I’m sitting in the lounge in Mumma Bear’s cave with Baby Bear talking excitedly at the top of his 13 year-old lungs, husband and his oldest brother competing for noise space and Princess vying for my attention to help her choose a dress to wear. “Take it Easy” is pumping out of the stereo. I have a migraine. I am smiling and enjoying the atmosphere. I am fully present for the kids while my head pounds away in the background.
Pain management meditation.
Not medication. MediTATION.
People with chronic pain can usually tell you what colour their pain is. Unless you have experienced pain that hits the ceiling of your threshold and smacks you right in the face, you probably won’t understand that statement.
My chronic autoimmune condition used to cause severe pain in my stomach. When they test this tension and compare it to labour pains, it is four times more pressure than in active child birth. Four times.
Although I don’t suffer this pain anymore (because I’ve treated the root cause of the problem rather than masking it with meds), when I do get a flare up I can cope with it easy as pie and it doesn’t stop me in my tracks.
Sleep is an incredibly powerful and important aspect of healing – I prioritise it above almost all else. An unfortunate situation has reduced the amount of sleep I am getting at the moment. Not because I’m sleeping badly, I sleep like a comatose hippopotamus as soon as my head hits the pillow and don’t wake until morning, this because I have an awesome sleep ritual (subscribe to thegrassisalwaysgreen.com and I’ll post up my recipe for sleep success when I get around to it…). I have had to do some late nights to get this situation sorted and the migraine just crept in today to say “g’day mate, hope you’re treating yourself well. I’m just gunna hang out with you today to make sure.”
Too many handstands yesterday may have also left too much blood up that way.
Whatever the cause, it really doesn’t bother me at all. I don’t need to lock myself in a dark room anymore.
I want to give you this gift because it is freaking awesome.
When The Pain Hits. Wherever It May Be.
Breathe and make space for the pain. We tend to try to distract from it and push it away. But the pain is trying to tell you something important (usually something about your lifestyle…) and if you push it away it will come back full force, worse than before. It wants you to notice and it will keep getting bigger until you do. So acknowledge it straight up, “Ah you cheeky bugger, I haven’t seen you in a while. Come to keep me out of mischief?”
Close your eyes or focus on a spot in the distance. Breathe deeply and send your breathe to where the pain is in your body. As you breathe, imagine expanding around the pain, making room for it instead of trying to close in on it and withdrawing.
Watch as the pain moves around in that space. Is it sharp or soft around the edges? Does it throb or stab? What colour is it? Does it change as you watch it? Giving your inner experience a form and a colour allows you step back from it and let it pass by without too much struggle.
There’s your pain and there’s you watching your pain. There will always be that Observer part of you that can’t be harmed by your pain. The Observer Self just watches with curiosity as the pain grips you. Tap into that Observer Self. Like you are the sky that can never be harmed by the weather, no matter how stormy.
There’s you and then there’s your pain. It does not define you and it cannot control you.
As you focus on the pain, start to slowly squeeze your fist very tightly closed. Place your clenched hand over the part of your body that is in pain. Imagine your clenched fist is part of that painful area, breathe and expand around the pain and your fist. As you breathe, slowly unravel your hand and feel as the tension slowly unravels from the painful area. Let the pain float out of your body and into the chair or floor under your body.
Breathe. Expand enough that you can have your pain there and then there is you watching your pain and then there is you still engaging fully in your life, not missing a thing. Your pain can force you to withdraw from life – don’t let it.
Practice this a few times in silence in a dark room with a lavender diffuser, somewhere calm and healing. After a few times you’ll be able to use this technique wherever you are, whatever hectic situation you are in. See the colours and clench up your fist while you continue to do what you are doing, and then you can happily sit with your ear next to Baby Bear while he screams in triumph when he wins Boom Beach and it won’t bother you in the slightest when before you would have torn strips off him for shouting while you have a migraine.