How is our vitality affected when we are faced with new challenges?
Recently my husband underwent open-heart surgery. This has been a very big deal for him, as he was forced to go from being an active, strong worker to being an invalid, who was totally dependent for a while and very weak. It meant big changes for both of us.
It was like having another job. But it was much more than these physical changes that required more of my body and more of my time.
There are the psychological changes that are about flexibility, adaptability, staying steady, feeling my husband’s tenderness and vulnerability as well as my own, feeling the tiredness in my body and learning to accept that while I worked, cooked, drove, and took on more responsibility.
My husband is making a great recovery, and he has managed to adapt to these changed circumstances with patience and true self-care. We are now at a point of recovery that allows some space for outings, and enjoying visits from friends.
Asking myself do I feel vital, do I live with vitality, anddoes my body feel vital and alive, brings awareness to how the body is actually feeling. Reflecting on what has supported me through this time, I can appreciate all the practices that I now realise are a part of my everyday rhythm, for example, meditation, walking, exercise, healing sessions, fresh healthy food, getting into bed early when I can. I am blessed with wonderful caring friends who have been great support through this time of change.
Being able to see illness and surgery as opportunities for healing, means that there is no anxiety about the future.
I appreciate how much my husband did every day before his surgery – working full time at 70, as well as on our property on weekends, and helping with shopping and domestic chores. I also appreciate that my life was already full and purposeful, and that when we are called to do more, we can be more.
So what does all this have to do with vitality?
My understanding of the word is relative to my age. I feel that vitality at different cycles of life does have different flavours, as the body and vitality of an elder may be nurtured in a different way than say a twenty year old body – for example regarding exercise, rest, and self-care. Vitality in this situation that I found myself in has been my willingness to say yes to more.
Vitality is the inner strength and steadiness that supports us through challenging times.
When I am connected to my body I can feel the stillness and delicateness, I feel light and present. This feels like true vitality.
This time of surgery and recovery for my husband has been an amazing opportunity for us to observe and feel how fragile we are, how resilient and intelligent is the body, how we are constantly being asked to be more, to expand our awareness and understanding.
There is a sense of the future opening up with new horizons – a time of preparation and getting one’s house in order according to what is needed at this stage of life to prepare for the future.
Taking time to reflect upon what is truly important now – relationships, health and well-being, living with purpose, accepting one’s limitations, appreciating who we are and what we bring to each other, finding joy in the bird song at the dawn of the day, the quiet gentle daybreak, the sound of waves on the beach, the vastness of space, the sunshine or rain, a lovingly made bed, and above all the people in our lives and our relationships with others – these make up the tapestry of precious everyday joys to feel and appreciate. So is it possible that …
Vitality is there for us whenever we choose to live it?
Bernadette C., Australia
You might also enjoy reading: