Archives for posts with tag: distractions

I spent yesterday pretty gently, relaxing at home, seeking small distractions to take my mind off this wound in my jaw (from a recent tooth extraction). I alternated between considerable pain, discomfort, and bitching about those – and the inconvenience of all that – and being mostly pretty okay, generally, aside from the occasionally more intense pain, and near-continuous discomfort. In any moment that I noticed I was not in considerable pain, I made a point to really notice that, and explicitly enjoy it. I found small distractions to take my mind off of the pain, whenever it seemed to worsen. My Traveling Partner helped with that, rather a lot.

Brunch with a friend helped; uncomfortably, but yeah, it was a nice distraction, in spite of my self-consciousness about trying to drink any sort of beverage in a public place without either causing myself more pain (and potentially prolonging the healing process) or dripping it all down the front of myself, awkwardly.

Time in the garden, observing the young praying mantises that have just hatched, renewed my joie de vivre more than once, over the course of the day.

…and, I just find them terrifically fun to watch.

We watched a favorite movie together, in the evening, and a variety of interesting video content from favored content creators. I read, played video games, and went out into the world once or twice – mostly just to take my mind off the pain of this healing process.

Healing processes can be painful. Read that again. Breathe. Exhale. Relax. Take that in for a moment, it’s very real; healing processes can be painful. All kinds of healing processes, for all manner of wounds. Absorb that observation, and let it be a stepping stone to letting something go, and stepping off on a new beginning, if you can. 🙂

I’d honestly prefer that any given healing process be truly a matter of feeling reliably progressively better, moment-to-moment, but giving the matter some thought, and considering other wounds, other hurts, injuries incurred over a lifetime, I find myself inclined to be fairly certain that no particular healing process has been pain-free – or even reliably less painful in a clearly improving way, over time. It’s often been a matter of surges of increased pain, interspersed with considerable improvement, or even lingering significant chronic pain over a prolonged period that rather abruptly resolved at some later point. Some healing processes have even seemed to hurt worse than the original injury/condition, to get to an outcome that felt wholly better than I’d ever previously experienced. Weird, right? I mean, that healing hurts. That doesn’t seem intuitive to me, and I suspect my lack of preparedness and acceptance that healing processes can be painful, themselves, has held me back from healing most efficiently (and quickly), in some circumstances.

Yesterday had some seemingly excessively painful moments. I fussed about it. I fretted over it. I self-threatened to go back to the dentist this week so he can look in my mouth and tell me “yep, it’s coming along just fine” – because when I hurt, I doubt that it is. I forget, over and over again, that healing processes can be painful. lol

I think it complicates things that it is also needful to distinguish between the routine painfulness one might expect while healing from some kind of wound, and the painfulness of not healing – of getting worse – as from an infection of a wound that would ideally be healing. Damn it. Well, that results in a few more verbs, more awareness, more commitment to self-care, more presence, more attention to details, more non-attachment… Shit. Adulting is hard. I don’t like pain. So… having to sort out the pain of healing from the pain of “oh hey, this is getting worse, I should see to that”, and the pain of “this new thing” from “that chronic thing”, and the pain of “this’ll take a while to heal” from “holy crap that hurt just now, but it’ll pass quickly” is, sort of, um… a pain in the ass. LOL

I have a few contented swallows of cold coffee with my mouth half open (to avoid creating any suction in my mouth as I drink and swallow). I’m getting good at this, as small a thing as it is. (I was having trouble staying hydrated the first two days.) I’ve gotten the timing on the Ibuprofen down, such that I generally avoid any significant increase in pain between doses. I’ll be glad to stop taking it altogether; it’s not really a good choice for me, in the context of my general health.

Today feels some better, though… maybe it even actually is some better? I don’t actually know that, one way or the other. I know I am, in this moment right here, in somewhat less pain. 🙂 Good enough. Small steps. Small victories. Slow progress. I’m okay with that.

More of the same, today: small distractions, garden flowers, and slow progress.

I woke feeling rested and serene, this morning. My shower felt refreshing. I meditated from a starting point of alert awareness and physical comfort. My morning yoga eased my stiffness, and my body felt graceful and strong. My coffee tasted warm and nurtured my heart while it warmed my hands, wrapped contentedly around the white porcelain mug. It was the beginning of a lovely spring morning.

The garden on a spring morning.

The garden on a spring morning.

Then I got to thinking, because I was writing (they sort of go together)… and within minutes I was irritated, discontent, frustrated, annoyed, saddened, and really just struggling with myself and my experience. It was all a reaction to the thoughts I was thinking, which although they were about something ‘real’, the thing they were about wasn’t going on in the moment, and isn’t even a for-real-for-sure factual understanding of circumstances. It was more like my brain was test-driving optional understandings of my experience, and that particular one was a rather poor fit.

Instead of the change of mood driving my day, today, I put myself on pause, and selected from my increasingly vast list of topic-relevant reading material a fairly short article that had really caught my attention just a couple of days ago. I took a few minutes to read, took some notes, followed up on a cross-reference, and now find myself feeling content once again, and in a comfortable emotional space to begin the work day. 😀

I don’t find the success quite a simple as ‘distracting myself’; it matters a great deal what I distract myself with. What has been effective is to pursue something intellectually or creatively engaging, that simply doesn’t allow room for the challenging or problematic thinking, because the new topic requires too much bandwidth. It is also necessary, for me, that the new topic or activity must be emotionally positive; neutral isn’t particularly effective, and things that stress or upset me definitely make things worse.

Mindfulness is part of this strategy, too. To move from the thing that is throwing me off-balance, to some new and engaging thing, I find that the best success is found in really giving my full attention, quite actively, to the new thing. I don’t know how to explain the difference, but it feels like a very different process than trying to disengage from the stressful or upsetting thinking.

The clock reminds me that words about work are not work; it’s time to go.