Mind you

By: Mia Maysack

I have never said that mindfulness fixes or cures, that it is easy, looks the same for everyone, or that it should even be referred to by that term.

It would be incorrect of me to make the claim that anything erases discomfort and all symptoms attached to them. Yet instead of exploring this concept for themselves, many want to attack it or remain defensive without genuinely committing, as if tension assists them in feeling better than letting it go would.

Pain is indeed very real, that has never nor is it ever something I do not understand, respect, acknowledge, or honor. But there’s more to it because of the correlation between the state of our health and overall biochemistry exists in every human being—some of which is entirely out of control, others we have more control over than we may think or believe.

Having dedicated my life to the practice of mindfulness has proven helpful to me. Anyone I know who has immersed themselves in the practice of mindfulness, to whatever extent felt authentic to them, will absolutely declare the same.

That’s what any aspect of treatment or management of a condition (or life in general) boils down to doing what’s best for you, as the individual having the experience. While so much complexity stands between us all relating on a physical level, we are all still humans sharing the emotional, mental, and spiritual burdens alongside one another, and as science continues to advance, it’s becoming more difficult to deny the direct connection between emotional wellbeing and overall health. Both could not only be considered independent rather interdependent as well as dependent upon each other.

Don’t believe a word I say, in fact—I humbly welcome you to doubt it, however, I also invite you to try it out for yourself.

To have made it through, my self-talk is essentially a new language—for example, concepts of “positive” or “negative” forget it! Labeling things isn’t necessary, but surrendering while cultivating acceptance and a sense of gratitude is.

What I’d refer to as an “unhelpful” state of mind, doesn’t improve anything for anyone. But allowing ourselves to feel through all of this is a true part of healing. It can help us regain a sense of inner security and confidence, restore empowerment, and provide an enlightened sense of clarity that ensures we’re operating from present moment authenticity as opposed to from a place of past or future.

There she goes again, what do you mean “healing” Mia?!

I know, right…

Look, I’m not ignorant to the fact many endure situations that have been/continue/are expected to be life-long—if the ideas of reclaiming quality of your life, prioritizing your own self-care, calming your nervous system, and developing a kind, compassionate, forgiving, nurturing relationship within do not sound helpful to you, there’s absolutely nothing anybody else can do for you.

Another offense could be taken when it’s suggested that we remain “here,” which seems like a cruel joke to someone who is in pain, experiencing illness, or both. So we need to lose misconceptions that somehow the skill is intended to change what’s happening—this is not magic, it is about a shift in our own response to what is going on, to make sure you are not being carried away by or with it.

When attempting to convey these points in the past, some feel the need to declare their pain as being real. I’m not sure who they’re trying to convince, because I feel them. The tone signifies the assumption that because I’ve made it to this point in my healing journey, somehow that has lessened the reality of still living in real discomfort myself, though maintaining a sense of sanity better than I ever did as a direct result of these tools. You can disagree with it and hate it all you want, it doesn’t change my truth nor those whose lives have improved beyond recognition after putting in the work for themselves. We can all make the decision to do the same.

It isn’t easy but would you really try to tell me that anything about living this way is?

Most who downplay, minimize, downright mock, or disrespect these concepts- haven’t dedicated their lives to the disciplines. At a point, I was one of them, so I know if you’re not ready to receive these words (yet) then you simply won’t. But that doesn’t change the fact they’re here and more by the day are adding momentum to the credibility of inward capabilities, as we internalize the drain of COVID-19 among other pandemics throughout our world. Now is as good of a time as any to develop more tools to continue building an identity not merely rooted in survival, but tapping out of fight or flight mode to begin to thrive in ways you’d never imagined.

Resources on mindfulness:

Why mindfulness is a superpower

Getting stuck in the negatives (and how to get unstuck)

Introduction to the gate control of pain

Meditation: radical acceptance of pain

About Mia Maysack

Mia Maysack is a chronic pain warrior, U.S. Pain Ambassador, Support Group Leader, and Volunteer Patient Advocate. She also was recently featured in the INvisible Project: Migraine 4th Edition. Along with writing for Pain News Network, she is the Founder of Keepin’ Our Heads Up and Peace&Love Holistic Health/Wellness.