This week I received an inquiry through Evolving Mindfully from a man who asked how he could respond to a friend who shared with him a concerning health diagnosis. He wanted tips on how to respond and send healing energy to his friend.
I was touched by the care and loving intention in his question and told him I would address it and provide a practice this weekend for the community because my guess is he is not alone.
As I sat with this inquiry, it resonated with conversations I’ve had with myself and then with our daughters over the last few months.
The first was when got the call that my husband had collapsed on the way to work and was in the ER. As we navigated several days of uncertainty followed by his procedure and healing process, I turned my attention to applying the principles I share in my work to meet this crisis in our lives because that is the entire point.
If the practices fly out the window when we are pushed up against the wall, what good are they anyway!
Then, when I learned that family friends would be announcing a divorce, I sat with how to prepare our daughters to receive and respond when someone they love shares something about their life that is challenging.
My intention was to support them to consider how to respond in a way that sensitively creates space instead of imposing an interpretation that might actually make their friend feel worse.
At its core, Evolving Mindfully is centered around a responsive, rather than reactive approach, to life.
As I sat with these questions I was also tuning into media, movies, TV, music and really hit me just how countercultural a responsive mindful approach is in our mainstream culture.
While it has not been easy to swim upstream, I had no choice, REALLY. After I received the call that my father had taken his life, learning to respond rather than react became a matter of sanity and survival because I was not sure I could take any more traumatic life events given that they triggered me to reactively numb myself with food, alcohol and other escapes from my actual life.
If I would not have devoted myself over the next decade to respond to the subsequent traumas that I’ve experienced, I truly believe I would either be dead or so checked out and messed up that I would have wished I was.
This is why I am committed to sharing what I have learned to help others mindfully navigate the stresses and traumas of life in ways that allow them to respond and care for themselves and those they love to hold space for healing and growth through challenge and change.
I offer this practice to support you to mindfully process disconcerting news and to extend supportive energy to the loved one that is involved.