by Kim Green
All day long today, I’ve had the song, “Manic Monday” by the Bangles, playing in my head. Remember the lyrics?
“I wish it was Sunday, ‘cause that’s my fun day, and I don’t have to run day…”
Felt like I was already running when the alarm went off. Crazy busy with little jobs around the house: find Torrie’s uniform for tonight’s game, meet a friend for a “working” lunch that goes 45 min. longer than I had planned, phone calls, florist for corsage for prom, FedEx, forget something (#@$&*!), back to FedEx, emails, Stop and Shop (forget dog food, @#$%&*!), and finally to CLASS.
My MBSR Class. That is, my Mindful-Based Stress Reduction Class. Ha!
I enrolled in this class earlier this winter with the hopes of learning a new method to help cope with the chronic pain I have been in. It is an 8-week, 2-½ hour class offered by Copper Beech Institute in West Hartford, CT. It is based on the research and writings of Jon Kabat-Zinn and the subject of his best-selling book, Full Catastrophe Living. Research indicates that a majority of people who complete the course (more than 20,000 have already) report: Lasting decreases in physical and psychological symptoms, increased ability to relax, reduction in pain levels and an enhanced ability to cope with pain that may not go away, greater energy and enthusiasm for life and an ability to cope more effectively with both short and long-term stressful situations. SOLD!!
The irony is that I almost have a coronary every Monday just trying to get there! It is truly amazing that I am struggling to find the way to carve out time for the class and the 45-90 minute daily home practices.
Right now I am feeling an underlying current of frantic as I begin the countdown to my surgery. There are so many things that I had planned to do this summer because of being laid up last summer. DIY projects, getting Tessa ready for her apartment at Villanova, painting the patio, purging the basement, re-seeding the yard, birthday bash for Torrie, birthday bash for Ken, 20th Anniversary celebration for us – all going to be put on hold. Again. Except for the anniversary thing. Five more weeks laid up. Lots of pain, for a long time. Big sigh. I should also include that I am weaning myself off of caffeine and sugar – loads of fun.
I am learning a lot in this class. The instructor is remarkable. We have been practicing a ‘body scan’ as a form of relaxation which involves lying down with eyes closed and slowly visioning each part of the body beginning with each toe, all the way up to the top of the head. I routinely fall asleep at the ankles and wake up around mid chest. I sincerely hope that I don’t drool or snore, it would be so embarrassing.
Everyone is kind and tells me that I shouldn’t worry about things, that all of the important stuff will be taken care of one way or another. In my head, I know they are right. I just wish I could tell my heart that.
In floor yoga tonight, when it came to roll onto our bellies to continue, I could not. A feeling of sadness came over me. In a few weeks, I won’t even be doing the little yoga I am doing now. I pictured the walker and cane in my near future (pink, of course). I remembered the athlete I used to be…
But then, what I have learned in the course came to me.
Just be in the moment… now. Breathe.
No judgment; just be.
It’ll be ok.
Kim Green is a mother, wife, and author of the blog, Sixteen Years of Pink. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in June of 1989 at 34 years old. Her cancer has metastasized twice and she is now Stage 4. Hers is the journey of living with cancer, raising a family and trying to keep a sense of humor. Kim participated in the MBSR course at Copper Beech Institute to help her cope with chronic pain and build resilience in her life.