Last night I was having trouble going back to sleep after being woken up by pain. One of the exercises I remembered from the book “How to Be Sick” was the one on Tonglen. Basically, it is deep breathing like when you meditate, but instead of breathing in health and good feelings and breathing out your pain and suffering, it is just the opposite. You breathe in other’s pain and suffering and breathe out love and joy to ease that suffering. I don’t know why I felt the need to do this. Perhaps it was knowing that others are out there suffering just as much or worse than me. So, this is how it went:
(Remember first is the breath in, next is the breath out)
– For all of you who can’t sleep
– I wish you sweet dreams
– For all of you in pain
– I wish you relief
– For all of you who are suffering
– I wish you peace
– For all those who are lonely
– I am with you
– For all who need to be believed
– I believe you
– For those who need to be loved
– I love you
And that is the last I remember before falling asleep. I don’t know why I haven’t tried it before. I have always said that I have so much love to give. I love my dogs and they love me back unconditionally. I love M- and he doesn’t even want to talk to me half the time, so I sort of feel like that love is wasted. I don’t have a child, and never will, so there is another missed opportunity to share my love. So for some reason, I sent that love and understanding, the belief of symptoms, the peace from suffering, the relief from pain, and the wishes for sweet dreams that I don’t get to others who need them. And I suppose I sent those things to myself too, because somewhere in there I found the peace that I needed to fall back asleep.
I guess it’s a reminder that before someone can truly love you, you have to love yourself first. As long as I can learn to love myself with my illness and my defects then maybe I can receive love and understanding. It makes me realize how hard it must be for M-. He used to have someone he could go out with and have a good time. Now I just lie around in bed sometimes without the strength to even shower much less do things around the house. The woman he had is gone and just the sick shell of a person remains. Why should he love me? He should be running for the hills looking for someone worthy of his love. And then I am grateful that he is still here and giving me the chance to find that love for myself that I lost along the way. Once I find it I will be able to see that he does still love me, or if not, I will have the strength to send him on his way. Either way I will love myself again. Right now I don’t.