Declining to burrow into my ache


“I can choose pieces of my life in which to puzzle together, even if I can’t design the shape of the pieces”—Sarah Mae, likeawarmcupofcoffee.com

 

The culprit, a headache. In this corner, my bed with Midol Complete, multi-symptom. And in this corner, my push lawn mower with iPod, Maroon 5.

I’m all for wonder drugs (FDA approved and in safe doses, kids). The Bayer Co. has my perpetual gratitude and loyalty because Midol, the queen of over-the-counter meds, rarely lets me down. But this time it didn’t make a dent. So I willed myself into my shoes, started the mower and cranked my iPod way too high for someone with a headache.

I don’t know if I can thank the smell of the fresh cut grass, the morning breeze, or Adam Levine’s voice boring into my head, but some combination created the perfect storm. Voila! What heavy concentrations of acetaminophen and caffeine couldn’t touch, a few minutes of sun and music did.

This was a timely case-in-point, since it was recently suggested to me that a major difference between westerners and easterners (as in globally) is that we westerners easily separate the mind from the body. We don’t hold a holistic view of the connection between the two, even though we are clearly made up of those parts.

Some examples we talked about were light (how it affects mood), colors (changing wall colors to create a new feeling), and physical actions like prayer positions (folded hands) and physical separation from a stressor. All of these tangible things affect our minds, which affect our intangible emotions. So, in a roundabout way, we do have some control over pain, minus medication. It’s called choice.

I tried popping a couple of pills to kill my headache. But it wasn’t technically a “medical” headache, so how could the medicine know where to position itself? Its powers were worthless there. It was more of a mind-ache that called for a holistic attack

All four of those ideas I just talked about with my friend had applied to my morning. The lighting (dark bedroom to a bright sun), colors (neutral ceiling to a blue sky), prayer position (I wasn’t offering up prayers through my ear buds, but a spring morning can be a pretty spiritual thing), and physical separation (out of the bed, into the world).

I can’t choose that my life’s direction has taken a sharp unexpected right, resulting in a few mind-aches, any more than I can choose whether or not I woke up with a headache. But I can choose to still drive—my life and my lawn mower.

Even though the rest of this particular day had a few downers, I choose to remember how it started out, which was pretty darn good. Because early on, I decided to not burrow into my ache. That spec of a moment may just carry me through the next rough spot that’s likely crouching around a corner.

Oh, and hey, my lawn’s mowed.


Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.