Resting in the Eye of the Storm

Arlene FlemingEarlier this year, my husband whom I’ve been with for over thirty years, had a health scare. Whilst waiting for tests and test results there was six weeks of angst, fear and sadness. It was incredibly hard to function in the family, and at work. My thoughts were a constant whirlwind of emotions, blowing up a tsunami of overwhelming feelings that I felt out of control of.

My husband sadly died, the funeral was about to take place; I'd picked the outfit and chosen the last song to see him on his way. The house was in the process of being sold to pay for my three daughters' future university needs, and I was left the lonely grieving widow contemplating giving up her job to pay full attention to the children to make up for their loss. I could not bear the smell of fresh coffee because I associated it with him so strongly and would weep at any song that reminded me of him.

These reactions would seem fairly common within the grieving process, apart that is, for the fact, that my husband was alive, sitting across from me eating his dinner, smiling, happily listening to his music and making his coffee. I think it would be fair to state that I was a proper head case!

This internal story had often run in the background of mind throughout my married life, fear of losing the one I love. I'd often thought throughout the years about what to say at his funeral, but now this health scare had brought up all the old fears. I had fed it with attention and indulgence and created a fear landscape, which I was now lost in. All this was taking place in the cinema of my head and I was projecting it into reality.

I felt at my wits end. What could I possibly do to leave these horrible imaginings behind and lessen the grip of fear? My usual resilient and calm self had cracked. The dynamics within the family had changed; I snapped at my eldest for frittering money at University; was tense and protective for my children; was awkward with my husband and felt heartbroken. When my youngest in the car, out of the blue asked about what it felt like to lose someone, (her friend had recently lost a grand parent and she didn't know what to say to her to help her) I had to fight back the tears imagining my daughter's own grief over her soon to be departed father.

In a quiet moment a few weeks into this mental torture, I knew that I had to do something about these truly awful thoughts and feelings, I wanted to stop visiting the fear landscape. From deep down I knew I had to still the mind. I decided to distract myself and listen to some 3P videos. I chose a recording of a Google hangout with Dicken Bettinger and Steve Light on Anxiety. Much of what was said washed over me, but in a calming way. Then I heard Dicken talk about feeling overwhelmed within a situation that may have no immediate resolution, he suggested that the only thing to do may be to accept what is happening in the present moment and to sit with it –  "resting in the eye of the storm."

Baby in a treeThese words resonated with me. I took time out of my turmoil and just sat in the moment. After a short while I heard an inner voice that said it was going to be all right and that something wonderful was going to come out of it. I looked up at the tree outside the window and had an image of a baby resting in its branches. An image that occurred in the moment and that I then turned into the art you see here. Its feeling was of great peace.  The storm was continuing, but in my heart I was calm and knew whatever the outcome I could cope.

From that moment I saw clearly. It gave me an incredible grounding about living in my present experience of the world rather than in the illusory future experience of my thinking. Life returned to neutral and on results day, I knew there was nothing to fear from whatever I heard... which turned out to be good!

Arlene Fleming

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  • published this page in Blog 2016-09-07 02:26:32 -0400