I had surgery on my right wrist about a week ago. This is the same reconstructive surgery I had on my left wrist eight months ago. After the surgery they wrapped my wrist in a rigid splint. I’m not supposed to do anything with my right hand for the next four weeks. The first two days after surgery were pretty uncomfortable. After that there was really no pain. I just had to deal with the fact that my dominant hand, my right hand, was unavailable to use. The next few days were no fun. I was angry and frustrated at not being able to do the things I normally do. And this was the way things would be for at least the next four weeks. I grumped and swore and snapped at Gloria.
A couple of days ago Gloria had to leave early for a haircut appointment. I was going to have some cereal for breakfast. I said to myself I’d really like an omelette. And for some reason I decided to try it. I had to think of each step that I would do to make an omelette with only one hand… my undexterous left hand. Then I had to execute each step carefully. Nothing was automatic. Each step had to be thought about carefully through out. The final result was fine. I had actually been able to make the omelette completely without my right hand. And I realized, this was truly mindfulness. After breakfast I continued with my one-handed endeavors and cleaned the kitchen thoroughly. Thinking about it afterwards, I realized that this was Zen chopping wood and carrying water. Just doing each thing that needed to be done. Paying full attention to each item.
This practice is available to me every day. But it took the event of surgery to make me aware of it. It is amazing how much of my life I live automatically, not fully present. So the next month is going to be a practice month for me. I am going to be fully aware as I learn to negotiate life one-handed left-handed.