There are some days where I feel like I'm finally seeing things, people, experiences, and the world through the eyes I should have always had, the eyes God gave me. Unfortunately, my humanness has left me susceptible to selfishness and made me prone to follow the Generation Now and Generation Gimme Gimme path that leads to that selfishness and lack of self awareness and compassion. I'm making every effort to make those bad, unaware, selfish days fewer and fewer, and days like today more abundant.
So what happened today? Well, I felt it when I woke up. I knew that something was going to be different because I told myself to make a conscious decision to be mindful, to be present, to be happy, and to ooze positivity. I made that decision while lying in bed, gradually turning up the "volume" on my Himalayan pink salt lamp, gradually waking up my senses, and I said that once my feet hit the floor, I would be nothing but that "good" energy for myself and anyone who needed it.
Crazy. I got ready in record time and to work way earlier than I have over the last few dragging weeks. After getting my office settled, I jetted off to an appointment with my Nephrologist. Some pressing kidney issues have been somewhat of a challenge for me these last six months and today was a big appointment to see if things were better or worse. After a minor surgery, major lifestyle changes, and a conviction that things would be fine and my body would fix itself, today was the day I'd find out how my health had progressed.
I'm no stranger to waiting rooms. I usually grab a magazine, watch whatever is on the TV, or play on my phone. I intentionally distract myself. But today was distraction-free. I sat there, present, and observant. And I was so glad that I was because there were people who needed me and there were people that I needed in that waiting room.
Two sisters covered nearly head to toe in Boise State clothing, entered the clinic. While one checked in for her appointment, the other sat near me and we struck up a conversation about the location of the TV in the clinic. Then we fell silent. When the other sister finished checking in and sat down with us, the conversation picked back up and we talked about everything from our fur babies, children, favorite college football teams (obviously they love Boise State), the drive they endured for their appointment, and ultimately the reason why we were in the liver and kidney transplant clinic.
They asked me, first, so I told my story, first. They both exuded so much thoughtfulness, kindness, and compassion for my health concerns. I asked the sister who was the patient who she was there to see. Since I am both patient and employee at the hospital we're at, I'm quite familiar with the doctors and I assured her that she was in exceptional hands. Her response to that comment broke my heart. "I just hope they think I qualify. I only have a year. Maybe two."
She went on to tell me that her first fight with cancer was back in 1994, with only a 30% chance of living. She told me that though she didnt' lose her hair through 52 weeks of tough chemo, she did gain 60 pounds. Years later when she was diagnosed with breast cancer, she gained another 60 lbs, but fought harder because she knew her life wasn't meant to be over. But now, after hearing that she has a year, maybe two, she wants to defy those odds as well.
It was a knee-jerk reaction. My eyes teared up. I told her that I would pray for her and my hand instinctively drifted towards my mala. We barely had a minute to talk after that before my name was called and I had to go back for my appointment, but I could not leave without wrapping my arms around this complete stranger who is fighting a battle I'll never understand. Hopefully, I'll never understand. It was not an empty embrace or an awkward one. We both needed it. I could tell. She held on, tightly. Her sister reached out and tore one arm away from the embrace and held my hand.
The exchange of the energy between the three of us, connected, was powerful and it didn't just impact us. When we finally let go and I opened my eyes, every single eye in the clinic was on us. I knew they had heard every word between us, too. The room isn't that big! I'll probably never see these women again, but I will think of them, often.
Mindfulness isn't some difficult concept. It's not a practice that you need a mentor in or piles of books about. Yes, it's a mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique, but it's also being conscious or aware. It's that simple. I like seeing out of these eyes.
I knew today would be different.