Gratitude and Creativity: Meditative Line Drawing

It’s not a heart, but in the spirit of the day it is red. ❤️

If you’re feeling lonely today or healing a broken heart, maybe tracing the lines in this line drawing can distract you from that heaviness for a moment.

Wait. Before you, literally, give me the finger and move on to another site: I’m not being glib. These lines do have a deeper meaning and I hope they will help others as they have helped me.

Drawing like this, without thinking or planning, is part of the creative practice I’ve been developing for myself since shortly after becoming ill. I use it to move my focus away from my chronic pain when it becomes too intense or it prevents me from sleeping. It doesn’t stop the pain. However, similar to meditation where focussing on the breath can ease anxiety, reduce stress, or help to relax our bodies so sleep comes more easily, meditative line drawing can help loosen the tension felt in the body – even for a short while.

Meditative line drawing (and doodling) shift my energy, so not every thought and emotion I have is directed toward my pain. This aspect of my creative practice has become one of the more frequently used methods for me to mentally cope with this illness; especially because I don’t always feel well enough to do significant amounts of creative activity like detailed drawing, painting or even writing, which all require a larger investment of time and energy.

Drawing lines is an activity that uses very little energy and causes even less stress or anxiety because it doesn’t have to be planned and it can be done anywhere at any time. All that’s needed is a pen or pencil and paper. Although, truth be told, I now own enough art supplies to open a store. Still, the simplicity of this practice when weighed against the benefits makes me grateful I discovered meditative drawing and doodling, within the larger concept of keeping an art journal when I did. Being creative gives me something other than pain to think about and manage.

Try drawing lines of your own, without thinking about where your pen or pencil will go for a few minutes. You might be surprised that doing this unclutters your mind – even if it’s just a bit to begin with – and it could be the start of your own creative practice too.

 

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Eating Healthy, Simply When You Have Hypoglycemia

I’ve learned that eating healthy doesn’t have to be a huge production. These days, it takes a lot out of me to make a meal from scratch. I used to enjoy doing that for myself and for friends, when I had the time, before my illness arrived. There are friends, and some family members, that I’m still beholden to because at some point, beyond the last five years, I promised to make them dinner, which for whatever reasons never came to fruition. Maybe I’ll invite everyone over for a potluck dinner and try to convince them that I’ve paid my debt(s)…

In the meantime, because my appetite for food doesn’t always work, some days I go for long stretches without eating much. That’s one of the downsides of having a chronic illness that dulls one’s interest in food, which isn’t a good thing when you’re hypoglycemic too. Having hypoglycemia means keeping your body fuelled is an absolute necessity. However, these days I sometimes fail at that.

The thing that often reminds me to eat is a sudden drop in my blood sugar level. A drop in blood sugar has some rather undesirable symptoms. They can range from things that may seem benignly insignificant like feeling clammy or shaky and trembling; to more serious symptoms such as feeling dizzy, fainting, fully blacking out, and/or the symptom I most dislike vomiting.

One way I fight not having a great appetite, and avoiding all the lovely things I’ve listed, is eating frequent snacks that include some protein throughout the day. I try to include foods with protein because they take longer to digest. This prevents sudden drops in blood sugar, which I can do without while waiting for my once insatiable appetite (for food) to kick into gear again or I try to think of something more filling that I actually want to eat…

I’m curious to learn what else others who have hypoglycemia do to prevent the onslaught of a hypoglycemic attack.

 

Not So Easy Fashion Choices: Rubber Boots

I’m happy to own a pair of rubber boots. That’s not a sentence I ever imagined writing. But today, was a day that without them I’m not sure I would have been able to leave home to go to my Pain Management Program. In fact, even with them it was still a near miss.

My feet and legs swell – often. It started as a side effect from one of my pain medications. However, I’ve come to believe that it’s more likely an uncommon symptom of my illness because it wasn’t an issue before; and because I stopped taking that medication over a year ago and the frequency with which the swelling still occurs hasn’t changed much since then.

When I woke up this morning, the pain in my legs was intense and I could feel the tingling sensation that usually accompanies a pain flare going up and down my legs all the way to my toes. Getting out of bed revealed that my feet and ankles were swollen – yet again – and the swelling would continue. It’s an odd thing to watch a body part swell to twice its normal size. It’s even stranger feeling it happen.

I hoped lying in bed again and putting my legs up on a stack of pillows for a while might help to reduce the swelling, as it has done in the past, but that didn’t happen today. By the time I showered and dressed, it was obvious that I wouldn’t be able to wear any of my usual boots or shoes. I had to choose between a pair of sneakers I don’t often wear and my rubber boots. Because it was cold and raining today, I decided to go with my rubber boots.

I didn’t expect it to be, but it was actually a struggle to get my feet into them. When deciding what to wear I had chosen cuffed cotton pants that look like sweatpants and thin cotton socks to avoid any extra bulk. Neither of those clothing choices made any difference. Pulling my rubber boots on was still a struggle, although they were quite roomy and comfortable once I got my feet into them.

It was an even bigger struggle trying to take them off my feet when I got back home. This particular pair of rubber boots has a zipper along the back of the calf, which usually makes slipping them on and off easy. After undoing the zipper, I wasn’t able to pull them off. I had to engage in a real tug of war to get them off my feet. Unbelievably, my feet and ankles had swollen more since putting the boots on a few hours earlier.

When I started it, it seemed silly to write a post about my fashion choices, but this is and may continue to be a real problem. What would I have done today if I didn’t own a pair a rubber boots? What would I have done if I couldn’t manipulate them enough to push my feet into them? It’s not exactly flip-flop weather outside and wearing an ordinary pair of shoes or boots might have proven to be extremely painful.

As I started out saying at the beginning of this post: I’m happy to own a pair of rubber boots. Because had I not, I might not have been able to leave home today…

 

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