headaches and other pains

My dad, when I was a kid, used to have me imagine my headaches at kites that kept getting small and smaller in the distance. I dont know how well it worked. I dont seem to recall the headaches themselves disappearing. I do like the idea though. And I love that memory of my dad.

I used to have a lot of headaches when I was younger. Its not too bad now, but I occasionally get a migraine that feels to me like a cluster of radishes growing under the surface of my skull.

A few days ago, I mentioned the presence of one of these headaches to my friend Chelsea. She responded to me with the following. I thought that some of you might find value in it. I like it especially because it reminds me of my dad and his advice about visualizing the pain as a kite.

Go to a calm, quiet place, preferably dim; lie down or sit comfortably; don’t cross your hands or feet.
Close eyes. Rate the headache on a scale of one to ten. Ask yourself these questions. Answer each one fully before moving to the next, and repeat the entire sequence as often as necessary. Linette can help by giving you the questions:

Where is the pain?(Be very specific. Don’t move on until you’ve pinpointed its exact location.)

Describe the size of the pain. (A quarter, a grapefruit, two centimeters?)

What shape is the pain?

How far in does it go?

What color is it? Really.

Repeat as many times as needed. I know it sounds a little goofy and possibly off-color, but, as I say, it works.

I havent had a chance to try it yet. By the time I got her e-mail the headache had already gone. I do plan to try it next time though. Actually, thats the main reason Im posting it. I want to be sure I know where to find it the next time the radishes start to sprout inside my brain.

As for Chelsea, shes a professional writer, quite a good one too. If you dont believe me, just check out this article of hers from the New York Daily News. Its about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, a condition that she and I, and a number of other fascinating and brilliant people, share. (Not that anyone else will care to know this, but I just re-read the article and sent a copy of it to my mom.)

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