Friday, May 24, 2013

Pizza Dreams and Mindful Awakenings

My eyes slowly opened, a dull light shining in through the shaded window telling me morning had arrived.  Normally I roll over, do a few of my favorite stretches in bed and begin the day.  Today, my dreams called me back to sleep.  Back to a world where I was about to order a large slice of pizza followed by a wall of desserts to choose from.  I allowed myself to drift off, returning to the tantalizing aromas of melted cheese and fresh tomato sauce.  However, when the slice came I realized I forgot to mention I was gluten free so they had to make me a new one.  Patiently waiting, it came again only to realize the cheese was not going to settle and the tomato sauce would give me heartburn.  Hmmm, it's not really the pizza I was hoping for without flour, tomatoes or cheese.  Darn it!  Everyone around me was stuffing their faces with pizza, pasta and mini cheesecakes while I sat on the sidelines, hungry and heartbroken.

I'm not writing this to tease you with what we may not be able to enjoy, but as a way of sharing the challenges we face, even subconsciously.
 Do you ever have those dreams that stick with you all day?  The ones that you still feel like you are living and feeling even when awake?  This one today really set me up for an emotional roller coaster, angry and upset, sad and confused.  Why does food feel like the enemy sometimes and how is it that a majority of my friends can enjoy the simple pleasures of a slice of pizza and a cold beer, free of worry and pain?

Of course I have found foods that I can enjoy and for the most part try to focus on being grateful for that.  This dream though, really stirred me up, suddenly craving foods that I normally view as realistic as obtaining super powers or growing a money tree in my backyard.  Unable to shake it off lying in bed, I got up and tried to start the day.  I thought back to the book I'm devouring, Mind Over Medicine, by Lisa Rankin.  She mentions what Dr. Deepak Chopra recommends, RPM, or Rise, Pee, Meditate.  So, I turned off my phone and sat down comfortably in front of the window where my favorite indoor plants live.  When I close my eyes I begin with some deep breathing but every time I try to breathe in it feels stuck.  After a few more attempts at this, I finally collapse, curl up and begin to cry.  The tears pour out like a river finally released from it's dam.  All of the frustrations that are normally held back, pretending to be okay so I don't worry anyone else, are free.  I want to call someone who can tell me everything will be fine but instead push my phone away.  I realize I need this time for me, to allow these feelings to happen and accept what is.

The tears begin to dry and the relaxation I was so desperate to achieve settles in.  I grab my phone, not to make a call, check FB or email, but to listen to a favorite meditation podcast called Calming the Body.  This is a wonderful guide to get started and is a total of 20 minutes.  If that is too long to begin with, try setting a timer for 5 minutes to just breath and as my therapist always says, "give yourself permission to relax."  I even repeat this to myself throughout the day..."I give myself permission to relax."  

Each day brings it's challenges, it's frustrations, but we can't let this stop us from living the best we can. Not many people we know can imagine being so hungry yet unable to eat the many foods that seem to be everywhere we turn (even when sleeping).  Don't feel alone because, despite the positive approach I have in life, I completely understand!  Cry when you need to, meditate when possible and let's continue to make the most of each day.