My mind is a nerve.

And here I am again, finishing up a brief yoga set, noticing a tinge of soreness in the left side of my sacrum and some tightness in my lower back. And noticing that it is NOTHING like the pain of 9 months ago, when my back and sacrum were incessantly screaming at me. That pain was hot, intense and nagging. I was constantly trying to manage myself to NOT experience it directly. There was a lot of uncertainty as I was trying to find my way, and a lot of resistance. I just wanted it to end, but as it persisted day-after-day, week-after-week, I realized that it was NOT a work-around. I needed to notice it, allow it to speak to me, and listen to what it was saying in order to respond appropriately. I tried many things initially, and eventually found a wonderful PT who assured me that the nerves just needed to relax and stop firing. I believed her and followed her advice, strengthening in certain places, leaving others alone. I bought a standing desk. I did my exercises as often as I could. I bought a cushion for driving. I have been wearing "sensible shoes". And thankfully, that screaming pain has slowly and gradually quieted a great amount. I can now engage in many activities without feeling anything at all. I have more range of motion. The nerves have indeed relaxed, although there is some residual soreness that remains that I continue to listen to. My recent yoga practice pointed out what not to do and what to baby-step into. I'm continuing to listen to my body in this area and I know that I need to be VERY gentle with my yoga practice, for now.

As I'm pondering this, I'm also recognizing the parallels that I experience in and with my mind.  There is a way that my mind reaches a limit from the result of too much to do, too much intensity, or not listening to it enough or well enough, and it becomes inflamed, in the same way that my pain exploded onto the scene of my back and sacrum this past year. When my mind pain comes forth - just as with my back pain - it takes a gooooood amount of time to settle, and I need to navigate through it, listen to the mind pain, and notice what actions it is pointing me towards.

When my mind gets inflamed in these ways, I know that what it needs more than anything is rest. However, I don't live in a cave. I have a family, work and other obligations, and sometimes the degree of rest that my mind is craving is just not available. So I look for mind rest in other ways - in small increments rather than huge chunks.

And, just as with back pain, when my mind is inflamed, I don't want to experience it directly. In the same way that I didn't want to have the back pain, I don't want to have the mind pain. I want it to be different.  But I know that it is NOT a work-around.

Just as with my back pain, I listen to my mind pain. I begin to hear what it is saying, and I begin to notice it's message. I allow it to point me to the steps to take. It takes patience and perseverance.

Today, I have some mind pain. Not a huge flare-up, but rather a nagging, incessant chatter, like a nerve that has been firing too long. 

Today, my mind pain is pointing out these actions to take:

"Breathe deeply. Walk slowly. Take moments to stretch. Transition deliberately. Leave space between the "To Do's" to pause before forging ahead with something new. Get away from your computer. Take moments to notice."


Mara Wai