“What the…?” my eyes flew wide open, the pain having just seared through my side. “This doesn’t seem right” was my next thought, as I dialed the national health helpline, who – after a few pointed questions - dispatched an ambulance. 8 hours and several episodes of birthing-like pain and tests later, the diagnosis, a kidney stone.
Now I could dwell on the physical level of what causes of kidney stones but, if you want to avoid them, drink lots of water to flush out any fragments before they get a chance to form. No, I was more interested in the real cause; what I was thinking, feeling etc to cause something that really got my attention.
I’m pretty healthy as a rule but, if I’m honest, I knew I’d been in a bit of a funk lately. With almost two months of looking after the kids, meaning little ‘me’ time (it’s our summer holidays here), mum dying and a mammoth trip to the other side of the world with us all in tow, I had gotten caught up in some rather unhelpful thought patterns.
Thankfully I’ve been in the habit of taking 15 minutes each day to meditate for a couple of years now, so, despite the chaos around me, I was at least aware of the nonsense that filled my head. I just didn’t think it was as serious as all that to indulge in it for a while.
I’m not talking about anything much different to what is probably planted in most people’s heads. For example, I was brought up in an environment where it was important that I tidied up after myself. So, as a mother of two little ones, and a partner who does not object to a bit of mothering himself, I often find myself tidying up after everyone and resenting the heck out it.
On the face of it, you would think this fairly harmless. But think about it logically. I start resenting the kids for doing their tidying, where does that take me, they are young kids after all? That road can too easily lead to anger or apathy, depending on what I decide to do about it. Neither healthy.
As for my partner, well, when you get on the vibe of resenting your nearest and dearest, that can quickly spiral into a whole load of other thoughts on the same wavelength – whether the thoughts even relate specifically to that relationship is irrelevant. In fact, when you get on that wavelength, bang, practically everything you ever thought or felt in relation to resentment in a relationship gets served up in one sonic energy boom into your consciousness.
The next thing you know, “that is it, the relationship is over, it’s a matter of principle, being treated like that!!”reverberates through you. Thankfully I didn’t go there, I just birthed a kidney stone instead. A painful reminder that what I am thinking and feeling is entirely at my will. I can be right or I can be well.
Talking to a friend of mine recently, she was recounting some pretty upsetting interactions with her very much grown up daughter that had taken place over the holidays. Her daughter doesn’t like being yelled at, it has its roots in her childhood as it does for all of us. So, long story short, someone yelled and ba-boom, out spews this tirade that had very little to do with the actual conversation at hand.
What followed was a dramatic exit and weeks of awkward interactions that left everyone bruised and never really got resolved.
Old thought patterns are very seductive; their old familiar feeling makes them nestle right back on in there, in their spurious self-righteous indignation.
Let’s take apart this example, shine some common sense onto it. Being tidy, is it worth losing the people I love over? More importantly, is it worth losing my self-love? All those hours of feeling bad, harbouring those unhelpful thoughts?
I’m not saying let’s all go to hell in a handcart and live in some stinking mess of our own creation. Oh, did you hear that? That is exactly what we could consider we are doing as a human race on the much bigger planetary level.
That is probably what I am feeling more, truth be told. This man-made world of ours that I seek to keep so tidy, throwing away mountains of rubbish each year, giving away mountains of consumable toys, having to continually upkeep houses that last only decades, cars that last much less, all of which is such a gross waste of energy.
Instead of loving and appreciating the planet we live in, living with it and all of the natural resources it provides us symbiotically, we rip into it, like a child ripping into a Michelangelo masterpiece to use it in a creation of its own. “Look at us, we are so clever” we think, “so technologically advanced”.
Yes I do like to be tidy, “tidy house, tidy mind”. But was I really created to tidy my environment constantly? Or is that just a result of the man-made society we have constructed?
Big questions over being tidy. And so they should be, we have to start thinking beyond our powerfully embedded self-absorbing, self-defeating thought patterns. Sure, I could beat the drum of being tidy so loudly that my partner and kids submit and take on their own self-absorbed energy about the whole issue. Or I could go and find someone really tidy to sate the little tidiness ego inside.
Or I can see all of this for the distraction it is. I was not created to tidy, I am absolutely sure when I worked out a blueprint for this life on the planet, I did not specify tidying up after everyone as my purpose, or any part of the deal.
It’s more likely I specified feeling the flow of the eternal wellbeing and love that exists as important. So when I get these fairly trite examples in my life, and they get louder and louder until they manifest in the absolute agony of a kidney stone, I get the clarity I need to knock me out of that funk.
Back up the truck a bit, with the school year in sight I had started to turn my thoughts back to what I wanted to focus on this year. I had actually recognized that I needed to let the love in. I read a book recently where an older man was talking about the animals of our planet (even ‘dangerous’ ones) generally nurturing, rather than harming, children in need. He cited a child’s most dominant state of love as the reason. Yet we adults live more in a dominant state of fear and aggression, and so we elicit the same from our surroundings. This really made sense to me, and resonated deeply.
So what to do about the little ‘tidy’ drum beating? Or the ‘being shouted at’ drum, or whatever montage of drums we each have going on distracting us from the most important message of all – to love ourselves?
We have to start beating the drum of love, it is that simple. When I think back to my thoughts leading up to the kidney stone, it seems quite pertinent that I had just had a conversation with my mentor who said “just take it on then, let love be your predominant state”.
And so in my quiet moments, the ones where I was going to dive into doing something (like tidying up…) I began stepping aside for 5 minutes of relaxation instead, I had a conversation in my head that said “come on in love, take a look around, feel free to have a clean out, let’s get rid of anything unhelpful”.
So what do I take from that? Well, for a start, I’d probably recommend adding on something like “gently” to that intent if it resonates! However, thanks to that kidney stone, despite its pain, the contrasting outcome is a sharp clarity.
And I should add that the love came, in the form of some amazing friends and family, and most importantly, the peace within. So I urge you to keep even what you’d consider benign thoughts on your watch list. As you become aware of them, reach for the love instead. That doesn’t mean you let everyone walk all over you, just that you start to look at the world through a different pair of lenses that can only see the most loving action for you to take.
I’d love for you to like, comment on, or share these thoughts with others if they inspire, or contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org, I’m always happy to help if I can. To be the first to receive these posts, you can also subscribe to my newsletter and, as a special thank you, you will receive the link to my video 3 Steps to Becoming You.
By signing up you will only receive emails from shonakeachie.com and you can unsubscribe at any time. This is a two-step process, you will have to verify your subscription by clicking the link in the email you should receive after clicking this 'Subscribe' button. If you do not receive the email please check your Junk mail, thank you.
Please note if you are using the Google Chrome browser and want to subscribe to the RSS Feed you will first need to get an RSS plugin from the Chrome Store.