On compassion

UniverseSo last week was the first week back at work after what I think was my most relaxing holidays in the last 10 years. And it was tough! It just all felt like so much more effort than spending the day in our sun-lit balcony drinking smoothies and reading my book. As much as I like my job, I found it quite difficult to go from full relaxation to 8 hours in front of the computer screen and dealing with everyone’s ambitions to tackle things early in the year. By the time Friday came, I felt like I could not find a comfortable position on my chair without feeling tension or aches somewhere in the region between my forehead and my lower back.

I realise that there are physical factors behind this – being tense and upright for hours is more physically demanding than lying on the couch in the balcony, but you will know by now that my interest in physical causes of things is rather limited unless it actually leads to deeper layers of understanding. What I am really  interested in is finding out why I am a match to those circumstances or factors. In other words, what internal thought and emotion patterns are creating a frequency that allows for that particular factor to become present in my life.

So on Saturday morning when I had 45 minutes before my natural vision education class, I sat down in a café with some freshly squeezed orange juice and a notebook in front if me. It felt like a good time to get down to it and allow myself some space for free-style writing – you know, just writing down anything and everything that comes to mind after posing a particular question.

In this instance, my question was about the lower back pain. Although it wasn’t anything that a session with my chiropractor wouldn’t fix, I felt discomfort and tension and I wanted to know what the pain was trying to reveal to me.

Louise Hay, whose work I admire and quote often, talks about lower back pain as being related to fear of money and financial concerns. Immediately, I could see where this fit within my week. First of all, I work as a finance consultant for a big programme that is not going to meet its financial targets this year, and it was last week in particular that I had to have conversations about it with my colleagues and our programme funders. So although it wasn’t my finances that I was concerned about per se, I did spent a good portion of the week pondering what our end-of-year reports will look like.

Secondly, taxes! Yes, I am officially due to make my first tax payment in Spain at the end of this month. Before diving into the Spanish self-employment legal matters online, I literally spend about an hour just moving different documents around (mostly just enjoying touching paper) and occasionally writing some positive affirmations addressed to all the superpowers of this Universe like ‘Thank you for easy and understandable tax process!’. That didn’t really work out so well. After about 2 hours of clicking on various links and looking at multiple confusing spreadsheets that were supposed to make the process simpler, I reached a conclusion which felt like an immediate relief – to make an appointment with a tax consulting firm. Although finance is what I do for living, trying to understand the legal requirements for being self-employed in Spanish just felt horrible and completely not how I wanted to spend the next 3 weeks of this month.

And then there were all sorts of other things, like trying to decide in which country it made more financial sense to buy this mega-amazing blender that we want, as well as whether it was worth my time to pursue a tax refund due from the UK (money vs. the cost of my time and calls and peace disrupted by having to deal with another bureaucracy!). After listing all of this, I finished my orange juice content that I had really got to the bottom of things – it all made sense and I just had to wait and see how this back pain would dissolve in an instant.

I was not prepared to what happened two hours later. We were having a break during our course when I decided to approach one of our teachers and share with her about the difficult week I had had with tension in my back and my eyes as well as the low motivation that I was feeling about my progress with it all. I don’t know whether it was the way she looked at me or the way she gently touched my hand but next thing I knew was that I was having tears flooding my eyes and running down my cheeks. There was just this incredible compassion coming from her entire stature and from her soothing words. At the end of our conversation she gave me the biggest hug, and I was left feeling so moved but yet comforted to continue with the rest of my day in much higher spirits.

And then just when I thought that I had pealed the last layer of the ‘onion of day’, I called my husband – and it happened again! I was telling him about my emotional morning and how tiring I had found the week and how frustrating it was at times to study about how to help others with their vision and yet still feel like I had such a long road ahead for my own eyesight. And there it was AGAIN – the most soothing and comforting words from my husband – reminding me about the challenges I had had in the past that are now my success stories, about how far I’d come and how he was there for me no matter what. And then more tears from me, yet again feeling so touched by such compassionate and emphatic conversation with another being who was so genuinely wishing all things most amazing in all discovered and yet to be discovered galaxies.

It was then that it hit me how incredible it was to have these people in my life who are so lovingly concerned about my well-being and who so beautifully reflected their (my?) love back to me. And the very best part about it all was becoming fully aware in that moment that I have an amazing support system in my life and that beyond the shadow of the doubt, the Universe really and truly has my back. 

(P.S. As I write this, my back feels happily relaxed and pain-free!)

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