I’ve had this long-standing analogy for my relationship to meditation: that it’s kind of like brushing my teeth. I would notice if I didn’t and I understand there’s a benefit, so I do it.
I’m in this 40-day program right now with the 3 Oms Yoga studio in Bellingham. Among other things, it involves the following: yoga classes six days a week, meditation twice a day, and a commitment not to have anything addictive, including caffeine and sugar. While I’d done different aspects of this separately in the past, I’d never put these particular pieces together before. I knew that this would be an excellent step in my healing process and in my efforts to live my yoga practice more deeply. Lyme disease is rough on my body, both the condition and the treatment. It’s beyond hard to undergo hours of excruciating treatment every day for years. I need to strengthen any avenues that will sustain my fortitude, resilience, and tenacity.
I’m on day 11 of 40. It started a bit like this:
Day 1: Okay. Meditation: check. I’ve already tapered off coffee and moved from black tea to green tea. The next step won’t be that hard, right?
Day 2: Wrong! There is, in fact, caffeine in green tea and now I’m unexpectedly fuzzy headed and caffeine withdrawal is setting off spectacular migraines. I almost forgot to meditate. Meditation: check.
Day 3: Right. Got to meditate again. Why am I doing this? I want sugar. I’m starving without sugar. I will eat everything in this city and will never be full because I need sugar. How is it morning without caffeine? Is it even morning? How is this possible?
Day 4: Wait a minute, does sugar keep me from knowing when I’m hungry? Do I eat less food that nourishes me when I’ve had sweetened comfort food? Wait a minute, where does my energy come from if I’m un-caffeinated? I kind of want to meditate and let all of this settle.
Something really powerful began to stir at this point. I started to want to meditate. Without a caffeinated boost, I began to crave sitting and drawing my energy up from the earth. Making time to cultivate healing, clearing energy has begun to leave me focused and ready to start my day–energized, if you will.
For the past six days, I have felt gently sustained and able to be increasingly present. This is no small feat. Lyme is notorious for inducing brain fog and fatigue. I have been struggling with energy crashes for years. Having an increased ability to maintain an even keel for a week is a spectacular reprieve from the roller coaster of chronic illness energy shifts. I’m not saying I’m cured. I’m not saying that the nightly treatment regimes have lost their treacherous qualities. What it is doing is exactly what I’d hoped for: it is helping me to turn more deeply toward an inner resilience, supported by loving, healing strength.
So here I am, 11 days into a program titled “40 Days to Freedom” and meditation has been elevated from tooth-brushing status to morning coffee status. I have definitely craved coffee and sought it out for the energy it provides. My meditation practice is becoming this sustenance for me. I can only imagine what this will make possible from here.