Can meditation calm fibromyalgia symptoms?

Can meditation calm fibromyalgia symptoms?

What is meditation?

The word meditation likely brings up many images or ideas about what that word means. The truth is that it means different things to different people. With that in mind, let’s take a look at meditation.

When most of us think of meditation, we think of stopping the mind, a meditation technique (such as watching a flame or repeating a mantra or watching the breath), or of a state of bliss. In truth, these things are part of meditation, but they are not the whole picture.

For me, the goal of meditation is twofold. It increases awareness; awareness of our thoughts, our bodies, our emotions. It also increases our awareness of the life around us  . . . or our external experience.

Meditation is also a practice that reconnects us to our Calm Inner Presence.  Presence is a valuable resource in our lives and includes the qualities of calmness, clarity, equanimity, compassion, creativity, and connectedness.

Meditation is not connected to or owned by any religious or spiritual group although many religious and spiritual groups include meditation in their practices. Therefore, meditation, in and of itself is non-denominational.

 

Meditation and the harnessing the mind

Have you ever tried to stop the mind? It really doesn’t work. The mind is like any other organ in the body. It has a job to do and its job is to think, just as the heart’s job is to pump blood and oxygen through our body 24/7. So, to try to stop the mind is a losing endeavor and we can become caught up in fighting with the mind, which is not helpful when “meditating.”

Yet, by sitting and watching the breath or a candle flame, we can create mini-vacations from the mind. In those mini-vacations, the mind is silent for a few moments or longer. Those gaps grow over time are helpful in allowing the mind, body and nervous system to relax.

Bringing your attention to a positive statement or mantra, helps us to break up the chain of habitual and life negative thoughts. Over time, those positive statements become part of our data base and balances the life negative thoughts.

 

Meditation builds patience and compassion

Initially when we sit to meditate, we will often lose our focus very quickly. At this point, most of us berate ourselves for losing our focus. But not to worry, losing your focus is part of the process. The important thing is that as soon as you notice that you have lost your focus, you simply bring your focus back to the technique. It is as simple as that.

This has a twofold purpose. Becoming aware that you are thinking again and have lost your focus builds awareness. Bringing your focus back to your technique begins to harness the mind.

 

What is the best meditation technique?

There are many meditation techniques and you may wonder which the best technique is. We are going to bring our idea of bio-individuality to meditation just as we have with all the other topics we have discussed. The perfect meditation technique for you will be the one that works the best for you. Period.

But, where to start? What meditation technique will work the best for you? Consider how you process life. Are you more visually oriented, mentally oriented or tactile (sensation) oriented? If you are visually oriented, you might want to choose a visual meditation technique such as gazing at a candle flame or imagining a particular image. If you are mentally oriented, you might choose a word, affirmation, or mantra that resonates with you. If you are tactile oriented, you might want to choose a sensation such as feeling the breath moving in the body or other sensations in the body.

Experiment with different techniques and see which one works the best for you. How do you know if it works? You will notice an increased sense of relaxation and calmness. As you continue your practice, you will notice periods of stillness or quietness followed by periods of activity. The periods of stillness or quietness increase, you may notice a detachment from your thoughts and even from the meditation technique.

Reclaim your Power of Choice

Meditation brings greater awareness of your thoughts, emotions, sensations, and spiritual essence. As your awareness increases, you have the ability to consciously choose rather than to unconsciously react to happenings within you and in your world.

You become more aware of how your thoughts, feelings, words and actions impact you and the world around you. As awareness increases, you begin to make more and more choices that will bring you back to a place of balance, calmness, relaxation, peace and harmony.

 

Connect with your calm inner Presence

Within in each of us is a calm inner Presence. That Presence is found in the gap between the thoughts.

Presence is our spiritual essence. The spark of God or Consciousness that lives within your heart and in every cell of your body.  You can allow this part of you to guide you through your life and assist you in creating more harmony, health, groundedness, and peace in your daily life. It can become a trusted guide as you navigate life’s challenges. It can be your anchor during your ups and downs.

Once you have tasted balance, peace and harmony, you will want more of it. It will become more important to you than things that pull you away from inner peace.

 

How does this help fibromyalgia?

With meditation the body, mind and nervous system can relax. You can move from fight, flight or freeze into, rest relax and repair. This is the foundation for rebuilding your health. Your body knows how to heal itself. But is needs to be in rest, relax and repair mode to be able to heal the body. In the rest cycle, the body makes repairs, removes toxins and allows your whole system to reset.

 

Contemplation for this week:

  1. Are my thought primarily negative or positive?
  2. How busy is my mind . . . just notice the busy-ness.
  3. Am I able to redirect my mind to thoughts of my choosing?
  4. How do I naturally relate to the world? Visually, mental, or sensory?
  5. Try sitting for 5 minutes each day just watching your breath. What happens?

In truth, meditation is very simple, but not always easy. It is helpful to have a teacher or group to assist you on the journey. Believe me, the mind will draw you away and it is helpful to have someone or a group to pull you back. 

Stay tuned. I am working on a group program to help with this process.  Not just meditation, but many tools to reconnect to our body, emotions, heart and spirit.  and begin the process of healing from the inside out.

May you connect with your calm inner Presence, 💗Bindu

Stay tuned

I am still working on the program that I will be launching.

More information coming soon.

5 Ways To Reduce Holiday Stress

5 Ways To Reduce Holiday Stress

The holiday season brings a great deal of joy and warmth along with it.  There’s something extra special about this time of year — but it doesn’t come without fault.  A great deal of added stress is seemingly dumped on our plates, and it can be hard to catch our breath.  The pressure of finding gifts, rushing around in the hustle and bustle to visit everyone, having people visit you, getting to see relatives you miss and even having to deal with those that aren’t always a joy to be around.

This season really can be enjoyable and heart-warming, even with the stress involved.  Walking into this time of year with a great mindset and some helpful reminders gets me through every year… and I’d love to share my tips on how I do this with you.

To reduce holiday stress, try these suggestions:

Remember perfect doesn’t really exist

Your cookies turned out like blobs. Your lights aren’t lighting up. Your kids just made a mess of your clean house moments before the guests are arriving. Surrender your vision of what perfect is and just let it go. The only thing the people in your life care about is being with you.

Don’t feel bad about saying “no.”

You can’t do it all. There’s no reason you need to go to every party and event from now through New Year’s. Decide which ones are most important to attend and politely decline the others. Spreading yourself too thin isn’t good for anyone, and it makes the time fly by faster, also. You’ll enjoy the holiday months better if they don’t whiz by in a blink.

Eat Mindfully

Make a plan before hand on how to eat mindfully.  When holidays come around there may be foods that you don’t normally eat or that upset your digestion or provide unwanted calories.  What will you choose without being too rigid with your diet?   Where will you hold the line so that you don’t go overboard?

Please don’t decide to starve yourself to compensate for the extra calories you had or are going to have at that holiday party. If you do slip up, forgive yourself and make a point to be more mindful. Don’t punish yourself for any mistakes. Just move forward with better decisions, no punishment involved.

Know that asking for help is okay

Let me repeat: you can’t do it all. Let family and friends help out when they offer. They can bring a dish, grab something from the store on their way, or help with the dishes. If you have to go to someone’s party and don’t have the time to make something, grab something pre-made from the store. There comes a time when we all need help and learning how to accept it will be incredibly beneficial for your sanity.

Fit in time for yourself

Women, in particular, spend less than 30 minutes a day on themselves. Go for a walk, get your favorite tea at the corner café and sit there in peace, rest, take a nap, read a book, take a bath, or make time with your best friend to just have one-on-one time without your kids tagging along. You’ll feel full again, which renews your mind and spirit like nothing else. We can’t give from an empty cup, as the saying goes.

Remember, the holidays are about joy. Find yours within, and you’ll be able to spread more of it around.  What makes you feel most joyful?

May you have a joyful holiday season, 💞💕Bindu

 

Please Hear My Pain, Pt 4

Please Hear My Pain, Pt 4

Please Hear My Pain Pt 4

The last few weeks, we have been exploring the need raised by women with fibromyalgia in relation to feeling heard.  We have addressed these 3 areas:

  1. We have looked at why other people cannot understand our experience as they don’t know it experientially.
  2. We have looked at how to tune into our bodies and listen to our own inner voice that may be calling for your attention.
  3. We have looked at the kinds of messages you inner knowing might be sending you.

Today, we are going to look at how to communicate in a way that we are more likely to be heard and will be able to get our needs met.  Which perhaps is the whole point of being heard.

I am a fan of Marshall Rosenberg’s books and training on Nonviolent communication.  He is brilliant at helping us to identify what we feel and what we are truly needing.  By identifying our feeling and our need, we can more clearly ask for what we want and be more likely to get our needs met.

His process identifies four steps in communication:

  1. What I observe; what happened.
  2. What I felt
  3. What I need
  4. Request

Mastering the process takes some self-inquiry to get to the root of what we need and how to request it.   Often we are asking for help, but not clearly understanding what we need.   Nonviolent communication lays out a process of self-inquiry that helps us get in touch with our feelings and the unmet need under what we are feeling.

Learning this process changed my life.  I am now better able to get my needs met.  Sometimes, I realize that I can fulfill that need myself.  Other times, I am able to communicate to others in a way that I get heard and my request is received and fulfilled.  If one person cannot fulfill my request, I can always find other ways to get the need met.

Learning Nonviolent communication was a process, not an event.  After I read the book and began trying to put it into practice, more often that not, I missed the mark.  With continued practice, I got better and now it feels natural to me and the harmony in my relationships and the ability to get my needs heard and met reflects that.

I invite you to explore this further.   Here are links to specific products that can get you started in learning Nonviolent Communication

May all your needs be heard and met.  💗Bindu

Please Hear My Pain Pt 2

Please Hear My Pain Pt 2

Do you hear your own pain beyond the physical pain? 

Last week in Please Hear My Pain Pt 1, I talked about the need to feel heard and how other people couldn’t understand our experience.  This week, we are going to explore a deeper level of hearing your own pain.

Is your body talking to you?

The body holds an intelligence of its own, separate from your mind.  When the body is in pain, it is trying to tell us something.  For those of us with fibromyalgia, the body is literally screaming at us.   It may have something to say that we are not hearing. This does not mean we do not support the body on a physical level.   It means that we take into consideration our body’s input when making decisions about our health.

Your body is a valuable resource

Often in the experience with fibromyalgia, we think of the body as the enemy.  The body has betrayed us.  What if the opposite is true?  What if your body is your friend?  What if your body is trying to guide you to improved health?  What if your body and inner knowing is trying to guide you to discovering a happier, healthier, more fulfilling life experience?

Are you listening?

Are you listening to your body?  Can you hear what your body is trying to tell you?  So often, when we feel pain, we look outside of ourselves for the solution.  In today’s society, we are conditioned to do that.  The doctor or alternative health practitioner is the expert on our illness.  We look to them for answers. We don’t understand that if we learned to listen to our body and understand what it is telling us, that we could unravel our own pain.  We don’t know that we are the expert on our own body and that our body is the expert on our health.

After a doctors appointment where I felt dismissed and misunderstood, I realized that in 15 minutes I was trying to convey how I felt.  I was with my body 24/7.  I was very intimate with my own body.  It wasn’t possible for me to communicate the depth of my experience with anyone else or for them to understand it.

At the time, I wasn’t sure what to do with this.  As I began to take more responsibility for my health and make my own decisions, I realized that I knew my body best and needed to be proactive about my health choices.

This doesn’t mean that we don’t work with doctors or alternative practitioners.  It does mean that we partner with them.  We can do our own research.  We can tell our health practioners what works and what doesn’t.  We can share with them our own insights and intuitions.  Sometime, we can resolve symptoms by ourself, just by listening to our body.

How can we understand what our body is trying to tell us?

The body speaks through the vehicle of sensation.  We can learn to communicate with our body.  By being present with the sensations/pain, we can begin to tap into the underlying wisdom of the body. The first step is to learn to be present with your body.  Here are some steps that you can use:

  1. Turn off music, phones, television and put a do not disturb sign on the door.
  2. Get yourself in a comfortable lying position on a firm surface.
  3. Slow down and deepen your breath.
  4. Begin to feel the weight of your body against the surface you are lying on.
  5. As you breathe, focus on letting your body soften into the support of the surface.
  6. Do this for several moments.
  7. As the body relaxes, take time to be present with the sensations / pain in your body.
  8. Notice the tendency to recoil from the pain/sensation or drift into thinking.
  9. When you notice this, focus on your breath and invite your body and mind to relax.
  10. Breathe in deeply and exhale with a sigh.
  11. Allow yourself to be present with the sensation.
  12. Repeat steps 7 through 11 until you can feel more comfortable with the pain/sensation.

As you remain present with the sensation, begin to explore it. Here are some questions you can ask to go deeper:

  1. Where is the strongest sensation?
  2. Is there a color, shape or texture to the sensation?
  3. Notice if you feel an emotion.  If so, allow yourself to feel the emotion.
  4. Ask the sensation if it has a message for you or is trying to tell you something.
  5. Notice the conversation that comes into your mind. What are you thinking about?
  6. Be aware of pictures or images that arise.

This process will begin to open the communication with your body.  Sometimes tension will release just by being present with it.  As you work with this, you can begin to create a healthy, loving, harmonious relationship with your body.  This is a first step in reconnecting with your inner wisdom.

Weekly Practice

Take some time this week to explore connecting with your body.  Take 15 minutes a day to spend focused on your body.  It will help you repair your relationship with your body.  Your body needs to be your ally rather than your enemy.  It wants to be healthy.  It wants you to be happy and fulfilled.

Next week, I will talk more about listening to the body and hearing your own pain.

May you and your body become friends, ❤Bindu

Creative Ways to Relax and Unwind

Creative Ways to Relax and Unwind

Discovering Creative Ways Relax and Unwind

Perhaps you have tried journaling and removing negative energy and situations from your life. Maybe you have tried various forms of yoga and taking in a nighttime routine. You have a stash of essential oils and all the diffuser jewelry and devices a person could think of. The problem is you still find that you need to relax more and escape the daily grind. If this sounds like your situation, then consider these methods of finding more ways to relax and unwind.

Think Outside of the Box

The first way to find more ways to relax and unwind is to think outside of the box. The common ways to relax are to exercise, use yoga, color, meditate, and even to just breathe. You need to think outside of the box. Stop looking at the common methods that others use and look to what makes you happy and relaxes you. Don’t think about what other people will think of your relaxation techniques, just do them. For some this could be writing, knitting, crafting, gardening or even cleaning. Whatever works for you, do that. It is your stress, your relaxation, and your journey.

Be Comfortable in Being Alone

One way to find new ways to relax is to be comfortable with being alone. This doesn’t mean being lonely. It means being alone and being okay with that. Finding out about you and the person you are when no one else is there. This is usually the hardest part of finding more ways to relax, because you start to see what your issues are and where your stress may be coming from. You may experience anxiety, but through that anxiety you will find ways that help you relax and those may surprise you. Let the process happen and just take some evenings by yourself to discover what makes you happy and what relaxes you.

Look to Childhood Influences

Sometimes the simplest of things that we used to relax as a child can help us relax now. It may seem silly but think back to the things you found relaxing as a child or a teenager. You can even look to things you found relaxing in your early 20s. These things may still relax you and may have been forgotten over the years. Look to those and see what may still work for you, what holds and interest, and what you could apply into your life now.

The key is finding what works for you. 

They key to relaxing and unwinding is to keep it from becoming just another thing to do. For example, some people prefer to avoid the gym because paying a fee makes the gym a to-do list instead of a want to do list item. Make sure you are doing what you love and not what you feel you have to do.

Experiment with these ideas and let me know what you discover for yourself.  

May your relax and unwind, 💗Bindu