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Who Has Time To Be Still?

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Erin Wells, BSN, CPN
Cincinnati Children's Hospital
Cincinnati, OH, USA

"In the age of constant movement, nothing is so urgent as sitting still" - Pico Ayer

Turn on the TV or radio, open any book or magazine and you are bound to come across something on the benefits of meditation. From reducing stress levels and blood pressure, to better sleep, to improved focus, the benefits are seemingly endless. I have tried several times to make meditation a part of my routine. It usually lasts about a week, before those 20 minutes in the morning get re-allotted to another task or "just trying to get out the door crisis". Also short lived were the attempts to meditate before bed and the middle of the day while I was at work, also known as one of the worst thought out plans ever.

I was recently in Seattle for a meeting. Since I had never been there and it takes an entire day on planes and in airports to get there from Cincinnati, I took a couple of days to play tourist. My hotel was located a short walk from the Bellevue Botanical Gardens. My knowledge around horticulture is pretty basic, but who doesn't like pretty plants and flowers? The gardens were lovely, but the walking trails into the forest around the garden were breathtaking. There were very few people out that morning, so was able to really experience and enjoy the quiet and solitude. After a couple of miles, I stopped to catch my breath and a bench. Then the strangest thing happened, stillness. No people, sunshine streaming thru the treetops, soft hum of nature and me on the bench. For those 30 minutes, I stepped off the hamster wheel I have spent most of my adult life running on. I found myself reflecting on the journey that has been the last few years, highs and lows, victories and failures, loss and joy. I even took a little bit of time to think about how those experiences shaped the person I am today and what my future may hold. It was in that moment I realized, despite my numerous fails at the practice of meditation, sometimes stillness is enough.

So now you are thinking, what the heck does this have to do with transplant? We have all been on the giving and receiving end of the self-care lecture. We hear it from each other and preach it to our patients and their families. In today's world, we are all trying so hard to be in three places at the same time, live up to extraordinary expectations, take care of our patients and our own families, climb the proverbial ladder and leave our mark. Thanks to technology, we are accessible anywhere, anytime and are rarely able to truly unplug and step off the hamster wheel. The inevitable reality is we spend most of our lives running at least 20 minutes late to our life. I think it is important we all try to find a little bit of stillness in our lives, even if it is in your car in the parking garage at work. ■

Disclosure Statement: The author has no conflicts of interest to disclose.

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