How Could Seven Minutes Save My Life?
Pain, Pain, Pain.
I couldn't eat....I couldn't sleep. For months. My back, my legs, my head -everything was racked with pain. ALL THE TIME.
I had no energy. When I would get out of bed to walk 25 feet to my bathroom, I had to stop after 10 feet to sit on the couch and get enough energy to go the rest of the way.
My mind was in a fog. My husband -recently married, poor guy - was going nuts. I couldn't work. I couldn't do housework. To make dinner, I would start in the morning...as soon as I got up I would get a pot out of the cupboard and put it on the stove. Little by little, through the day, I would manage enough steps to get some food cooked for my husband's dinner after he got home from work.
I had been having some health problems here and there. And I've always had struggles with my tummy and digestion. But I was mostly an active, outdoors person, full of motion, eagerness, and curiosity.
Then everything eroded quickly. There was no trigger event that I can pinpoint; my health just collapsed like a landslide. I couldn't keep food down. I had chronic migraines. I went to Dr's and specialists, Naturopaths, all kinds of professionals. Sometimes they would suggest some pills to "try these and see if they help." They said possibly IBS, stress colitis, GERD...maybe it's wheat, maybe it's dairy. I tried elimination diets; I was tested for Celiac, I had biopsy. And more. More of everything, except answers. More of everything, except feeling better for even one day. And more pain, more pain, and more fear.
Every time I looked in the mirror I could see how the pain marked my face and aged me so quickly. My eyes looked back at me, like a soul lost beyond human hope... so alone, so small, and so afraid.
The Moment of Change
Finally one day I looked to the sky and cried out: "What do I have, besides pain? I have no joy, no love, no work to support me, no food to nourish me, no sleep to heal me, no one to help me. WHAT DO I HAVE THAT ISN'T PAIN???
All went still around me...
and then a soft thought, like a quiet voice, came into my head:
"You have a mind, and you can think your own thoughts."
I grabbed at that thought like a drowning girl grabs a life ring.
"YES! To my dying day, I can and I will think my own thoughts.
I will CHOOSE my thoughts!"
Then the second thought followed:
"I have a heart, and I can feel grateful...grateful for my mind and my thoughts."
Hope and Courage
Through the pain, I began to exercise my mind and practice gratitude. I would recite the botanical names of the plants from my horiticultural work. I practiced the multiplication tables. I worked on my memory, recalling the very first thing I could remember in my life, and working up from there. Pain would only allow a few minutes of concentration, so I began to challenge the pain: "For Seven Minutes I will do this crossword, pain or no pain. Pain won't stop me."
I looked for things to be grateful for. "For Seven Minutes I will be grateful for my 5 senses, my eyes that see, my ears that hear, my nose, my mouth, my skin. Pain or no pain, I will be grateful. Pain won't stop me from feeling and speaking my gratitude."
This Seven Minute practive of gratitude, performed several times daily, became my lifeline, and built a new foundation that grounded me and allowed me to become the self-healer that I needed to be, on my long journey of recovering my life. In my next post I include a recording of the actual Gratitude Practice, as my gift to you. Aloha, Linda