While laying in a hospital bed, I was graced with a large window next to me. It had two panes that opened inward and that I could just barely reach and pull open with my casted left arm. I had an unobstructed view of the sky, a hospital laundry across the street, and a walkway for people crossing the hospital campus. There were swallows riding the wind currents and clouds blowing across the sky- sometimes creating rain and storms and sometimes blue prevailed.
I saw people walking and I thought, “I never knew walking was such a beautiful activity.” I’d stretch my legs in my bed and feel the pain of movement in my fractured femur. I’d gaze at the miracle of people walking effortlessly and seemingly without awareness of this incredible gift of being able to move through space.
I was living in a bed. The toilet in our room was about twenty feet away and my roommate got up every so often to use it. For me, it was out of reach. So near and yet so far. I was marooned on my bed – after being rescued after falling at the bus station. My bed was my place of recovery- my own private boat in the storm- and it also was where I was stuck.
Watching people ambulate outside my window was inspiring for me as I’d see them carrying coffee cups, pushing a baby stroller, hurrying or meandering, getting in and out of cars, holding hands, talking, taking off or putting on sweaters or coats, putting up umbrellas, and one time- someone turned their face up to feel the rain misting down- all while walking into and out of my view.
For me, it was beauty personified.
That’s what I do when I write.
With my cast I could no longer write and I learned new aspects of myself. Writing was an essential part of the way I located my true feelings. It had been a lifeline when suffering was my experience. It was an easy reliable way for me to bring hard realities from my head, through my heart, and into my hand which could be processed on paper- leaving my body free from the heaviest loads.
Writing was the way I shared my deepest thoughts with others. Intuitive clarity is a gift I was born with and through writing I could share my gift with the world.
My profound focus when I wrote, specifically for a friend or one in my family, was my commitment to truth and love for that person, in action.
When I wrote I accessed the best of me.
When I couldn’t write for a month, I felt new pieces of myself begin to form. New muscles of expression were stretched and different ways of understanding, processing, suffering, communicating and sharing, were born.
Perhaps my experience was intensified because I couldn’t walk and I didn’t share a language with the people around me.
My longing to write, to speak and to walk urgently got my attention. The only thing I knew for sure was that I needed to learn new ways to be.
Laying in the hospital for ten days I practiced just that.
I remembered a vision exercise I’d learned called, ‘open vision.’ It was a conscious relaxing of focus that allowed one to see everything in the field of vision at once, without focusing on a particular spot. Eyes remained loose and flexible as focus naturally flitted here and there, never landing for long on any one thing.
Just like my eyes in open vision, my brain became relaxed as thoughts moved through. My focus was broad, expansive and non specific.
I passed all my days in the hospital using this technique and I gained confidence that nothing would be lost.