When will this headache end?
This was the main thought running through my head for the past four days. It felt like someone dipped a corkscrew in fiery coals so that the metal screw was blazing red hot, then they repeatedly jammed that corkscrew into my forehead right above my left eyebrow. Next, they slowly turned it, screwing the corkscrew deeper and deeper into my skull, searing, scorching and shredding my soft brain tissue.
I actually found myself negotiating out loud with my migraine last night, “Headache, I’ve given you four days of my life. I’ve bowed down to your wishes and stopped most everything on my schedule. I haven’t been productive, I’ve let you consume me, my thoughts, my activities, my food, my emotions. Now it’s my turn. You need to turn my life back over to me. I’ve been generous enough with giving you four days. That’s all you get.”
I woke up this morning headache-free. It’s been years since I’ve had a migraine like that, and hopefully it will be years before I have another. The one thing that got me through the past four days was my new pair of pajamas. Actually, it was combining my new mantra to Create a Better Moment with those pajamas that got me through the migraine hell (I’ll get to that later).
I have my friend Kari to thank for my new mantra. A couple months ago I was in NYC, sitting in a small café in SoHo having lattes and sharing a piece of cheesecake with Kari. Kari is one of my best friends, but we often go years between seeing each other. She was telling me about car shopping. She now has two children, and she and her husband have been searching for something safe, spacious, practical and affordable. Gone are the days when she was concerned about what image she projects with the car she drives, or even the shoes or clothes she wears. Now what matters to her are the little moments in life – like being able to catch the early train home in order to have time to make a nice dinner so her family can sit down and eat together.
I Welcome Change as a mantra has been a huge part of my life over the past few years. I’ve created massive change in record time. It’s brought a lot of happiness and shama to my life, and now that I’m settling into a new way of life, I realize that I need to learn to find shama in each moment of my life and not just in the big changes I make. As Kari said, life really is about the little moments. So when I’ve found myself upset, irritable, sad – whatever the negative emotion may be – I’ve been stopping and asking myself what I can do to Create a Better Moment. It may be simply noticing a flower blooming, or watching Yoda whimper and yelp in excitement when he sees JC the mailman coming down the road. The wonderful thing is that this practice really works, even if at times I’m tempted to wrap myself up in my miserable thoughts and become one with that misery. That’s because sometimes being miserable is easier than doing the work to Create a Better Moment.
My new mantra was recently put to the test with my marathon migraine. On Wednesday night I had to rush to Target to buy a new microwave because mine had just broken and I needed my microwave for all the butter-melting in the Thanksgiving cooking I intended on doing. All of the triggers for a migraine were there, but it’s been years since I’ve had one so I didn’t pay attention: I was tired (having returned from New Jersey in the wee hours of the morning and only getting 4 ½ hours sleep), I was sad about not being able to see my family for the holiday, I was hormonal, the mold count was up and a weather front was moving in. Scrambling around Target looking for a microwave, I happened to notice pajamas on sale for $10. I’m admittedly a t-shirt girl when I sleep, but, remembering my Create a Better Moment mantra, I impulsively decided to buy myself pajamas. Thank goodness I did.
Pajamas got me through the next four days. The migraine began to hit when I was at a mid-day Thanksgiving meal with friends. All I could think about was getting home and putting on my new cozy pajamas. And then, when all I could think about over the next few days was how my head hurt, those pajamas continued to create better moments for me:
Better Moment: Walking Yoda in public while wearing my new pajamas, and not caring what anyone thought.
Better Moment: Taking my new pajamas out of the dryer on day 3 of my migraine and immediately putting them on so that the warmth warmed my body.
Better Moment: Curling up in bed in my new pajamas and listening to an armadillo digging outside my bedroom window while hearing two owls hoo hoo hoo-ing in a beautiful call and response.
Better Moment: Taking off my new pajamas this morning and putting on regular clothes when I realized my headache was gone. Finally.
I’m kinda sick of my new cozy pajamas, so I’m putting them away until the next time I need to Create a Better Moment. Then again, maybe next time I’ll create a better moment by simply baking some bread, breathing in the blue sky, or saying hello to a neighbor. The Better Moment possibilities are not only endless, but they are everywhere.