Hospital Meditation, #4

“Lessons Learned in 3205: Long-term Effect, Post-Crisis, Discharge, Home”

Eventually most every crisis subsides.

Eventually there’s a return to whatever normalcy is.

And then the question is, how to proceed? If there’s residual effect from the crisis — and there often is — what adjustments are needed on the day-to-day to accommodate the new normal?

And what about the old normal? Laundry, dishes, dogs, groceries, garbage, bills, taxes, whatever your employ might be…

We need to get back into the regular life groove and integrate the new and the old facets of life that are now the new reality.  Life has to get back to normal, but there’s also residual, new demands from the crisis that has just passed.  In my son’s case, it’s medications to continue taking, doctor appointments, time at home to continue healing.  He needs help with all that.

Transition.  It’s a big, BIG life skill, and we have to do it all the time to be successful in life. We transition all the time.  Every day.  Often multiple times a day.  Sometimes transitions are planned.  Sometimes they are not.  Develop that skill and you will be better off.

It takes effort. It takes some thought. It doesn’t happen automatically. It won’t happen unless you make it happen.  It’s like any other learning we do, the application of the new skills, insight, resolve…that’s where the proverbial rubber hits the road.

You’ve got to consider whatever the new dynamics from the crisis are that apply to your life now (if there are any), consider the old paradigm and demands from and on your day-to-day, week-to-week, etc., INTEGRATE the skills, and go forward.

“How do we do that?” you might ask…

Well my two cents, you’ve got to apply the time-tested strategies of mindfulness, and being present, settle yourself, and FOCUS.

You’ve got to bring the lessons you’ve just learned, and the resolve to see the crisis through (if you’re still breathing, you made it!), and lean-in to life once again.

Take a deep breath.  Maybe several, and EXECUTE.

It’s up to you to make it good.

[Sidebar:  As you may have guessed, a lot of the blog posts I write are based on personal experience; at least the inspiration for the piece comes from those experiences.  The past four “Meditation” posts, including this one, are most certainly taken from the recent situation with my son.  The insights are worth remembering for me alone; and maybe too, they’re far bigger, and worth sharing.  I hope you agree.]

Hospital Meditation, #3

“Crisis Illness Stresses Everyone Out.”

There’s little doubt that intense situations can cause heightened stress. The heartbeat quickens, the breath becomes more shallow, the brow furrows, the focus sharpens. Adrenalin pumps through our system, firing the inner engine to respond to the matter at hand.

It’s one thing to be able to directly action whatever is needed to deal with a crisis. When it involves a health issue, the variables can increase considerably. If the health situation involves a loved one, especially a child, that raises the stakes even higher.

There are fears that may surface based on the severity of the illness or injury. There are likely a lot of people involved in the health care being given, lots of personalities to deal with. There’s a whole new vocabulary to learn, trying to understand conditions and treatment options; there’s lots to remember too.

Schedule, sleep, diet, and routine overall may be negatively effected for people involved. Often tempers are short, patience at a premium. People say things they may wish they hadn’t.

It can be really hard for everyone involved as the situation plays out.

There are certain strategies that can be employed if you want to respond in the best possible way when a health crisis arises. Really, I think these strategies apply to most every crisis situation we might face.

1/ Recognize the situation for what it is. Accept reality, adjust your mindset, harden your resolve and focus.

2/ Put your ego aside; it’s only going to get in the way. [Good advice for most any emotional instance, actually.]

3/ First things first. Gather information. Understand the situation as best you can. Make decisions based on information not emotion.

4/ Remain compassionate. Reassure those around you as needed, as the opportunity presents itself.

5/ Be willing to adapt further and change the path if new information warrants it.

6/ Focus on what you can do to assist the situation. Offer to help.

7/ Persevere. Realize you have what it takes to make it through the crisis. More than that, you be part of a solution that makes the situation better.

There’s no doubt that crisis is stressful. But how we respond to crisis is our choice.

As the knight protecting the Holy Grail said to Indiana Jones, “Choose wisely.”

Hospital Meditation, #2

“With My Boy…”

So our five-year old son was admitted to the hospital pediatric unit on Monday afternoon. Massive skin infections, multiple locations on his little body.

I’ve stayed with him in his room a couple nights so far; he’s had good periods and not-so-good; after all, he’s really sick, and hospitals can be scary for anyone, especially little people.

Lessons for him — and me— for present, and future:

*Pay attention to what your body is telling you. And communicate those needs to those who can help you.

*Wash your hands often.

*Short term gratification – “scratching the itch” – can lead to unforeseen problems. And those can become BIG problems.

*Life happens. Sometimes it’s really hard. Don’t stay paralyzed in shock, denial, or anger over the unfortunate. Life isn’t fair. But you CAN cope and overcome. Take it one step at a time.

*Accept council. Listen to those who can help. Follow advice and instruction from those you can trust.

*Hunker down. Bivouac as needed. Celebrate small victories. Build on them. Persevere.

“Bivouac 3205”

Next up…Crisis Illness Stresses Everyone Out.

Hospital Meditation, #1

I started Monday with a good list and good intentions. I ended up in the hospital with our son, who’s stricken with infection.

Immediate thoughts?

1/ I hope our boy is ok!

2/ I gotta get to the hospital.

3/ Be there for him, and my wife.

4/ LISTEN, and gather as much information as possible.

5/ Grateful my life situation allows me to quickly change gears and prioritize my family above all else.

What else?

Use this time to deepen our family inter-connections and learn as many lessons as possible.

Oh yes, and kick start the blog with some up-to-the-minute reflections.

Good Start.

Indulge in Music

For as long as I can remember I’ve enjoyed going deep into music.  Particular songs, a particular album, over and over and over and over again…

I’ve not done that too often over the last ten years…maybe more.  Remembering how much I enjoy it, or rather, thinking of a song…letting it run, finding seven different versions on youtube, and listening again and again…

Doing a little work tonight before bed, that happened…here it was, is…thanks, Howie Day.  Glad to share your name.


by Howie Day

The dawn is breaking
A light shining through
You’re barely waking
And I’m tangled up in you
I’m open, you’re closed
Where I follow, you’ll go
I worry I won’t see your face
Light up again
Even the best fall down sometimes
Even the wrong words seem to rhyme
Out of the doubt that fills my mind
I somehow find
You and I collide
I’m quiet you know
You make a first impression
I’ve found I’m scared to know I’m always on your mind
Even the best fall down sometimes
Even the stars refuse to shine
Out of the back you fall in time
I somehow find
You and I collide
Don’t stop…

A Dad’s List – #1

1/ Small moves are sometimes best.

2/ Dress to be comfortable, especially on weekends.

3/ Even if your chore list is long, don’t ignore your kids.

4/ Hot tea on a chilly day provides warmth and a little boost.

5/ When you get the chance, turn on the music.

6/ Keep the snacks moderate.

7/ Celebrate what you get done.

8/ Empty the garbage bins early, then do one last sweep before putting the can out on the curb before bed.

9/ Take your time when talking to your kids.

10/ Enjoy the waning afternoon sunshine.

A Dad’s List – Preface

It’s been hit and miss the last couple years with blog posts to 1/2 Full. Lots going on that have left little time to share in this format.  Gotten better of late, but overall, starts and stops aplenty.

Thus, trying another angle to transfer thoughts to the published word: A periodic list of what’s to the fore of my mind.

The lists will be simple, practical, and maybe even inspiring. Some content will be borrowed, some will be original. The intent is the same: to share more love, share more GOOD.

We’ll see.

As always, I hope you enjoy the muse.

“After Sandy Hook”

A friend from college, Matt Mason, posted this piece on his facebook page today.  He graciously allowed me to share the poem here.

This piece is a raw, heartfelt response to yet another mass shooting in America that happened in Florida.  Remembering back to 2012…Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, 20 six and seven year old children were shot to death.  What’s happened since?  What has changed?

“After Sandy Hook” (a poem)

After Sandy Hook,
they placed little bodies
under mounds in the earth
like a ritual
from Homer
but was, really, only more funerals.

After Sandy Hook, we looked
for America
to emerge as something better.
It rained.
Days had the audacity
to tick and tock along.

After Sandy Hook, parents grieved
while strangers put flowers and stuffed animals on their children’s graves,
and actual human beings
called them fake, vomited curses into phones at them, willingly
became the monsters who live under beds.

After Sandy Hook, Wayne LaPierre lamented
how if there’s no Good Guy
with a Gun to fight the Bad Guy with a Gun
then he’s only sold one gun.

And after Sandy Hook, America
bought guns.
Bought guns.
Bought guns.
Bought guns.

After Sandy Hook,
what was the point?
After Sandy Hook,
we saw the worst
humanity could dish out—
That’s what we thought, at least,
and when nothing changed,
we understood
we had reached somewhere worse.

After Sandy Hook,
we surrendered, we went through
the motions, but, come on,
we saw ourselves
for the shit we are, mirrored
in the shit standing as our representation.

After Sandy Hook, our heads
couldn’t drop the first grader’s words,
Mommy, I’m okay,
but all my friends are dead,
after Sandy Hook,
we could not forget the teacher who rushed to lock her classroom door
who never reached it,
the other teacher’s body on top of a six year-old’s body to save him.
But he died, too.

After Sandy Hook, poets waited
to see what grows from such small graves.
They’re still waiting.

And after Sandy Hook, America
bought guns.

Matt Mason is the Executive Director at Nebraska Writers Collective, and lives in Omaha.

If you’d like to contact Matt, you can reach him via email: