You may remember the NABD list from the holidays. Not. A. Big. Deal. That is a big term in our house with two small kids and two busy adults. Triaging what is and is not a big deal is a daily practice.
It is important to know, however, that there are B.D.s as well. Big. Deal. This past week the Big Deal was being stranded on the side of i-70 with my two small kids and a flat tire. It put a few things in perspective.
Isn’t it funny how there are warning signs that we know in our heart of hearts? We know we need to listen, but we often don’t until the yellow warning becomes the red brick wall of life that stops you in your tracks.
What is a B.D.? Your health. You know this as soon as you don’t have it present any more. When your health gets buried under disease.
This was what I loved about hospital work. There are a lot of people when their health is done with yellow warnings they end up in the emergency room. If you have been privy to a night in the hospital, you know there is a lot of time for reflection. As a physician, if I would dare ask, I would hear that there were warning signs along the way. Patients would tell me, “I knew my blood pressure was a little too high” “I knew I needed to start working out again” or “I could tell something wasn’t right”.
My car gave me a warning sign too. I was busy shuffling kids around after work and getting them to gymnastics. I did not pay attention to the warning signs. I kept pushing. I am really good at pushing through. Sometimes, I am forced to listen.
Driving on i-70 at full speed going to gymnastics the tire went flat completely. Luckily, I was close to the side and was able to get off the freeway safely. As is typical with three years olds, my son was in the middle of having a fit about going to gymnastics (ah, children). Sitting in the car inches from the slow lane the trucks and cars seemed anything but slow. I turned around and was serious with my kids. We were in a Big Deal situation.
To make a long story short, I got the kids safely onto a frontage road. Three wonderful people came to our aid and we got the tired changed and headed home. After the experience (and then getting back on a busy freeway), I got off at the next exit and pulled into an apartment complex. I parked the car and crawled in the back with my kids. We hugged and cried and laughed and hugged and cried and laughed. We put on our favorite song and drove home.
Life is great at giving us second chances when we don’t listen. Our bodies, minds and spirits are amazingly resilient and when we forget to take care of ourselves we can often get up, brush our selves off, and try again.
I always feel like I have a lot of work to do. I love doctoring. I enjoy running my business and teaching. I love being a mom and a wife. Sometimes these jobs have demands that conflict with each other and somehow, the easiest person to get lost in the shuffle is me.
After the B.D. this past week, we came home and I played baseball with my son in the back yard. I walked “toddler pace” with my kids to school and giggled with them as we tried to outrun the falling snow under the tress. Fiona termed these “popcorn trees” as the ice and snow rained down on us and jumped back up from the sidewalk. I watched as my son just sat and stared, eye to eye with a vibrant pink blossom. I resisted the urge to tell him to “hurry up” or that we “had to go”. We were both captured in the moment.
It is spring. What garden needs tending? Your mind? Your body? Your spirit?
It is time to wake up from the winter doldrums. To shift the habits we have formed in the rut of winter’s snow and mud. Time to ask, “What needs my attention today?”
Life is not about being perfect and every day doing every thing. Its not about mediating daily and exercising 5 days a week, eating 5 fruits and 5 vegetables, spending time with family, getting work done, sleeping enough AND…..
If we can pay attention long enough to the small, inner voice we might hear a totally different story. We might hear: “Slow down, take it easy, play”. Today might be blend of doing one of the things we know we need to do for ourselves and giving ourselves permission to let go of “the list” itself.
Isn’t it time we started to pay attention to what our health— body mind and spirit— thinks is a Big Deal and what is Not A Big Deal?