. . .U-u-u-m-m, I’m at it again. Another neuroscience class, mindfulness seminar, online PTSD meditation. So, I learned something that might help someone else. After thinking on this information, I thought, if our brains can give us so much trouble with retained images, enough to cause crippling PTSD. Well, why can’t we get some purchase on that and make our brains form associations that please and help us? So, I tried it.
It does work for me, but hear this about what I mean by ‘works’. NO, it does not lessen or relieve pain in a physical sense. Yes, it does release my emotions from the grip of physical pain and I can acknowledge the physical pain without ‘suffering’ over it.
I often wake in the night or very early morning hours with pain. This is where I began. When I would wake up, I would immediately make myself a cup of ‘special’ coffee (usually cafe international flavors), and I would go out on our deck, often wrapping in a blanket to be warm. I would listen, look, breathe in and I would consciously think about all the things that bring me joy, even just the thought of them causes my voice, expression and the feeling inside to change. I would think of knitting afternoons in a friend’s old Victorian home, on the porch with the hummingbirds whizzing through and the lovely, fresh mountain air. I would think of the music of ‘my generation’ and how many good memories that calls up and I would watch documentaries about favorite musicians, even began learning to play keyboard. I would think about how much I loved learning languages and traditions of other cultures, started to practice Irish. I would call to mind and think on the season changes and I’d find a good book, maybe one I’ve read already, by a favorite author.
Now, when I awake with pain, my mind takes that default – of those pleasant associations. No, as I said, the physical pain does not go away but the once attendant suffering does. I can lie quietly and enjoy a book, some music, knitting a shawl for a friend, holding and petting my favorite companion, dear Ruby. I can relax and accept that there is pain in my physical body and that I’m knowledgeable about that and do what I can to address it but that it does not have to control my expectations or mood.
Yes, you can make your brain develop positive associations in the face of pain. Best to you, and thank you. Lilie