You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘mindfulness’ tag.

I’m having one of those days filled with phone calls and waiting for test results, people wanting to know things right now, and waking up later than intended.

Honestly, it’s one of those days that could drive a person insane.

So I’m taking time for a moment of mindfulness. It doesn’t have to be a 30 minute meditation, or full-on yoga session. As one of my meditation instructors once told me, just take a moment to ask, “What is happening for me right now?”

I’m noticing my hands are swollen today…noticing myself getting swept up in thought…aware of my fingers on the keys and my feet on the floor. I’m aware of taking a deep breath, and my stomach being tense.

The world is a little less chaotic now than it was a few moments ago. Nothing has been miraculously “cured,” but I don’t feel like I’m being sucked up in some interdimensional vortex of rushing.

Part of the key to this exercise is to focus on sensations of the here and now – not thinking about the 50 things you have to do before dinner, instead examining the texture of the floor, or the nature of your breath. If you have a thought or a worry, notice that you’re having a thought or a worry.

So I’d like to invite you, if you want, to ask yourself, “What is happening for me right now?

Advertisements

Drugs and medication have an interesting way of interfering with my mindfulness practice.

I spent much of Tuesday and Wednesday drugged on Tramadol, which I’d taken to deal with the pain/fear spiral that was going on this weekend. The Tramadol made me groggy, sleepy, and ill-coordinated. My brain felt like someone had shoved cotton balls into it, and I couldn’t get to all the important bits.

I suppose the Tramadol did its job in other respects: I wasn’t in as much pain, I could walk (or hobble) when needed, and I wasn’t having panic attacks from fear about how long the pain would last. The pain was not out of control.

I decided to try some mindfulness meditation to cope with my relationship to the pain.

When I started doing some breathing and focusing inwards, I really felt as though my brain was on some bad carnival ride. When I closed my eyes, I saw a pink trapezoid that kept moving and rolling as though it was in a fun house. There were pink elephants and other objects that kept shifting in and out of view.

When I tried to focus on my body instead of on the happy-fun-trip going on inside my mind, it was like wading upriver through sludge. I could kind of feel myself through a dim haze, but it was a lot of effort. The pink elephant kept calling me back.

Eventually, I fell asleep.

I suppose the mindfulness didn’t work in the way I intended or expected, but it did give me insight into the workings of my brain when I’m taking “heavy duty” painkillers. (Tramadol is a “mild narcotic.”) It feels like the medication is closing a door on the parts of my mind which might experience pain. Clobbering them over the head and sticking them in a closet, if you will. Then it distracts the rest of my mind with smoke and mirrors.

This doesn’t usually happen – as much – when I take Tramadol. I think it was because I took a larger dose than usual. However, the feeling of “wading upriver” when trying to practice mindfulness while on Tramadol has happened before.

Fortunately for me,  I managed to see a podiatrist yesterday. I’m narcotic-free today, and I feel like I have my mind back.

Note: This is another early post (Thursday instead of Friday), because it again relates to how I’m doing right now. We’ll see what the weekend holds, and if I do a “weekend extra” or not. It probably depends on how much pain I’m in, or what medication I’m on.

We had the mother of all snowstorms this weekend, with 29″ dumped on every surface. It’s beautiful, and it also presents many practical challenges. (These include power outages, being housebound, snow-weighted trees, and making a space for the terrier to go outside and use the bathroom.)

Saturday night I was keeping my friend company while she started clearing off one of our cars. The power was out all around the neighborhood. The storm clouds had passed. The sky was a deep purple, reflecting the light of the snow and city lights in the distance. All of our street lights were out, giving a much better view of constellations punctuated by the occasional whispy cirrus clouds. Partway through shoveling, the power came back on. Some of the constellations disappeared, but my disappointment was tempered by the promise of having heat for the night.

That was the wonder of the snowstorm.

We also probably lost at least two trees, which succumbed to the weight of the snow and ended up almost touching the ground. I spent a good bit of the day of the storm wading through the ever-accumulating snow (it ended up reaching almost to my hips) and shaking trees off to prevent further tree death. My friends did a lot of the work, but just “walking” through the snow proved difficult.

Then came my body’s reaction to the experience.

I won’t bore you with an entire catalog of the pain. Suffice it to say that every joint in my legs was sore and burning. Other parts of my body would periodically pipe up, as though saying, “Me too! Pay attention to me too! I hurt too!”

I knew what would help: very light exercise (stretching or walking), meditation, medication, a hot shower, taking it easy by staying out of the snow…

Knowing is easier than doing. It was as though the pain had taken over my brain, and all I could focus on was how much I hurt. Add to it the increasing dismay at being housebound AND in pain, and I was not a happy camper.

I recruited my friends to help me out. Sometimes I just need encouragement to take steps in the right direction. I unhesitatingly took my pain medication, and got to verbally express some of the pain I was feeling. My friend helped me pick out some nice shampoo, and I took full advantage of my shower chair and hot water. I just let it wash over me.

Then I took my big step. I decided I would get situated for a meditation. I got out my mp3 player (which has several guided meditations on it). I decided I would see how meditation went – I wouldn’t force myself to do it for a certain period of time. I just let my meditation be what it was – a way to get in touch with what was going on in my body.

It was painful, at first. But because I have some experience with doing mindfulness meditation while I’m in pain, it was not unexpected.

There was this remarkable feeling of openness that happened during my meditation. I realized how much of my body actually feels pretty good.

This next part may sound crazy, but bear with me. (Having a familiarity with the Buddhist idea of equanimity might help.) I realized that when I found a part of my body that was not in pain, I thought, “Oh good, it feels great!” When I found a part of my body that was in pain, I thought, “Drat, that hurts. Maybe if I focus on it, it’ll stop hurting.”

Then I tried something different – letting go of the idea that pain is good or bad. However terrible the experience of pain is, it is a million times worse if I dedicate my conscious mind to thinking about how terrible it is. I also have a tendency to dedicating my conscious mind to how I want to feel good all the time when I’m enjoying myself. If I do that, I’m not actually enjoying myself anymore – I’m just dwelling in the desire to feel good more often.

So I just let go. I allowed myself to be in pain without judgement. The pain was still there. It still hurt. But it wasn’t in control of my consciousness anymore.

Now I can just be.

I had my first “topic request” for a post. (Please pass on more requests in the comments section, or as an @ request on the Twitter feed.) A friend asked me to write more about my reaction to pain mentioned in the previous post. She described my reaction of “Oh, I’m in pain…it will pass” as being potentially very alien to people.

I’ve drawn a lot of inspiration and methodology from mindfulness meditation, so a lot of what I’m about to say is my interpretation of wise things I’ve been told. I learned a lot of this from Insight Meditation Community of Washington (IMCW) meditations I’ve attended. One of the people who leads discussion after the meditation is Jonathan Foust. He actually has a 30 minute (or so) podcast about “Working with Pain” on his website. If you’ve got the time, it’s a wonderful talk. There’s also a guided meditation mp3 on the same page.

I could talk about a lot of pain theory and techniques, but instead I think I’ll describe one of my first IMCW meditation experiences. This was the experience that made me really “get” mindfulness meditation, and totally convinced me how wonderful it is. It was also a – pardon the pun – insightful experience. Read the rest of this entry »

My Etsy Store

A fibro-friendly item from my Etsy store

I've been working on making fibro-friendly jewelry. I'd love it if you checked them out by clicking the image above, or going to www.etsy.com/people/RogueCrafter

About Me

This blog is intended as a place for me to reflect on my own healing journey, in the hopes that others may also gain insight from my experiences. I've "borrowed" a line from Robert Frost's poem, The Road Not Taken:

'Two roads diverged in a wood, and I
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.'

I think the most important thing for me now is that I feel empowered to be a force for positive change in my life. And that, my friends, has made all the difference.

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 9 other followers

October 2017
M T W T F S S
« Nov    
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
3031  

Twitter

  • Hey everybody! We are going foreign for this weeks business of Seoul Garden! Everyone stop in there tomorrow! You know what to do! 📷😆 3 years ago
  • Baseball team at kozy's!!! #CashMob @OHHSDECA http://t.co/0Yv3YtL15F 3 years ago
  • Don't forget all you pet owners, tomorrow is cash mob número 3 At pet haven! Take a pic of your animal and upload to here of Facebook! 🐶🐱 3 years ago
  • RT @Addictd2Success: Whenever you see a successful person you only see the public glories, never the private sacrifices they had to make. #… 3 years ago
  • RT @Addictd2Success: "Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change." - Jim Rohn 3 years ago