When “Will” Is Not Enough


At two weeks old, the doctor told my parents I had to undergo life threatening surgery.  I Imagine it was more traumatic for them than I who had no reference point for danger.  Since then I had no lasting memory of hospital stays outside of birthing three children until 2011 in Santa Barbara, California.  It was a brain aneurysm, but still I saw no cause for worry.  I didn’t feel any pain except for a little annoying headache.  Nothing I couldn’t handle.  It must have been my facial expressions that caused my two classmates to call 911.  “You are very lucky young lady, if you waited any longer, you’d now be dead,” the grave-looking surgeon reported.  Still, I concluded, It ain’t that serious… Recently, I felt a throbbing piercing pain in my Achilles.  I couldn’t walk without a delayed limp.  It had my full attention…  That’s when I came face-to-face with all my “all you have do” theories.  None of them relieved the pain.  It didn’t care what I said was more important.   It didn’t care about all my near misses with disasters.  It didn’t care about all my positive thinking practices nor mind over matter conclusions.  This must be the big one, I’m going to die.  Mentally and emotionally preparing for my farewell, I notice the pain subsiding as I got up from the death bed heading to the bathroom.  Hum, I might live through this previously unbearable dilemma.  I think I was making matters worse by concentrating on the demise of my “Will” as opposed to honoring the pain and it’s warnings to lighten up and slow down.   My son described it this way.  “Think of the difference between blowing on a hot drink to cool it down blowing on a dying fire to increase the flames.”

Hum. I learned my attitudes, practices, and theories about life weren’t wrong, but surrender is part of the process.  Stop stoking the fire and let it burn out.

I was piling mountains of anger, irritation , and disappointment on my hot embers of anxiety and building forest fires, instead of trusting the healing process with a gentle blow of rest and patience.  I’m not saying life’s disturbances will simply disappear, but you can save a lot of wear and tear on your mind and body…



Author: Jean Watley

Reflections on ordinary experiences

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