Friday, 24 March 2017

Mindful Meditation and the Common Cold

Why is it that, when you have something to do, somewhere to go, some anticipated event or just some happy holiday time to spend in serious lazing about, a cold makes an appearance? I've been lucky this winter, successfully fighting off a couple of incipient colds, but this one has descended on me with a vengeance, making me feel ill and irritable. If the old saying 'Three days coming, three days here, three days going' is correct, then it is now here, although I have already had a rough couple of days. It's not due to start going until Sunday, which means I'm not going to be on top form for the belly dance party on Saturday evening. If it weren't for the fact that I have offered lifts to others and have some pre-loved clothing to sell in aid of Medecins Sans Frontieres, I would consider cancelling. Yes, I feel that poorly!

I nipped out yesterday to buy a stack of menthol and eucalyptus sweets and treated myself to a sandwich while gazing out at the Cleddau from Brunel Quay. The tide was heading out, and there was a lot of water in the river, running very fast, but otherwise not a lot to see. I felt a bit better for a little while, but decided to get home before the next wave of sneezing and coughing made my driving too erratic for safety.

I'm half-way through a 6 week mindfulness course (run by Mindful Future Wales, a local CIC), thinking that it would round-out and gap-fill my existing practice (which it is). Last week, we covered Compassionate Acceptance, so I thought it would be a really good time to practise a little mindful meditation on accepting that I have a cold and, while I can't change that, I can change how I feel about it.

So, settle and focus on the breath.
Yes, it would be nice to be able to breathe normally. How can a nose be blocked and dripping at the same time? My head feels as though it's full of heavy cotton wool, my eyes stream as if I'm crying and I can scarcely keep them open.
Re-focus, breathe. Shut your eyes, it's okay.
I have to breathe through my mouth. My mouth and throat become dry and a tickly cough starts.
Take a sip of water, have a cough sweet. Breathe. Relax.
My nose is dripping onto my front. I wonder if it's possible to tie a handkerchief, like an under-nose face veil, to catch it?
Nothing needs to be fixed. Let it be.
I feel a tingle in my nose and grab a handful of tissues just in time to catch the outflow from a series of gargantuan, bladder control-defying sneezes, which leaves me shaking and groggy. I have a splitting headache.
You're okay. It's just a cold. Everyone gets them from time to time. It's here to give your immune system a workout, then it will go. It's a signal to be kinder to yourself.
Yes, indeed. And the kindest thing I can do at this moment is to make a mug of hot lemon juice and honey, and retire to bed early.

Well, that was yesterday. I slept for nearly twelve hours (again - third time this week!). I still feel ill. This morning, the sun is shining, it looks beautiful out there. I shall do a little meditation on my patio swing-seat, then do some digging, where my nose can drip away onto the earth and I can sneeze or cough without making the furniture rattle. Then a hot bath can sort out any aches and pains.
Isn't this self-indulgence?
No, it's self-kindness, giving yourself what you need to feel better sooner.
I find myself re-reading what I've written, stuck.
Go on out, enjoy the sunshine; it will do you good!

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