Notes from the Parish Nurse

This past week I had an opportunity to practice being mindful during a crisis…thankfully I have been regularly practicing mindfulness and meditation, so my mindfulness memory muscles kicked right in, helping me stay in the moment, by using my breathe as my anchor to keep me from getting caught up in the whirlwind of uncertainty surrounding me.
A routine visit one morning to the vet with my beloved pup, Mijo, for a possible ear infection turned into a fast trip that evening to a Kirkland specialty vet hospital for him to be admitted to their ICU for a critically low platelet count putting him at high risk for spontaneous hemorrhage.  (Platelets are responsible for blood clotting when we have an injury.) With emergency treatment, he was stabilized, in 24 hours his platelet count was back to normal, and we were back home in 48 hours. Now he will be on meds for six weeks with weekly lab draws. (The vets have no idea what caused this critical drop in his platelets.)
This experience reminded me, once again, how regular meditation and mindfulness practices can keep us grounded when life pulls the carpet out from under us. I am also reminded of wise words I read years ago – “Taking the time for a mindfulness practice is as necessary as taking the time to breath, eat, and drink water.”
I encourage you to begin a regular, consistent, mindfulness practice before a crisis hits. The longer you practice, the more present and grounded you will be no matter life what dishes out!  If you are uncertain how to begin a mindfulness meditation, start by taking just one minute to sit comfortably, close your eyes, and focus on your breath. In and out…in and out…when your mind wanders, which it will frequently, observe that you have thoughts…then bring your attention back to breath…in and out…in and out…observe you have thoughts….bring your attention back to breathe…and so on. It is normal to be going from getting caught up in your thoughts, to reminding yourself you want to move your attention back to breath, many times throughout the entire one minute. If you can take just one minute a day, 5/7 days a week, and work up to five or ten minutes day consistently, you will have one more tool in your coping toolbox to keep you grounded and present, no matter what the moment brings.
Wishing you a mindful and safe Thanksgiving holiday!

Lori Nitchals, Parish Nurse

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