In my post, Fear the ultimate captor, I mention attending a 6 week class that taught me how to adapt and adjust my life as it is now, after my fibromyalgia diagnosis, rather than still insisting on trying to live as though I didn’t have constant pain. The first week I came away realizing and trying my hardest to put into practice the idea that other people can do / finish things for me and it’s important to listen to my body and take breaks.
Back in class the next week we focused on meditation. The idea of meditating to me sounded good in theory. Just clear my mind, relax and just let it all go. Sounds so great! Why haven’t I been doing this earlier? Ha! putting the theory into practice was another thing. In our class we all were supposed to lie flat on the floor with our palms up and our feet out. Savasana – it even sounds relaxing doesn’t it ssaaaahhhhhvaaasssannnaaaaahhhhh. Except my back was hurting, my hips were hurting and my neck and shoulders were tense because of the pain I was feeling elsewhere, and stress of work and family, etc. Complaints rang out among the class as well. Without missing a beat, the instructor waved his hands in the air around his head and said, “Damn those gnats. Annoying aren’t they?” Another purple, three-headed alien moment for the class. He went on to explain;
The things that get in the way of a clear mind, whether it be pain, stress, thoughts about work or the future… are all gnats. They are real. They are there. But they are just annoyances that can’t really bother you and get in the way of where you’re headed.
Gnats? Gnats, Y’know the tiny little bugs that seem to swarm you when your on a walk in any area that isn’t urban. The more you swat at them the more annoying they become until you finally just stop thrashing about and calmly continue on.
This was the point.
We kept complaining and “swatting” at the things that were annoying us but there was nothing we could do about them but accept them and move on. Notice your pain. It’s there. Its real. Its annoying. Does it have to keep you from accepting it and moving on? No.
Meditation is the art of focusing on your breathing and relaxation while bringing your mind to a peaceful place. I meditate in the morning. It gives me energy and focus. The key for me is to meditate before I get out of bed. It seems to calm my pain down some so I can go further in the day without exhaustion. The thing about trying new things is you do have to give them a little while to work. You can’t just do this once and say that it doesn’t work and drop it. Good habits take more time and conscious effort than bad habits take to form but good habits are well worth forming. It is very important to start. very. slowly. and stop. before. its. too. much.
Set a timer of some kind for 3 minutes. Lie on your back on your bed. Your head comfortably on your pillow. Your hands gently on your stomach. Feel your stomach rise and fall with your breath. Breathe in bringing the warm breath all the way to your toes, slowly. Feel your stomach rise. Breathe out feeling the breath filling each cell with energy as your stomach falls, slowly. Breathe like this for the duration of the 3 minutes. Picture in your mind sitting by a stream in front of beautiful mountain. Pay attention to your slow deep breathing. Feel your stomach rise and fall with each energizing breath. Listen to the sounds you hear. The babbling brook. The birds. The wind in the grass. Just breathe and listen. As you breathe in, allow your stomach to rise and feel the warmth of the sun on your skin. Feel that warmth traveling through your body. As you breathe out notice any tension or pain. Just notice it. Breathe out and notice the tension and pain becoming less as your stomach falls slowly. Just be. When the timer goes off slowly wiggle your fingers, and toes. Bend your knees and hug them to your chest (or as close as you can – it should fee like a stretch across your back – not pain at all). Breathe in squeeze your knees. Breath out roll up to sitting. It is very important to stick strictly to the time for the first 2 weeks while you are training your body. After 2 weeks you can add one minute a week. Until you feel it gets in the way of your day. Another thing that brings energy and health to muscles is a full glass of water. I usually do this with my pills after I pee.
Here are some more helpful links;