Tag Archive 'natural high'

May 09 2010

Finding a Natural High in the Midst of the Storm – Issue #51

I’ve been feeling like an immigrant from olden times, sailing on a ship across the ocean – once inspired by a dream of a new life, but unable to feel that inspiration because I’m too darn seasick! I want to touch solid ground. I want to feel good again. I want to enjoy food. I want to remember the dream.

Today I have landed on an island of solid ground, and reconnected with inspiration and my dream of health, and I ate delicious, nutritious waffles for breakfast! Usually by the weekend, the further away from chemo I get, the better I begin to feel. But chemo rolls around again tomorrow, every Monday, another wave, as I resume my ocean voyage.

Last week I had high hopes for a new anti-nausea pill that I was trying out. I felt a little bit naughty – it’s called Marinol, a synthetic form of marijuana containing THC. It is supposed to improve appetite and reduce nausea (and I was also secretly hoping for a nice mellow high). I’d only smoked marijuana about 3 times in my life, in my twenties, and I didn’t like it – I felt paranoid. Now we were to meet again, legally. I wondered how we would get along.

As I took the pill last Tuesday, I was writing this newsletter. Within minutes I found myself reading the same sentence over and over again, unable to get a grip on it — the Marinol had kicked in! My eyes started spinning like little pinwheels and I quickly shut them. Crap! I was trapped in this dizzy spinning wheel for the duration of the dose. I held perfectly still, eyes clamped shut for 2 to 3 hours, with creative ideas like fireflies flickering in and out, then gone forever. I was dizzy for days afterward — so much for my ‘high’ hopes for this drug.

As I rest on this island of solid ground today, I am taking deep, slow breaths, evoking a natural high, the remembrance and feeling that I am right where I’m supposed to be — simply being still and quiet and resting in this spacious place.

I have been reading my Bartholomew book by Mary Margaret Moore, and I’m reminded that, “We have misidentified ourselves as the clouds, when in fact we are the vast sky.” I am focusing on identifying myself as the sky, and peacefully watching the clouds go by.

Last Monday, as I sat in my 3rd chemotherapy session, I closed my eyes and became the sky, witnessing my inner clouds. What I saw was a lifelong pervasive story of mine that was clouding up, coming up to be healed. When I first enter the chemo room I search for the perfect chair where I can plant myself for the 3-hour intravenous treatment. I want a nice, private area. I don’t want to chat with people, I want to be quiet and read and meditate.

The ‘clouds’ gather as I imagine the nurses watching me and judging me as a difficult, fussy, unsociable patient. Then I witness myself trying to counter their imagined bad opinion of me, trying to be ‘good’, trying not to be a ‘problem’ — in other words, not asking for things I need and want, like a pillow or a blanket or water. I get mad at myself for being such a wuss — why shouldn’t I ask for what I want? That’s what these nurses are here for, to help, right?

I begin to judge the nurses – nobody really looks at me or offers to help, except when the buzzer goes off and they come over and press some buttons and dash away. I watch them chat and joke with friendlier patients. Oh, I AM the problem. Now I am in high school comparing myself to the outgoing, cool kids.

Thoughts come like: Why can’t they meet me where I am? Why can’t they ask how I’m feeling? As I witness my thoughts, I know that I am projecting my story onto the nurses. I am amused at myself as I watch the ‘clouds’ drift by, and I become more and more the observing sky.

In this witnessing place I realize that I AM MEETING MYSELF right where I am — I don’t need the nurses to do that. I am celebrating my quiet nature, my need for privacy and time to reflect and being still. I imagine like-minded friends meeting me in this spacious place. I imagine my husband Tom and all the people who love me just as I am.

I open my eyes and high school and uncaring nurses have disappeared. There are only efficient nurses waiting for me to ask for what I want. I ask and they happily give it to me. These clouds were just wisps of past programming, the old core belief that my very nature is a “problem” for those around me. In the clearness of this vast blue sky, I appreciate that some very fine healing happened at last week’s chemotherapy session.

Tomorrow is Monday, another chemo day. My goal is to anchor myself in the feeling that I am the vast sky, even in the midst of gathering clouds and stormy seas and seasickness. Finding peace within the storm is a challenge that inspires me. It is a dream worth remembering.

What are ways that you re-inspire yourself and remember your dreams in the midst of life’s cloudy skies and stormy seas?

In Love,
Jan Jacobsen

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Feb 04 2010

Fantasically Fun Relationship Rescue Remedy – Issue #41

My husband Tom and I have been getting high on some really potent stuff and I want to share some with you. The great thing about it is it’s free, readily available and has no bad side effects. What is this great stuff? It’s laughter. We laugh on purpose like crazy and before we know it we’re loaded…with endorphins. Endorphins are natural pain and stress relievers that create a feeling of well-being and even euphoria. It works whether the laugh is real or simulated. Want to get high together right now? Let’s cook up some endorphins in our body lab and laugh together for a few seconds and fake it til we make it.

How do you feel? You have just produced some powerful juju in your body. Besides decreasing stress and increasing bliss, you have lowered your blood pressure, activated your immune system, oxygenated yourself, and, if you’re laughing with others, created social bonding. Laughter is a strong stimulant for social bonding. Infants laugh at an early age as a way to bond and connect with their caregivers. For the same reason, most of our laughter occurs when we are with other people.

I want to share some ways you can use the power of laughter to create joyful relationships. People in happy relationships laugh often. But relationships, as you know, are not always a laughing matter. We can get stuck in our position and our playmate becomes our stale mate. Our bodies literally become frozen in the position of our position, such as, arms folded, shoulders hunched, scowl on our face – we are in lock and load mode, ready to fire, or we are locked down and glued shut. Play and laughter are powerful solvents that dissolve the glue and shift us back into closeness and feeling good.

One of the best ways I’ve found to shift quickly is to go playfully non-verbal. As adults we have well-developed minds that, like supercharged attorneys, can build strong cases for our position and keep us stuck in it – we become encased in the cases we build. Going non-verbal quiets our well-meaning but troublemaking mind and helps turn a battleground into a playground. Let me give you some examples.

Tom and I first met ten years ago at Gay and Katie Hendricks’ relationship workshop where they emphasized play as a way to shift. During the breaks Tom and I danced together and made faces at each other for the fun of it. Tom is a master of making faces. I thought, here is someone I can really play with. As our relationship progressed we added growling to the mix. Whenever we felt anger coming up we would growl. Grrrrrrr. It expressed our feelings, and it kept the anger from taking hold, and laughter would always follow. To this day we still make faces and growl to lighten the mood.

Here’s another example: Recently we were driving on the highway and Tom accelerated as the car ahead of us was braking. I was scared and yelled, “Slow down, you’re too close to that car!” I could feel my adrenaline pumping and I felt angry. Right then I knew I had a choice to either get swept away in the surge of adrenaline or to shift. I chose to shift by going non-verbal and doing some fake laughing and Tom joined me. Our fake laughter soon turned into real laughter, and my adrenaline turned into endorphins.

Another example: when Tom and I are aware of a power struggle happening between us, we shift into play mode by ‘assuming the position’ – we stand facing each other, and put our chests together and then…we push as hard as we can trying to push the other across the room. We break up laughing and we break the power struggle.

Play and laughter loosen and free us from our rigid positions, which helps us see things more clearly and allows us to find creative solutions. If you want to decrease stress, increase pleasure, and promote bonding with others, lace your day with laughter. It’s a fun, natural high and a healing medicine. As the saying goes, “He who laughs lasts.”

In Love,

Jan Jacobsen

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