Eps 45: When Life Pulls The Rug From Underneath You

Rug Pull

As a mindfulness trainer I teach people how to properly meditate following the structure that founder of MBSR Jon Kabat Zinn developed. As the goal is to encourage people to meditate daily in a particular way the participants are provided with guided meditations.


Today I came from a meeting in Utrecht and on my way back I was contemplating my next step in life. I accidentally saw some notes I made during a meeting with a like-minded soul some time ago. The notes were about intention and visualization. I was watching the daylight turning into soft and warm tones as the time of sunset approached. A peaceful silence came over me. I felt the courage and inspiration coming bubbling up to verbalize the next step of my vision. Although I am not sure what it is I feel that there is something ready to come out.


As I was sitting there, enjoying the internal and external landscape, my phone makes its familiar little buzzing noise and a message comes in. It is from a friend who let’s me know that she listened to my voice while undergoing a PET scan. She used one of my guided meditations to make an unpleasant experience less unpleasant. She thanked me, said it worked like a charm.


Recording guided meditations is not so easy, I think. Because people tend to listen to them often they have to be very, very neutral. There is no room for frivolities; every word has to be spot on and the instructions clear. No little coughs, stammers or unfinished sentences. That makes that the recording process makes you listen to your own voice a lot and I don’t know about you but for me it is still kinda awkward. Just thinking about the idea that people actually listen to my recordings makes me feel naked. Making them available was scary for me.


I was touched by the message. I didn’t know how to respond. That people who want to learn to meditate would listen to the recordings; I was prepared for that. But I wasn’t prepared for the idea that someone would bring the recording to the hospital to accompany her during a critically important and emotionally threatening medical examination.


To be able to provide some valuable support to a fellow human being who is in a frightening and vulnerable position is probably the most honorable and worthy thing a man can do. And to receive such feedback is a big compliment. But I didn’t do anything! I didn’t know they would do the scan this morning. It made me feel shaky. Of course I was happy to hear my recording was helpful but I wished it hadn’t been necessary.


My response was that I never had imagined that the recording would serve this purpose but that I was happy that it ‘worked’.


I received a response back saying ‘me neither but it was worthwhile. x’. Her message made me smile.


Then, out of the blue, I just cracked and the tears came bursting out of my eyes. The whole story, the context, the cancer, the fear, the relationship: it just hit me. As I was cycling and texting and crying I almost crashed my bike into a curb, which was kind of funny too. I found back my composure but when I entered my house I fell apart again. I just sat there and cried.


The fantasies that I was about to conceive about ‘the next step of my vision’ might not be clear to me yet but I was VERY clear that they would not contain sickness and death. I fantasize about inspiration and togetherness and building of big dreams with amazing people. Being of service to humanity and providing what is needed is a very big part of my dreams. But I don’t want this ‘dream’ ‘come true’ in the way it is presented to me now! Not this way!  The rawness of reality caught up with me. I felt angry at life for these cruel tricks. ‘So you said you wanted to do something meaningful and challenging, buddy? Here is some cancer for somebody who doesn’t deserve it. Eat your heart out!’


That familiar feeling when life pulls the rug from underneath you and you realize you are completely empty-handed and have nothing to hold onto.. You do the only sensible thing: you sit down and cry. Then you straighten your back and make your heart available to others once again. We will deal with the challenges as they come. This is our practice.


This is episode 45 in a series of 100 blog posts that will be published daily during the 100 Day Warrior, a unique program around physical strength, inner wisdom and meaning. All posts are written by Atalwin Pilon, founder of Basic Goodness and creator of the 100 Day Warrior. For requests for motivational speaking, in-company workshops, online coaching and mindfulness training click here. If you would like to join our international community of brave and inspiring human beings or just follow this blog and receive updates, please click here or sign up on the right side of the page. Atalwin specializes in coaching smart and creative people, both groups and individuals. If you are interested in a free coaching session click here.

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