It's been another busy week of my car going into a different garage to attend to a different repair, lunches with friends, extra shifts to pay for all this car debt, decorating the spare bedroom and spending time with family and finally going to see the latest Downton Abbey film, which I loved!
In between all of this, I am getting one side effect in particular from Aripiprazole. Honestly, you can't win with mental health meds - you find something that fixes your mood, only to have it cause this irritating restlessness instead. The CALM app is becoming my saviour. I'm using it most nights to meditate before bed and try and calm my mind and body.
This past week I've been doing a 7 day practice to soothe pain, narrated by Oren Jay Sofer who is one of the CALM app's meditation teachers and authors. It's been about finding balance with emotional, physical and mental pain. It is so easy to get tangled up in pain and discomfort to the point it takes up a disproportionate amount of our time and energy. This practice is learning how to soften the intensity by redirecting our attention. I think of people walking on hot coals here, although they choose to do that!
My takeaways are sensations, compassionate awareness, investigating and visualisation. I'll explain..
In one of the lessons, we had to focus on the sensation of our breathing and then explore physical sensations (like touching my lips together) to distract ourselves from the pain whilst meditating.
Another lesson was about compassionate awareness. Connecting with the warmth and kindness of a favourite person. Putting a hand on my heart to practice receiving self compassion. And imagining a younger version of myself that I could send compassion and empathy to.
A good reminder was investigating my pain. Notice the sensation. Where is it? How big is it? How does it feel? Then we would take a break and return to neutral reference whilst continuing the meditation.
I've always struggled with visualisation as a concept, but I liked the suggestions when using it for soothing pain. They made sense to me. Visualise the feeling of compassion like a weighted blanket - and I love my weighted blanket and rarely meditate without it. Another lesson - visualise a warm, golden light stream filled with soothing, healing energy flowing through your whole body, bringing ease and relaxation deep into your bones. Allow your body to rest in this light. When you're ready, allow the visual to fade. Let the light dissolve into your body. For some reason, this one worked well for that restlessness and for the constant fibro pain in my back.
The whole series just got me thinking about things in a different way and that's what I like about CALM.
Blogging is an amazing concept so here I am giving it a whirl. You'll get words. You'll get pics. Sometimes a vid or two. You'll get tongue in cheek, the odd humble opinion and an honest insight into my travels and writing life. Maybe even a few gems along the way. I'll be musing on home turf as I see more and more of the UK and sharing my experiences further afield on holidays and adventurous trips across the globe.