Well, I’m sick. The first big sick I’ve had in a long time and definitely the strongest cold/illness I’ve had in the past two years. It was kind of inevitable that I would catch it as the in-laws brought it back from Nova Scotia with them and let’s just say there was quite a bit of coughing without the covering of one’s mouth! What do you say when someone does that? Surely you can’t say anything when you are in someone else’s house!? Yet, now I wish I had. Har har. Anyway, brutal sore throat, coughing which is keeping me up all night. Can’t swallow, nothing working. This is the first extended illness I’ve had in a while that has just made me want to stay in bed all day and I’m moving onto Day 5 of this now. So since I’ve had a lot of time by myself (the husband is avoiding me like the plague seeing as he is the last man standing in the house), and because I can’t sleep due to the coughing and sore throat, I have been working at employing some mindfulness techniques to get me through the more “challenging” of evenings. I have had some points in the night where I can’t stop coughing and can’t swallow and can’t sleep and more than any medicine, this is what has helped me the most and has even helped me to fall asleep: rather than try to evade the uncomfortability and the pain, I have been trying to sit with it, to get familiar with it and just become friends with it. So often we are trying to escape bad feelings, pain etc. We use many methods to distract ourselves from it or medicate ourselves so we don’t feel anything. I have found what is working for me is to sit and really think about how it is feeling while I am trying to fall asleep. To contemplate the nature of the pain in my throat and to practice some visualization and tonglen, breathing out the illness in the form of black smoke and breathing in refreshing health in the form of white light. I guess this is kind of a self healing reverse tonglen. Anyway, like I said, it seems to be the only thing that really makes me fall asleep or feel any better. All I have is a simple cold/flu. I know it will pass and this also makes me feel better. I can imagine that using this technique gets a bit more difficult once you are a patient battling cancer or another terminal illness. Yet still, people use it and it seems to have a lot of positive results. You can read more about tonglen here: http://www.shambhala.org/teachers/pema/tonglen1.php and a great article on sitting with uncomfortability can be found on this blog I just came across here: http://inthefootstepsofthebuddha.com/catching-a-cold-a-lesson-in-discovering-non-duality/.
In other news, I have just started reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin as part of an online book club I have been loosely following over the past few months. There are lots of tips in this book and as I get further into it and clear my current brain fog, I will write a bit more about them here. If you are interested in the book club, you can find it on Kimberly Wilson’s Tranquility Du Jour blog here: http://blog.kimberlywilson.com/2011/07/august-online-book-club-announcement.html. There are always good recommendations for books here on a variety of topics and the comments are not always plentitful but usually insightful.
Back to bed for me!
PS-Apparantly “uncomfortability” is not a word! Whatev’s!