Two weeks ago I went for a routine mammogram. And because I have dense breast tissue my doctor also scheduled a sonogram.
I chatted with the sonogram technician about where she went to school, and whether or not she liked her job, and how cool I thought it was to use sound waves to see inside of people. It was as if I was trying to distract her in order to make her comfortable with the situation.
She zipped through the left breast in a flash, but she lingered on the right side for quite some time. Then I realized that she had started to make conversation to keep me comfortable and distracted. What did I do for a living? Did I live close by? Small talk, while she lingered on my right breast. I knew she saw something in there.
When we were through I offhandedly asked her if she saw anything interesting, knowing full well that she couldn’t answer me. I did assume that if there were nothing at all, she would tell me that there was nothing to worry about. She only told me the doctor would call me within 48 hours.
48 hours came and went. Then 72.
I had a busy weekend planned, so I was mostly distracted from the idea that there were results out there waiting to be seen. In the quiet moments, thoughts of the doctor calling would creep in. I reined in every thought of ‘what if’ and stopped it dead in its tracks. I did my best to stay present, in the moment, continually in this moment.
Sitting in meditation has taught me how to be more fully in this moment. It has also taught me that I am in control of my thoughts. They no longer go crazy, running away, wreaking havoc all over the place, unless I let them. (Sometimes I still let them. It can be fun.)
When I do sit, I usually focus on the feeling of my breath in my nostrils, and if my mind wanders I just bring it back to the breath. Sometimes I repeat words in my head, and if I find myself thinking other thoughts, I come back to those words. On the days where I find concentration almost impossible, I count my breaths. I count down from a chosen number, and come back to that number whenever my mind wanders. Some days it really wants to wander. But I can always bring it back.
I can always bring it back because I am in complete control of my thoughts. I am not actually in control of anything else in this world besides my thoughts. I have only recently realized the true gravity of that situation. I am all-powerful in my mind, and I am completely and solely responsible for every thought I choose to entertain or extinguish.
After a week went by I got the phone call. There was something in there. A few somethings, actually. There is a cyst (no big deal) and some calcifications (probably no big deal, but let’s do another test to be sure). So I have to go back for a different diagnostic test.
It has been another week of doing my very best to stay in the present moment. Soon, I will go for that test. Until then, there are no thoughts of ‘what if’. There is no ‘I can’t wait til it’s over’. There is no ‘it’s bad, I know it’s bad’ or even ‘it will all be fine’.
Until then, there is only this moment, and this moment, and this moment, and this moment… Just as there always is, and just as there always has been.