No Matter What

It’s the middle of the night and I wake up in a sudden panic. My feet feel as they are being squeezed in a vice. Am I having foot cramps? Is this a blood flow problem? A symptom of diabetes? My mind races through all kinds of scary scenarios until I am sitting up in bed, panting in fear. Then I catch myself.

I’ve given talks about the power of the mind. No matter what is going on, if we can stop and get centered, we can use our mind to calm ourselves enough to see a clear path ahead.

I moved my attention from the pain in my feet to the air moving into and out of my lungs. I take a few deep deliberate breaths and slowly begin to relax. As I do, my thoughts move from a focus on terrible outcomes to some simple and more probable causes.

The first thing that came to mind was what I had done the night before. I did another 3.5-mile walk, my fourth for the week. Maybe my shoes were the problem. I turned on the light, got out of bed, and grabbed the pink sneakers I reserve for walking on the treadmill. When I bought them a couple of years ago, I wasn’t happy about the decorative plastic on top. It sat directly over my toes. But since there hadn’t been any chafing in all this time, I quit worrying about it.

Now I wondered if perhaps the rigid plastic was crushing my toes. Maybe my feet had grown a bit and the plastic was squeezing my toes as I walked.

A quick search on the Internet turned up several sites suggesting that heat be applied to the plastic so it could be stretched for better comfort. I pulled out my blow dryer and found two large glass coasters. I aimed the blow dryer at the hard plastic on one show for a good amount of time and then stuffed a coaster inside, stretching the shoe wider. After a little more heat, I did the same with the other shoe. If stretching a day or two this doesn’t work, then maybe it’s time to buy a new pair.

Things happen that worry us, but whether it’s something small like sore feet or something much bigger, I have to trust that things are unfolding exactly as they are supposed to. However things may appear, I believe that from a broader perspective, all is well. When I can stop, breathe, and know, I can find a way through. No matter what.

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