by Mary O’Malley: Life has a way of pushing us past our comfort zones, and when this happens to me, I often use one of my favorite mantras – “Let it in…”
I find these three little words so powerful. It is all about letting Life in – to actually be present for this living moment – both the easy and the difficult. Usually we are someplace else, caught in our minds, wanting Life to be different than what it is rather than actually being here for it.
Life gave me an opportunity to use this mantra during an appointment with my eye doctor last week. After checking in, I closed my eyes and settled into this moment while waiting to be called back. I have come to really appreciate waiting rooms because they give me time to just sit, be, and let Life in. I brought my attention fully into my body, delighting in the feeling of aliveness there. Then I opened to all of the comings and goings around me. To be this present for Life is to rediscover the preciousness of every moment and the joy of being alive.
As I was resting in the moment, I noticed a man being called back. He had checked in for an appointment with the same doctor 20 minutes after I checked in. My mind started reacting and I could feel my belly tightening. I went up to the receptionist to ask her about it and she said he was having some eye tests before he saw the doctor. A few minutes later, an employee came into the waiting room and somehow had gotten the idea that I was upset (which I wasn’t).
She stood right in front of me, saying in a not-so-friendly voice, “I hear you are upset about not being taken back to see the doctor.” She proceeded to tell me how busy they are and that they have a system for handling the volume of patients that come into the office. I simply said, “It was a little confusing to me.” I noticed that my ability to soften and calm myself down before answering her actually diffused her reaction. She nodded her head and as she walked away, I continued to breathe and said my mantra “Let it in” a few more times.
Finally, after waiting 45 minutes, the nurse brought me back into the exam room. There I sat and I waited and waited and waited some more. I had been waiting for almost an hour (59 minutes to be exact). My mind was getting stirred up and my belly was tightening again as I needed to get home for an interview that afternoon. When the doctor entered the room, she said, “Hello, Mary. How are you?” and I responded in a slightly pissy tone, “Late.” My judger immediately kicked in saying that my response wasn’t okay, but as she was giving me the exam, I worked with it and it calmed down.
When I got in my car after the appointment, my mind now wanted to be right. It couldn’t believe the doctor never apologized for being late and that the employee in the waiting room confronted me. “I should call the manager to report how these employees handled this situation,” said my mind. Then I softened my belly and allowed a couple of long slow out-breaths and gave myself a few moments to unhook from my mind and be present for Life. I said to this part of me that wanted to be right, “I see you. If you need to follow through on this, I will understand. But please notice that this is causing a lot of upset inside. What would it be like if you let that go and I can just be here with you, acknowledging your frustration?” Immediately my belly softened and I began to open again. I was so grateful that I didn’t need to follow the story line of being right.