Monday, May 10, 2010

Day 23 - Headaches, Painkillers and the Tic Toc of the Biological Clock




I have another confession.

Yesterday, I wrote about nurturing and taking care of yourself with the Mama Salute. The example I gave was resting in child's pose during my sun salutation to soothe my headache. It did help, but not enough for me to eat and be social at the family mother's day dinner, so I popped an Advil. I'm not going to lie, the painkillers worked better than the sun salutations, and the throbbing pain in my head subsided, so I had seconds, talked a lot and stayed up late.

I bet you're wondering, "What's the problem with that?"

Well, my friends, the major problem with relieving my headache with a painkiller is that the headache was still there backstage. I just couldn't feel it. My poor body was trying to tell me something like, "Please rest, go to bed early, and avoid traveling and lots of activity." Instead of listening, I silenced my sensors with a pill and I acted the opposite way I was feeling. The result? I woke up with another headache today, because I didn't do what my body was requesting in the first place, so I made things worse.

Pain is always a signal for attention. For instance, I touch a hot burner on the stove and I feel pain so that I know to remove my hand from the burning surface. If I didn't feel the pain, then I wouldn't know to remove my hand and I would end up with a third degree burn. Similarly, my headache was most likely signaling the fact that I need quiet time and more sleep. Had I done this, I would have woken up refreshed and energized today. But, I didn't. My head was aching and I felt exhausted. Nevertheless, I refused to take another painkiller.

Despite feeling sensitive and tired, Craig and I launched into one of our 'what if' discussions over oatmeal. Today's 'what if' talk was about having kids, a topic which surfaced in light of mother's day and Craig's mom sweetly and innocently wishing me "Happy future Mother's Day" on the phone last night. (I guess we are at that age...)

Anyway, Craig and I started joking around about who would be a more strict parent, him or I. He says, I'll be more strict and "health conscious" and he'll bring home Fruit Loops and be more fun. The discussion was funny at first, then we began arguing over the merits of raising kids vegetarian and circumcising babies. I am, of course, for vegetarianism, at least until my (imaginary) kids are old enough to choose, but totally against circumcision. Craig is against the idea of bringing children up as vegetarians and thinks circumcision is a good idea. After some debate, things turned serious.
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When Craig is upset, he becomes quiet and starts randomly putting things away. He answers in short words and avoids eye contact. After some coaxing, he said he thinks I'm stubborn and that I always need to have things done my way. He might be right. But, all this is hypothetical and far off anyway, I said, laughing it off. He gave me a look like it wasn't.

I think Craig, at 30, might be almost ready to "settle down." We've talked about that too. I admit, I have started thinking about family and kids, but right now my biological clock feels very separate from me, like ticking of the clock inside the alligator in Peter Pan. I hear it coming and honestly, it scares the shit of me.

On another note, I officiated my Monday afternoon 108 practices at Om West today. I will now be doing my 108 sun salutations every Monday from 2:30 to 4:30 (ish) and am inviting people to join me.* Nobody else showed up this afternoon, but this didn't bother me. I really enjoyed practicing at my own pace while listening to the Fugees.

Today's sun salutation was inspired by my headache, which now almost gone by the way. This is the practice I should have spent more time doing yesterday.

Surya Namaskar Receipe: Day 23 - The Headache Relieving Salute
(You will need a few blocks for this one.)

1- Start in Mountain Pose and have either a chair or a stack of wooden blocks nearby. Breathe deeply.
2- Without lifting your shoulders, INHALE, raise your arms.
3- EXHALE, fold forward and rest your head on the stack of blocks or on a chair. (A table works too.)
4- Stay here for ten breaths to three minutes.
5- When you are ready to exit the forward bend, INHALE and lengthen your spine.
6- EXHALE and slowly lower to your knees for child's pose. Sit back on your heels and rest your forehead on the floor or on a block.
7- Hold the child's pose for any length of time between ten breaths and three minutes.
8- After child's pose, make your way into downward dog and rest your head on a block or two.
9- Again, hold this pose for as long as you can.
10 - To exit, slowly bend your knees and walk forward to the top of the mat.
11- INHALE, lengthen your back.
12- EXHALE, release back into the supported forward bend with your head on the stack of blocks or chair.
13- Hold for ten breaths or so, then slowly bend your knees and roll up the spine coming back up to Mountain pose. Keep your arms by your side.
14- Finish with five to ten breaths in mountain pose.


* I am accepting donations to the CNIB. To donate online: click here





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