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With a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Nonfiction degree (Goucher College, August 2014), I am looking at a new phase in my life. From 1992 to 2009, I served as Founding Executive Director of Miriam's House, a residence for homeless women living with AIDS. I left this position when Chronic Migraine Disease overtook my ability to do my job. Now I hope that a writing career will both accommodate the migraines and give me a creative, productive outlet. And soon, September 4, I will launch my Inkshares author page in a bid to hit the 1,000 pre-order goal in 90  days. The book I want to publish is "Nowhere Else I Want to Be," a memoir of ten of my years at Miriam's House.

06 April 2012

"The Power of Now" and Pain: Make Some Room

Sixteenth in a series.

In this post I want to dig into the following sentence from my previous post:

"When we are focused on our pain, making it an emotional and mental problem in addition to it being physically distressing, "there is no room for anything new to enter, no room for a solution. So whenever you can, make some room, create some space, so that you find the life underneath your life situation." (page 63, The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle)

That phrase -- "make some room" -- speaks to me today.  I awoke at 3:30am with a migraine that I treated with medication, a cup of tea and homemade muffin.  What I am thinking now ( a bit fuzzily, due to the after effects of the migraine and the side effects of the medication), is that such homey little rituals, these small comfort measures, are one of the ways I have learned to make some space around my pain.

I like to revert to simple, practical tools and methods after several posts that are mostly discussion and theory, so today I'm making a list. 

These are the things I do to make some room around my pain; they help me "find the life" underneath my life situation.  Most of these things I have posted about before: you can find links to these posts in the column to the left by clicking on these tags: methods, tools, relaxation, inhabit the body.

I do love a good list.  This one provides several examples of how I make some room around my pain.
  1. I have already mentioned the cup of tea and a homemade muffin.  Scones and biscuits do just as well.  These comfort measures make room around the pain by doing for myself what my mother used to do for me when I first began getting migraines at age 13.  I feel nurtured, cared for, and that I am doing it for myself keeps me out of victim mode.
  2. As counter-intuitive as it may seem, the idea is not to flee from or deny the physical pain.  The idea is to inhabit it, befriend it.  Having offered myself some comfort and felt the space begin to open around the pain, I bring my attention to it.  I explore it, feel it.  Somehow, that takes its power away.  Not that the pain recedes automatically, but that I control how I relate to it.
  3. Another way to befriend the pain is to breathe into it.  There is nothing so common, so commonly taken for granted, and yet so wonderful for our spiritual health as is breathing.  I have posted often about this practice; use the column at the left and click on the label, breathing.
  4. Meditation and deep relaxation are the best for creating space around pain.  Yet a migraine robs me of my ability to concentrate, sort of a requisite for meditation.  Thank goodness, there are plenty of CDs out there with guided meditations, relaxing music and the like.  Look at all the examples here (guided meditation) and here (meditation music).

That's all for today.  It's time for another cup of tea.  And perhaps a muffin.


I would love to hear from you.  Please use the Comment box below, or email me at carold.marsh@gmail.com.  Thank you.

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