Being 100% Present…

Yesterday Bruce had surgery — adhesions from scar tissue were causing the small bowel obstruction, and that (by this point) was the best case scenario. No bowel resection. No colostomy bag. He’ll spend another week in the hospital getting going again. And he HATES the hospital.

When I work with my creative nonfiction students on their stories, I try to impress on them that a successful life needs the same elements as a successful story. Stories need conflict and resolution. They need heroes. They need action. They need — most of all — an author who is paying 100% attention to what happens and the consequences of what happens. That’s what I was trying to get at in my last post. You are the hero of your own story — even when it feels like it’s about everyone but you. The trick is to be fully present.

On Thursday, I was not fully present. I felt like two people — one who was saying and doing kind things but only because she felt she had to, and another who was pissed off and did-not-want-to-be-there.

Somehow, by Friday, I had turned a corner and I knew what I had to do.

It’s like the difference between rocking a baby when you are tense and sleep-deprived and mad at your husband (couldn’t he get out of bed and rock the baby?!), and when you just let yourself relax into the chair, look into your baby’s eyes, and, well, be there. If you’re 100% there, no matter what it is, then it’s your story. So far as I know, that is the only way to make it your story.


0 replies
  1. Abbie Taylor
    Abbie Taylor says:

    You shouldn’t get down on yourself. It’s not always easy being a hundred percent there, especially during stressful times. You’re doing your best. I hope Bruce has a speedy recovery. Nobody loves hospitals.

    Abbie Johnson Taylor, Author of
    We Shall Overcome
    How to Build a Better Mousetrap:
    Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver


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