Post brain bleed One of the things I wanted to be able to do was hang the washing out and it took me a very long time to find a way back to it and to accept I do it differently now. You may find that a weird ambition and observation but for me it was such a simple act that seemed so far from my reach. The coordination was beyond me , the balance was gone , there was no energy to cope with the physical demand but as soon as I was able I tried again and again to see what was possible and explored what was in my reach that day.
Some times I had to just settle for enjoying the view of someone else's work( thank you to those that pegged for me) but even that could raise my smiles just getting to sniff the freshly wind dried washing when it came in and I added it to quite a long list of regains or should I say retrains in my sights. What followed was the indignity of falling into the washing basket followed up just as swiftly with the purchase of Lakelands amazing basket with folding legs as whilst I'll ask for help on most things being stuck in a basket is just a little hard to swallow even for me.
Over time I got there. Not always and not every time and that's part of just noticing what's right for me today, what is possible and adjusting to that state. Pausing and just trying again not expecting to keep falling. Or at least not in the same way! It's Very much like my getting on the paddleboard except my re- accomplished act of hanging out the Washing more serves to slow me down now rather than stretching me physically plus less chance of getting wet.
I just go slowly at it at my own pace , hanging each item out one by one. Noticing what each item in my hand, how it felt. Smiling at the kids things. Noticing the pegs in my hand, what the clouds were doing , the shadows around me, smelling the fragrance waft past. Small pleasures of the act and just allowing myself to enjoy hanging out the washing. Of being able to. My mind often wandered , sometimes I let it, strangely often a blog post comes to mind and I make a mental note to do that later but then I bring my thoughts back to focus just on hanging out the washing , the task and being mindful of just that and what was possible for me in doing it today. That's a bit of a lesson in Mindful Washing hanging up 👕👖👙but it teaches you to notice all the 'is's' and less of the 'isn't s' which is helpful in today's world of judge everything.
So this picture was taken earlier today and reminds me very much of what noticing and focussing my attention means and how it helps me in my everyday adventures which is especially vivid after leaning in this last week to what was a big challenge and using my mindfulness practice to help me stay with what was possible.
This weekend gone I had the joy and privilege to join a wonderful group of people who were embarking on a weeks course teaching us to train mindfulness in the workplace. I learnt so much from them all during our time together and whilst I didn't actually complete the full duration of the course what I did manage to accomplish was a huge deal for me . Those of you who recall those early days post bleed early will know it seemed almost impossible to dare to dream that I might one day stand in front of a group and be able to train again. Also Learning and retaining new information at an intense rate has proved exhausting and out of reach for me many times since then especially as the same patterns as I might have learnt with previously don't work anymore so it's still a big work in progress but that didn't mean it is never worth trying or the taking risk to try a little more. And yes , whilst my hard neural deficits which are now my new normal showed me red flags eventually , it was then ok to say 'well this is all I can do this time' whilst not accepting that I'll never do it but rather I will get to the end result or maybe even a different outcome a different way and at my own pace. And that's ok with me. Actually it kind of makes me happy. I did what I did despite the fear and risk of not being able to do it and in doing that I know more about what's possible for me today.
Disappointing? Of course that's just normal emotions. Tears of frustration? At the time, You betcha but luckily matched by willing hugs and rallies of encouragement and letting go of my sadness that my expectations didn't match up to reality just helped me with transition so I then could see what really was achieved in my days. My kind hearted fellow trainees also reminded me that they were also finding it very intense and secretly I wondered that maybe they would have all been pleased to have had an early escape too. It does also help that having a corrupted short term memory means I quickly leave past disappointment behind, so forgetfulness has its positives and I intend to join them in sprit when they venture out at the end of the week to break their learning with a mindful beach walk as I expect they will be really flagging themselves by then.
I did have to come home, sleep lots and lots and then some more and then just to be sure I hadn't fallen too far I needed to do a quick check I was still able to hang out washing as my words have rather jumbled themselves up with all the mental toll but that's not unusual and will pass, it always does. And the washing was accomplished.
Life after Brain injury teaches you many things but it appears that staying with the moment , focussing on one thing at a time , 'uni-tasking ', and just seeing what's possible right now is a pretty useful habit to really work on and I've found can really help out if you've hurt your noodle. I know I've said before that I think everyones brains, fully intact or not just like it better that way and it's kinder than being switched on in full attention mode to everything all the time.
We all have wishes and gaps between what we would like to happen, what we wish had happened but being able to practise stopping so we can better see the possibility of what IS happening right now can actually help us be more resilient when we do need to pause and slow and often using that time that brings something to smile about and a breathing space to pause in just being here. That's something to smile about.
SO This is today's washing. Just blowing in the wind. Maybe take a pause , breath and a moment to enjoy it. To see it. I did.