I have been rubbing my left leg lately, finding an area of tenderness on the outside of the shin. It had kind of a bruised feeling, so I pressed it trying to figure out why it hurt. It is kind of the same process as finding something old in the fridge – giving it a sniff, finding it obnoxious and holding it out to someone else saying: “Here, smell this, it is really disgusting!”. I press on my sore calf, testing the sensations and saying to myself “This is really unpleasant!”. So press it from time to time during the day, to be sure it still hurts. Day after day, I test and press, and ouch and wonder and go on. This morning I am making my bed, as I do every day, moving from one side to the other trying to get it just so. And for some reason I was in my room, making my bed, smoothing out the covers, BEING THERE, not out in the day planning and preparing. I was making my bed, in real life, in the moment!
As I rounded the corner to give my side an extra tug I whacked my leg on the corner of the bed! Right on my bruise. And I came to! I realized I had been banging my leg on the end of the bed for weeks, but because I have been “elsewhere” in my mind, and because the pain hadn’t risen to the level of extreme – it had never penetrated my unconsciousness. That,and maybe because my leg had taken all it could from my inattention. It finally hurt too much to ignore. I sat on the bed and thought about how many times I have run into pain in my life and just been unaware of it; physical, mental and spiritual pain. Not a big whack – but a small bruise that over and over created a sore spot. The injury could have been avoided if I had paid attention, had woken up, had became aware of the moment, learned from it and moved on. I am not saying that I need to be so sensitive that every bump or life lesson jolt needs to stop me in my tracks, I am saying learn from the little stuff and maybe some of the big stuff can be avoided. I have found that if I don’t learn from the [little] lessons I am given I WILL be given bigger and bigger ones until I learn. So, I have to learn to round the corner of the bed with a little more room, to pay attention to what I am doing while I am doing it, and to allow the small bumps to help me avoid the big ones. Rather than pushing on the bruise trying to remember how I got it, I can know when I did as I did it, and adjust my way accordingly.
1 thought on “Learning to Pay Attention”
I could really relate to your experience. It’s so true how we can be totally unconscious of how our habits/actions affect us when we’re in “doing” mode. I was having issues w/ my shoulder hurting when I finally had the lightbulb go off that it was being caused by lugging a big load of yoga mats once a week. Found a roller bag and problem solved. Those little bumps can be very instructive.
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