“Time stands still best in the moments that look suspiciously like ordinary life”~unknown
Because that morning had been a flurry of activity as usual…and I was rushing around like I normally do at the beginning of my day. I was talking, I was laughing. And, at a certain point, I had an exchange with someone that left me irritated and sucked of some energy.
Yet it was really no more or less than what it might be on any other day at work. I was preoccupied with my tasks and I remember thinking I really wanted a coffee. Why I remember having that thought…who knows.
And just as things chugged along as they normally do on any other day at work, an unexpected and completely unforeseen event happened that required the entire room to move into lifesaving mode immediately.
For anyone that works in a healthcare capacity, it is a privilege to observe the immediate, almost unspoken, level of coordination that has to happen when you’re unexpectedly fighting for someone’s life. In that moment of transition from “normal” to “life or death”, I could feel the shift inside of me from that little hamster wheel of redundant thoughts I generally have to such an extreme quietness and stillness.
Nothing existed other than this moment before me. No details, no movement, nothing past and nothing future. There was an awareness inside of me that this was happening but it was such an intense and immediate shift from “noise” to nothing that it was startling. I was involved but yet so detached.
And as I observed the series of events unfolding in front of me, it was so intensely obvious how powerful life is. That in a split second everyone present in that room focused their entire energy reserve on saving this life struggling before them. I was watching the clock because I was recording times…but time became meaningless in those moments. It was simply a measurement for documentation.
Every chest compression felt like it was squeezing my soul. The fact that life can be snatched so quickly gave me an overwhelming few moments of clarity in a way that I have never had before.
This sentence kept running through my mind…
What are you doing? What are you doing? What are YOU doing? What are you DOING?
This is how quickly it can happen. This is how fragile we are. This is what we all know at our very soul’s level which is why the preciousness of life becomes ALL of our focus when we encounter life and death moments.
Our outcome was all we could ask for that day-in every way. A life that will continue on its physical journey. And an experience that provided a multitude of learning opportunities and an appreciation for each other.
And perhaps a huge wake up call from the Universe.
A few days after this happened, I was reading an article that had been written on the Huffington Post entitled “Why Time Sometimes Seems To Stand Still…And Why It’s So Good For Us” by Alena Hall. In it she describes that sensation of frozen time that I experienced so overwhelmingly during the crisis at work. She indicates that this feeling of time stopping is actually a by product of awe, and that awe influences our perception of time by strengthening our focus on the present moment.
After thinking on that awhile I found it so ironic that, with all of the exposure, study and engagement into meditation and other forms of “mindfulness” I’ve had over the last few years, this crisis moment was actually the catalyst that stopped me in my tracks.
Because in those few seconds I asked myself so truly and deeply “what am I doing?” It was like The Universe grabbed me by the shoulders and hollered “wake up!!!!!!”
It eradicated the junk, the repetitive thoughts, opinions, judgements and all other useless garbage we fill our minds with. And it gave me a fierce sense of clarity and fuelled a desire and passion I haven’t felt for some time.
One of the greatest blessings of working in this healthcare field is the opportunity to be slapped in the face repeatedly with the sanctity of life. With that comes the responsibility to ask yourself if you are living a life that leaves no room for regrets.
And whenever you are not “listening” or paying attention, The Universe WILL find a way to get your attention. It may not be gentle either. Most of my best lessons in life have needed to hit me squarely between the eyes…
Or spelled out by a thrown away piece of gum melted into the pavement…