Last night, as I delighted in a solo Grace and Frankie bed marathon, I noticed that my body was uncomfortable. The unfamiliar sensation came and went, and it took a few rounds for me to press pause and pay more attention to what was going on at home, than to Lily Tomlin’s luxuriant hair.
It felt weird. A mild-ish pain in my chest, a squeezing sensation. The way I thought heart burn would feel. I waited. Observed. Pressed play again. Maybe I had imagined it.
Pressed pause again.
Something was going on. For sure, something was going on.
I got up, stretched, walked downstairs, breathed. Got back in bed. Pressed play.
At the point where Martin Sheen puts on his pair red silk pajamas, the pain showed up in a more focused way and I decided to pause again and do a little research about the symptoms of heart attacks on women.
Dang. Not fun.
Just in case I needed to call 911, I walked back downstairs and unlocked my front door. Then I put on a new bra. A nice one.
I paced. I paid attention to both my body and to my thoughts. It was kind of fun, in some way. I heard my mind say some wise things - and some much less wise things. I heard my ego remind me not to make a fuss, not to bother anyone.
Then I started to sweat and get a little nauseated.
Back upstairs, I pulled up another webpage, phone by my side.
It had the same list of symptoms, the same wordage as the other sites, except that right there, at the bottom, in some small red letters, it said:
My daughter. I could not un-read these words and I could not stop imagining my daughter describing to me what I was feeling. And hesitating to go to the hospital, 6 blocks away.
That did it. Within less than 30 minutes (bless our little island) I was hooked to an EKG machine, IV in my arm, cozy under a heated blanket. I had baby aspirin on board and was in good hands.
The pain came back a few times, several tests were done, and a few hours passed before I was back in my bed with a clean bill of health. Maybe it was hormones, maybe it was a fluke. Who knows? I was told that my heart is perfect.
It was a good experience. I feel very grateful for the care I received, the reassurance I went home with. I enjoyed having watched my mind do its thing and my ego make sure I reached for the nice bra. It’s often in these heightened moments that we can get a clearer snapshot of who we are. Calm, and just a little vain.
Mostly, I am super grateful for whomever thought to add these words:
I find them brilliant. As I read them again this morning, I see them do two important things:
1) Validate our power by reminding us - in red letters - that we know our body. I re-read that a few times, last night. It was soothing, it was very soothing. It told me that I was not crazy, that if something had yanked me out of my favorite TV show several times, something was going on. Even though I may never know what it was, something was going on.
2) By shifting the decision of “should I stay or should I go?” away from me and my pride / not wanting to be a bother / toughing it out mode straight to my daughter, it snapped me right back into the proper action. There was no hesitation, only logical business to tend to. Love had spoken and Love demanded to be heard.
So this week, as you navigate some potentially confusing decisions, some decisions where factors like pride, finances, “reason” join you at the table, I suggest that you ask yourself this sweet question: what would you like to see happen, in this situation, for your daughter, sister, mom, close friend? Then: do that.
Because there is a really good chance that that’s exactly what your daughter, sister, mom, close friend would want for you.
There’s a good chance that this is what Love would want - as opposed to Fear.
Let’s make sure love wins, shall we?
Wishing you an easy, sweet and kind week.
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I write because this is the way I am able to taste life more deeply.