the importance of the good pyjamas

7th July 2014


Up until now, my heart surgery has mostly been 'That Thing Happening Later This Year'. But its tomorrow.

Super early in the morning, we'll drive to the Harley Street Heart Clinic. A tiny team of (presumably, hopefully) very well-trained and knowledgeable peeps, who deeply value humans and their hearts, will carefully cauterise the scar tissue from my childhood surgery. They will also check out what the deal is with my wrongly-plumbed pulmonary vein - this may mean another bigger surgery in the next few months.

So yeah. Just an average Tuesday where I abdicate absolute control of my body, and entrust my life to a group of complete strangers.

And because I am fascinated by how our thoughts create our reality, I've been paying close attention to mine.

I know that if I let myself just go ahead and think about this situation, I would get all tangled up in knots of fear and anxiety. I would start to argue with reality (which always creates suffering) and slide quickly into victim mode (which always creates powerlessness). Without supervision, my thoughts can't wait to pull on their crazypants and very quickly, things get real ugly in there *taps head*.

So I have been experimenting with something new. I've been trying to love this situation - to wrap my enormous figurative heart around my literal one and see what happened.

I've been choosing to think thoughts like:

  • This is happening for me - this is about healing.
  • I love my life and I want to extend it for as long as possible.
  • Now is the perfect time for this to happen.
  • I am so lucky to be alive right now, when there is proper science and aces technology to fix this.

I still woke up this morning with rocks in my belly. But the feary anxious thoughts are quieter and more proportionate.

And through the process of investigating the cause of my dicky ticker, I've been very present. For many conversations with doctors using big fancy complicated words, for the poking and proding and being felt up by several people who are not my husband. I've asked my cardiologist to draw several pictures so I could understand what was happening. And I have been able to stay with what is known and happening right now, rather than leap to some catastrophic uncertain outcome.

More than anything, by trying to love this process I've been able to take care of me. Rather than just worry, I have been able to sit and meditate on what a successful, easy surgery would feel like. And when I come home in a few days I can recover peacefully: our fridge is stocked, podcasts are downloaded, there is a stack of old movies on Tivo, and another of books on my bedside table.

And I've bought tiny nurses hats for Rex and Badger.

So there is nothing left for me to do, but pack my good pyjamas. And pray.

See you on the other side :)

An extended version of this post was published by the kind folks at Elephant Journal.



Hello, I'm Sas Petherick. I'm a self-doubt researcher, coach and podcaster who helps thinking humans transcend self-doubt. If you'd like to receive these posts in your inbox please subscribe here (with bonus info and first notice of opportunities to work with me). PS: I totallyInstagram - join me there?


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