Sunday, February 19, 2012

Headaches, Hidden Hurts and Healing

I awoke this morning with a fierce headache.  It was the kind of headache where it feels like someone is drilling through your skull in several locations, over an eye, above an ear and at the very top of your neck where it connects to your head.  This is not the way I wanted to start my weekend.  I slowly got out of bed, pausing at times until the throbbing stopped just long enough to take a few more steps to the bedroom door.  I made it downstairs where I promptly put on my prescription sunglasses to filter out the bright sunlight streaming through my kitchen windows which was making the pain in my head worse.  I made coffee and then sat in a chair by the kitchen counter, my hands on either side of my head, tightly holding my skull together.  I truly thought my head would crack open from the pain.  As I sat there, I attempted to ground the pain, to send it away from me through some visualization and meditation, but it wasn't working.  I just couldn't focus on anything but the pain.

After what seemed to be an hour but was actually a few minutes, the coffee was finally done brewing.  I quickly made a cup and, before even taking a sip, held the steaming hot cup against my face and against my temples until the searing pain subsided a bit.  Heat often eases headaches for me.  Sipping the coffee and trying another round of visualization, I was able to get the headache to a dull roar.  While I sat in my kitchen, I thought about what was causing this headache.  I had sufferred from three similar headaches over the past week as well as a few smaller ones that came and went quickly.  Perhaps it was the fact that allergy season was staring earlier this year due to our mild Winter.  Maybe I needed new glasses.  Maybe it was the long hours of computer use over the past week.  I even went to my chiropractor (who is also my boss) for a tune-up on Wednesday.   She got everything back in aligment except my neck which she is usually able to "crack"  without too much trouble.  My neck just would not "go"!  It dawned on me as I sat with my coffee that maybe all of the above were playing a role in these massive headaches but that there was also some other subconscious underlying reason.  I thought and thought and then -bingo!- it came to me.  My husband has been working some very long hours over the past month or so, not getting in until around 7 o'clock every weeknight and going in to work on weekends.  This has not only been very stressful for him but for me as well.  I am picking up his share of the chores around the house.  I'm handling most of the issues that arise around the house or with our son and not really discussing these things with him because I don't want him to feel too much pressure.  Resentment was beginning to rear its ugly head.  It had lodged itself in my neck and shoulders and was creating these horrific headaches.  I needed to let it go!  I knew what must be done.

I went about my morning and my day, feeding pets, doing laundry, getting the grocery shopping done and doing some light cleaning around the house.  My husband was luckily around all day so he was able to help with all of this.  At one point, I said to him, "It's so nice to have you back!"  In saying this, my shoulders began to relax a bit.  But it was not until later in the afternoon that I was truly able to let all the tension go. 

I grabbed my gardening gloves and headed outside.  It was a beautiful day - sunny, clear skies, a cool breeze, and warm but not quite Spring-like yet.  I knelt down at one of my garden beds, the one designated for this year's vegetable plantings, and began moving aside the pine branches I had placed over it after Christmas this year.  Then I moved aside the decaying leaves I had raked onto the bed in the Autumn to mulch down over the Winter.  There, underneath these natural insulating layers were many earthworms working the soil, preparing it for me, for the plants I would soon be setting there.  I placed my hands on the soil and silently asked Mother Earth for some of this fertile creative energy to replace this tension and stress, to rid me of the building resentment and the the ensuing anger.  I felt the transfer of energy, a tingling through my hands, up my arms, and swirling around inside me.  I did a few slow cleansing breaths, visualizing the negative energy leaving me like exhaled black smoke.  I felt the muscles in my neck begin to loosen.  My shoulders no longer felt like they were up around my ears.  My teeth unclenched and my jaw relaxed.  With many thanks to Mother Earth and a feeling I can only describe as renewal, I set about checking my other garden beds.

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