospital for acute care. The recommendation was for her to go out to a transitional care unit to recover from her injuries while still getting help to recover from her surgery.
It took a couple of hours to get her to agree to this course of action. She wanted to get back to her room in the group home so badly. Finally she agreed to the plan for transitional care. In the interim she would have one more night in the acute care hospital before getting transported to the new facility.
So that was Wednesday, she got moved to the transitional care unit. I checked in on her on my way to work, and Brother2 stayed with her during the day and rode out with her to the new facility to help her make the transition to a new facility. They got her settled in ok. I was able to get out to visit her late that evening just before visitors hours ended.
Thursday evening I stopped by the group home and picked up some things for Mom and then went out to visit. I had not had dinner, so I had to leave earlier because I just got too hungry. Mom was a little cranky, perhaps a little depressed, too. She brightened up a bit when we read some Jeeves and Wooster. It was difficult leaving her but she was in the right spot.
Friday evening I visited her again having had my own dinner and we were both feeling better. It was clear to me that she was in better condition. She was able to demonstrate her physiotherapy exercises and we took a walk with her operating the walker. We read some poetry and both felt the transcendence of artful words conveying difficult life. It was sublime and I left feeling much heartened by developments.
Today I am taking a day to myself. I have walked the dog, washed the dishes, done a little laundry and I will next get out the vacuum cleaner. I have to get the suite ready for guests as well.
At present the cold sores and inflammation in my mouth are being beaten back with oral rinse and lip balm. I have rested and I am not in as much pain every time I bend or stretch. My headache is gone.
I am feeling better, and the simple act of writing my way through 20 minutes of time has given me a sense of calm and purpose. It is strange how it works, but it does work.