The pounding in my head started before dawn. I wasn’t sure what it could have been from, at first.
I’m religious about hydrating with a minimum of 40 ounces of water a day. I rarely drink alcohol, and if I do, it’s one glass of wine. I make sleep a high priority, so it wasn’t fatigue.
Muscle tension from a new fitness class? Onset of the flu from babysitting a flu-recovering child?
The headache ebbed and flowed over the course of two days, diminishing to a mild ache, or ramping up to a nausea-inducing jackhammer that forced me to lie in bed with an ice pack. In the end, I determined it was from the vog.
I happened to have a library book called The Power of Now by spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle. I’m not into self-help books, but I like spiritual pursuits, and so I borrowed the book more out of curiosity because over the years, several people I know keep referencing him.
He talks about the power of “now,” of living in the moment. “The present moment holds the key to liberation,” he writes.
As a Buddhist, this is not a new concept, but I like how he put it in words for Western digestion. He says people think too much and should just learn to be, to exist in now.
Such a simple edict. So hard to achieve.
Then I realized that if there’s one good thing about this stupid headache, it’s that it’s forcing me to live in the now. I lie down with the ice on my head and I feel the waves of queasiness come, go, come, fade. I feel my body loosen and relax when the pain subsides.
There is no room in my brain to think about anything else. Past hurts, current disappointments, future goals. It takes too much energy when your head is throbbing. In its own way, it’s quite a relief to be free of thought. I’m only feeling my body now.
I could certainly enjoy doing this without the headache, but it was interesting to realize that the pain provided this real-life illustration of what that feels like. I look forward to practicing the Now… without the acetaminophen.