Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A Toothless Grin

Congratulations! Life's been going so spledidly, a migriane has come along to kick you you-know-where, just to remind you that life isn't all Skittles and beer. So now, instead of enjoying a nice summer afternoon with friends, you're locked in a dark, quiet room, whimpering.

   Now there are a couple of options as to what you can do while you're in the dark room. One of them is just to wallow in the misery of the migraine. I did this quite well for several years when my status migranous kicked into high gear. I just slept, up to 20 hours a day, and and avoided life in general. It seemed like my plan was working splendidly. I wasn't aware of the pain, I thought, when I was asleep. Only, I was still very aware of it when I was awake, and I was totally, completely incapable of handling anything. My doctors stepped in, and made me snap out of the sleeping pattern.  I fought them as hard as a limp rag could. It didn't work too great as a form of resistance, which kinda proved their point.
    All this means that wallowing in the pain and suffering of the migraine wasn't an answer at all. There had to be something better; something that I could really hold onto when life kicked me in the teeth. I floated around with resentment for a couple of months, but that didn't really get me through the pain any better than sleeping had. So it was time for something completely different:

 I learned to smile.

    And I do mean learned. I'm not talking about the fake, grit-your-teeth, false smile that I'd used for so long when people asked me how I was doing and I didn't want to tell the truth. No, I mean that I truely took life by the neck and explained to it that it was too going to be pleseant. I found a phrase and internalized it:
"In this moment, you are perfect."
    This was incredibly difficult to actually come to believe. But then it came to me, that this one sentence was true if I accepted something else; that life is not just about the big picture. No, the big picture is made up of millions and millions of moments. Each moment is unique, and should not be compared to the past or the future moments. That's not to say that you shouldn't learn from one moment to the next. (A girl who was in the lecture where I realized this had great difficulty in holding onto that concept.) Rather, every moment should be enjoyed for all that has led up to it, and for all that it will help build in the future moments.

    Another way of thinking about this idea of a "moment", is thinking of each day as Christine Miserandino does in the very well known Spoon Theory. (If you don't know the Spoon Theory, please, take a moment and go read it.) For each spoon we spend each day, is the culmination of a moment. This means that there aren't unlimited moments each day, as, as in the Spoon Theory, we are gifted with a different, limited number of spoons each day.
    What I came to discover and internalize was that, as soon as my mind had been made up as to how to use a spoon, I had made the perfect choice. What I had done before, and what I would do with the rest of my spoons actually relied on  this moment being perfectly spent.

Now when I start to beat myself up because of the Migraine Trip From Hell, I remember that, in this moment, I'm doing my best, and that's all that anybody can reasonably ask of me. And so, when life has kicked me in the teeth, I give it a toothless grin and remember that, in that moment, I am perfect.

Quantum in me fuit,

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