Here we are...

Just off the Port Bow—a place of uncertainty, adventure, and insight. Thank you for your ears, eyes and hearts. I hope to bring compassion, grace and beauty to your day.

Just Hangin' Out

Earlier this morning I hung out with a headache. This was not a whopper, nor a mini-migraine; just a gnawing headache. I had already downed the prescribed cup of high test coffee and still the headache persisted. Half-supine, half-sitting, I decided to do my morning meditation in an abbreviated and compromised form.

A few minutes into my practice I focused my attention on the frontal lobe (at least what I refer to as that—the bit of my brain above my eyes and forehead, right beneath my male-syndrome-balding-pattern shield). I could feel the headache there, quietly throbbing away, and in a reckless moment decided to hang out with it.

I remember so well, while getting a massage a few years ago, hearing the masseuse say that he had found a lode of tense tissue and was going to hang out there for a while. That was easy for him to say. It was my tense tissue that was screaming for relief; all he had to do was lean into it. And he did.
Soon enough, though, the screaming subsided and I actually felt a little less tense.

Why not do the same with a headache?

I must be honest and say that I had tried to do this while still in bed earlier in the morning, but to no avail. The hanging out was just not happening.

Now, on the couch, it was working. I leaned my concentration into that F. Lobe and breathed. The concentration remained. I was pulled away from the headache a few times with distracting thoughts, but was able to gently return to the breath and the presence. This was not a long meditation, just fifteen minutes, but I hung with the head for most all of that. My goal was not to see the headache miraculously vanish, but simply to hang with it in some sort of compassionate way.

What's the point?

I have a bunch of friends, near and distant, who are right now in various kinds of pain. We all do. You have a sister who is going through a terrible divorce, a neighbor dying from pancreatic cancer, a teen at your local high school contemplating suicide, and a friend who struggles with self-esteem. Lots of pain. Serious migraine stuff. Some lesser versions of the same. What does one do with it all?

I have always been a good listener. That has served me well in my roles and teacher and pastor. There are times, though, when the trust won through that listening presence has tempted me to think that I might have an answer to the suffering before me. Whatever wisdom or hubris might be stirring in my mind and heart in the face of this suffering, it was presence, that really made all the difference.

I was reminded of this afresh this morning, hanging out with my headache, not trying to figure out why it was there, just being present with it.

Hangin' Out.

Thursday Images

Deerfield Doors II