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When Dullness Erupts in Pain

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Knowing your triggers is really important. And everyone’s triggers are different. Mine seem to stem from too much heat in my body and a dullness of life that comes from too much “keeping it together.” Or more simply said, a buildup of held emotions that lead to a kind of chronic dissatisfaction the color of flat steely gray. The buildup ends in a terrible eruption. This time I felt it building, and wondered how and when it would explode, in a rage at my lover, my kids? Nope, in my head. It exploded in my head.

And this time I believe it doesn’t have to explode, that it can express itself without such violence.

I’ve lived a pretty happy-go-lucky life with regards to my health until I reached my 40s. Then perimenopause began to reek havoc on my body and mind. One health mystery after another. Migraines being the most excruciating. I’ve been getting them for nearly 10 years now as a monthly form of agony. I, thinking this was a horrifying new twist in my human experience, lived with them, powered through them, for a while, took fistfulls of over-the-counter pain relief. It did not relieve the pain, and I was worried about my liver, so I stopped. I was angry too and frustrated and having to take sick days from work. Add worry and anger to a migraine and the lightning-like sharpness becomes even more acute.

They were always bad, but at some point, they became worse, and then they became less. After six months migraine-free I found myself reeling again. Bed-ridden for two days, blinding pain, vomiting, and dark dark thoughts. After this I started reading up. Interestingly, not because of my pain, but because my 15-year-old son has started getting them and I could not bear the thought of him suffering like this. For him and not for myself is another exploration that I’m not going into right now—we might be here for days.

And there were gifts that I found as the pain began to subside.

I was forced to stop everything for 24 hours—no work, no computers, no Instagram, no books, no multitasking—thinking even was too much. The second 24 hours I was able to take short walks and contemplate simple things. Like how is my Mom doing, how is my friend I rarely talk to because both our lives are so “busy.” I took time to write down everything I was feeling mad about, sad about, disappointed about. I cried and grieved the loss of my beautiful children spreading their wings and flying away. I took detoxing baths and ate cooling calming, restoring foods, I was able to embrace my migraine as the detoxing I believe it is, and I felt my breath fill my body, could feel myself slowly coming alive again.

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The gifts: time, remembering others, release, detoxing, a fresh start, feeling alive again. Serotonin? Maybe.

 

What comes first, the chicken or the egg, the serotonin or the feeling that gets stepped over and over and over until a subtle dimness sets in? My experiment will explore the idea that the emotional comes before the physical. I do not hold that this is true for others. I can only report on my own experience. For me, the medicine is the same whichever comes first.

How can I get this refreshed, alive feeling in full blazing color when it has slid unwittingly to gray, without the pain?

Starting now, with you as my witness I commit to the following experiment. The first (Friday for me) of each month I will retreat for four hours into a cocoon of quiet reflection and restoration from which I can emerge anew. I will unplug, check out, focus on self-care. I will take time to show up for life’s disappointments, sadness, frustration, rage. I will take time to grieve them, so they can move through, out of the little corners where they’ve been tucked away for later, when I have more time.

It’s not that I don’t acknowledge these parts of myself in my daily practice. I do. I don’t always give them the time they need, sometimes to grieve. For whatever reason, maybe because I am the “only girl” or felt like I was only a girl in a family with three brothers (I was no cry baby). It’s so automatic to shut down such feelings that I don’t even know it’s happening. So for me, I must come to a full halt, let the world fall away and attend to this fragile and tender part of myself.

It’s not that I don’t acknowledge these parts of myself in my daily practice. I do. I don’t always give them the time they need, sometimes to grieve. For whatever reason, maybe because I am the “only girl” or felt like I was only a girl in a family with three brothers (I was no cry baby). It’s so automatic to shut down such feelings that I don’t even know it’s happening. So for me, I must come to a full halt, let the world fall away and attend to this fragile and tender part of myself.

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I invite you to join me, at the time and place of your choosing. The tender loving care of your choosing, a sacred space for the allowing of all that you’ve been holding together to be acknowledged, seen and released, so that you too can emerge anew. Let’s see together what kind of magic can be unleashed.

Then come back to this page and share what’s going on.

 

 

 

 

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