Lately, James Pennebaker’s Writing to Heal really helped me through recovery from a major surgery. Timothy Wilson in Redirect: Changing the Stories We Live By talks about how well this form of expressive writing as therapy has been studied. Turns out, it works to simply write about what’s bugging you in a completely honest, focused fashion for 20 minutes a day for 4 days. Better than some talk therapy for some post traumatic stress. If you live on the Front Range in Colorado you are welcome to join our Front Range Chronic Pain meetup to work with the Sane in Pain writing process with me in person.
Sane in Pain‘s personal pain management system helps you figure out your best options and regain your sanity, even find your happiness in constant pain. Part 1 of Sane in Pain is available as an ibook while the book’s completed. I’m feeling renewed gratitude for all my friends and teachers who help me. Here’s a partial list of resources to reach them and others who help me manage my pain and live with a ridiculous amount of joy, regardless of the pain I’m in. Your biggest resource is your willingness to ask every day, “What do I see, know and do that helps me? What can I do?”
Skip to the end of living in fear of the pain! Start meditating, #1 on WebMD’s list of 11 things to do in Chronic Pain. Any practice will do for a beginning. Even if you don’t believe it will help, try it. Scientific research has proved that it will.
You can learn my 21 Breaths technique and use it anywhere, even the dental chair.
Free mainstream meditation sources that I use often include Deepak Chopra, Sounds True, and Integral Enlightenment.
Geshe Jamyang Tsultrim leads meditations at the Nalanda Institute in Olympia, WA.
Advanced practitioners, check out How to Be Sick by Toni Bernhard.
My late spiritual friend Cecilie Kwiat’s recorded teachings will soon be offered by Novayana Institute.
If the Buddhist (or any religious) connection annoys you, try the One Minute Meditation. It’s where I started.
And here’s an article about “Meditation for Strivers” from a recent New Yorker blog for the capitalist view, where he quotes Dan Harris in the bestselling 10% Happier: “Meditation suffers from a towering PR problem.… If you can get past the cultural baggage, though, what you’ll find is that meditation is simply exercise for your brain.”
If you can’t bear to sit still, to calm yourself down, listen to some Eckhart Tolle or your favorite music or read something that inspires you. Or take a walk in the woods or sit in a park. Make some art. Help someone.
And get some rest! A recent study found that approximately two-thirds of patients with chronic back pain suffered from sleep disorders. When you wake up, before you rise, think of six things you’re grateful for. Recently scientists have begun to chart a course of research aimed at understanding gratitude and the circumstances in which it flourishes or diminishes. They’re finding that people who practice gratitude consistently report a host of benefits:
Stronger immune systems and lower blood pressure
Higher levels of positive emotions — more joy, optimism, and happiness
Acting with more generosity and compassion
Feeling less lonely and isolated.
–Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley
On the 2nd anniversary of her passing, with thanks to my beloved friend and teacher, Cecilie Kwiat, and permission from Novayana: