My daughter was a precocious baby. She was able to hold her own head up from the moment she was born. My mother will tell you that she first rolled over at 1 or 2 weeks of age.  She sat up, crawled, walked, and ran with ease.

I don’t remember learning to sit up for the first time. I do remember relearning to sit up. It was March of 2013 and I had just had a major reconstructive surgery that involved moving a big flap of my abdominal tissue up to make a new breast.  I still have the hip to hip wide scar to prove it. The day after surgery, I was in the hospital feeling not horrible but certainly not peppy.

As many of my friends know, one does not get discharged from the hospital without being able to get up and around and using the bathroom. Also, as many of you know, the hospital is no place to rest. One of the things I learned throughout the course of the nine surgeries I had in two years is that I am a fast healer. One of my nurses, noticing this, suggested that I try sitting up. I was resting comfortably but wanting to go home so I said that I would give it a try. He needed to help me, however. I had just had major surgery and lost an abdominal muscle in the process, after all.

The nurse expertly put his arm behind my back and slowly helped me raise to a sitting position. My first surprise was how little strength I had in my core. Wow, I had been spending my life taking a lot of muscles for granted! The second surprise was the incredible wave of nausea. Sometimes sitting up makes you want to hurl. If memory serves, I informed my nurse of this and asked to rest briefly, which I did.

I didn’t want to get up but at the same time, I wanted to heal and change, even the kind of change that highlighted my weakness and was punctuated by nausea, was needed. I got up. I took my steps outside of the hospital room, along with my husband and using my rolling I.V. stand for support. I completed my mandatory loop around the hospital halls. Within short time, I had also made the mandatory bathroom stop. Noting the difficulty in getting on and off the toilet given the state of my abdominal muscles, I later opted to walk out of the hospital instead of getting in and out of a wheelchair. At that point, sitting was harder than standing or lying down.

Last week, I learned to sit up for the third time. I learned to sit up for meditation. I have a confession to make. I have a hard time with sitting meditation. I was measurably relieved when I looked at the schedule for the Mindfulness-Based Stressed Reduction (MBSR) program that I’ve been doing. It started with a body scan! Body scans are done lying down. Body scans were a wonderful way to stay in bed in the morning for an extra 30 minutes without any guilt because I am doing my mindfulness meditation.

I started the new MBSR lesson on the day after Christmas. This was also the lesson during which sitting meditation is introduced and to be practiced for 30 minutes, six times per week. I had fully intended to stay in bed for this, to keep lying down for my meditation. I didn’t want to get out of bed. My bed is beyond warm and comfy.

On the first day, I turned on the audio for the sitting meditation. The gentle voice on the recording said something like, “You may wish to sit up for this meditation, in an erect and dignified posture.”

Something unexpected happened. Upon hearing this invitation, I sat up in bed and completed the meditation as it was intended to be done. There is something quite freeing about the lack of “should’s” and commands in this program. The meditation scripts are so encouraging. I found myself open to the moment and in that moment I literally rose to the occasion.

I have known myself for 50 years. One of the things that I have learned is that at times I have trouble getting started or making a change. Over time, I have found that if I allow myself the possibility that making any change in the intended direction even if it is not “perfect” is a good move. These moves help me get unstuck from my own perfectionism and toward acceptance of where I am at a particular moment.

It really is easier to move forward  from the reality of my imperfection than a false world of perfection.