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Mental Spew & The Walking Meditation - Body by Henson, brain by Seuss. [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Kelly J. Cooper

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Mental Spew & The Walking Meditation [Oct. 21st, 2009|06:56 am]
Kelly J. Cooper

Yes, I DO have some logorrhea goin' on.

Sorry, friends list!

I actually did a walking meditation on Friday morning. It wasn't an ideal time - even though I got up early, I had a lot of stuff to do before I could leave so I ended up running late. And it wasn't under ideal conditions - I'd been in bed for 3-4 hours without sleeping, although I think I dozed just before the alarm went off. I shoulda just hopped in the car, but I really wanted to walk. I really wanted to try this meditation.

My meditation was based on the articles I read here: http://www.wildmind.org/walking/overview

It emphasizes being in your body - not thinking, just experiencing.

The first thing I realized is that I have no idea how to relax a muscle while I am using it. I can't actually sufficiently understand that idea to physically implement it in any way, shape, or form.

The second thing I discovered was that my chatty brain talks a lot to distract me from the fact that my knees hurt, my hips hurt, my back hurts (in three separate places - small of my back, the damaged bit next to my right scapula, and my shoulders/neck), and my neck felt like it was a fragile stem about to snap. Eventually, my hips loosened as I warmed up, so that pain faded.

I had one zen moment, on Oxford Street, just before it turns left & becomes Kirkland, where the sidewalk is newly bricked and smooth and there's over 100 feet of straight visibility and I let my eyes go soft-focus and I felt myself shift into the zone. Of course, as soon as I noticed it, I blew it & couldn't get it back.

I was so ANGRY! Oh man. Not at the blowing the zen bit at the end, but the whole thing. I walk! It's one of my things! Why can't I have it without constant pain!?!?

I spent a fair bit of the weekend processing the whole thing - yes I know that's the opposite of what's intended, but I needed to work through why I was so angry and whether this is it, I'll never be able to meditate.

But eventually I realized that when I don't get any sleep, then I go and do something, I have pain. Although I don't get enough of it, the deep sleep part of a normal night's sleep is the time when human bodies heal. And while I have these persistent problems that are often painful, on Thursday night/Friday morning I hadn't had enough sleep for them to be at their normal levels. Normally, they only hurt at the end of a long grueling day of retail or if I do something to aggravate them (like fall down or fail to sleep).

And I was angry because it was another thing, on a LONG DAMN LIST of things that felt like it was completely out of my control. I can't afford massage or physical therapy and I just don't have the discipline to do the exercises needed to strengthen the muscles around my knees and ease that pain. And I'm tired of hearing my doctors tell me to lose some weight. Ppptthhbbbt! Anyway, instead of being all victim-y, I just needed some perspective, which is always friggin' hard to get

I drove to work on Sunday because it was so miserable out and I was terribly late. So I haven't tried another walking meditation yet, but I'll do it again. Maybe this Friday if not before.

[User Picture]From: dpolicar
2009-10-21 10:13 am (UTC)
Yay, perspective!

I'm glad the walking meditation is giving you a path forward.

I'm sorry about the pain. Your insight about the role of sleep here seems like a valuable one.

Do you have any sense of how much (if any) of your pain is itself being caused, or exacerbated, by the muscle tension that derives from being out of the habit of listening to your muscles? Because that part of it, at least, might prove self-correcting.

I hear you about the anger. That was pretty much my constant background experience of, well, anything that involved using my body for the second half of last year. And it's a legitimate thing to feel, under the circumstances. We want our bodies to be there for us and do what we want them to do without hurting us.

OTOH, as your relationship with your body improves, you may also find yourself letting go of some of that anger. At least, that's how it was for me, and I hope it's that way for you too. In that respect I guess it's not all that different from relationships with other people.
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