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Focusing Through

This morning I noticed a part of my vision out of my right eye was missing when I was ordering a cup of joe at my favorite coffee shop. I wasn't too alarmed by it, because I've learned to question my fear, so I went about my morning activities, noticing thoughts coming up, but telling myself just to wait and watch.

I noticed not long after, the bottom part of my vision in my right eye was swimming. This was a little more alarming.

Then the crazy vision was explained as a migraine began to set in on the opposite side of my head. It was subtle at first, but clearly intensifying. However, I was determined to make good use of my time, so, I just breathed through it, drinking an absurd amount of water in case I was merely dehydrated.

Then I noticed that I literally couldn't understand any words I was reading. I couldn't get the words to stabilize. It was as if each word had no relation to any word next to it, like they existed independently, but had no meaning in and of themselves. Any linear thinking or reasoning ceased to exist for me. (I can hear some of my friends cheering!) Sentences made absolutely no sense.

However, my functional world seemed to be working okay. I was able to gather my things, walk a ways to my car, get in, and drive home (it wasn't far).

So by the time I arrived home, I was becoming pretty incapacitated by the pain. I searched migraines on the Internet, and labored over a document on migraines until I understood it enough to know that this was likely one.

Now the interesting part for me:

I decided to apply all that I've learned in my experience to experiencing this dense pain overtaking me.

My inner world seemed to be working well enough for me to look at this migraine like I've been looking at everything challenging or fearful.

I decided to focus through this migraine like I would through, say, my daughters throwing a huge fit, or perhaps hearing someone I care about is diagnosed with something terminal, is suicidal, or depressed, my divorce, or bigger things like global warming, inequality, violence, perhaps Satan?:)--to just focus outside of what the situation seems to be, what it feels like, what fears it brings up. To focus through all of these 'illusions' into some greater spaciousness that exists outside of the illusion of pain, dysfunction, brokenness and chaos; simply identified for me, as focusing into a force of love.

So, there I am with my migraine, lying on my bed, just observing everything that is coming up in me, the fears, the annoyances that this migraine has paralyzed me and my plans for the morning, the intensity of the pain throbbing in my head.

I just decide to be with it and watch how well I am existing with the pain. I start to just be with the pain, and soon there are moments when I literally begin to feel the pain, but do not understand it as pain, feeling it like a curiosity that lives outside of me.

I keep focusing through my migraine into this loving force, just like I would with my daughters when I hold the space of love for them, when they are possessed by aggression. All this focus so that I do not just sling the same aggression back at them. And in this case I was determined not to use my body as a weapon against my well-being.

So, the intense focus on something greater gives me distance and patience to move through this or any contraction until it passes. I guess it is kind of like childbirth, when the baby is crowning, and you see or feel the baby's head, and it resources you to keep your eyes on the prize!

For about an hour I choose to just focus through the pain, just feeling a vice-grip on my head and nauseousness, but not being afraid of it or thinking it should be different. I notice myself in moments losing focus and wanting to flee, to escape, feeling hot and cold, and scared. But I also notice part of me that can stay with what is happening.

Mostly I feel curious of the power of focusing through, how fear disappears when consistently focusing on something greater, how it cannot support drama. I begin to feel peace, despite the pain. I begin to feel held and loved.

The migraine begins to dissipate little by little, and I notice this, but mostly am amazed at how it really doesn't matter to me, because the relief has come from being focused in a place outside of my fear.

In the end, the migraine was a gift, because I was able to have an opportunity to focus through blinding pain and see how focusing through it was supported by my level of determination to not buy into my victim story, and this actually created the experience of experiencing something greater.

In conclusion, I felt deeply that none of what happens in this life really matters, that everything will be okay, and that it is just a matter of focusing through the heartache and pain to what is real, and what is real is deep peace, love, and compassion in every situation.

It is this place in which we really begin to meet others and ourselves, and there is deep healing-- not because anything is healed or changed, but because we can no longer see any problems. There is just love and the promise of it. We don't pretend to know what is best for anyone, and therefore judge what healing should look like, for ourselves, for each other, for our planet. But we open the space for finding out!

It is such a gift to notice how I am being breathed, and when I allow it, how I am being released.

How I function or not doesn't really matter, when nothing in me resists myself.

I love that I could question the fear of dropping dead with a brain aneurysm, or a brain tumor, knowing that everything would really be okay if I did. Just more focusing through it. To think that part of me must actually believe this...I can't believe it! But then again, who is this 'I' anyway?


  1. This is brilliant, Brooke. I have had migraines all my life, though not so severely or frequently of late. I will remember your wisdom, not only for migraines but for other kinds of pain. Compassionate, fearless witness that breaks us through to what is real. Thank you!

  2. oh my god. I read this completely riveted by every. word. And now I am almost at a loss for words because I am still digesting your amazing insight and wisdom. You are truly a gift. I am so glad to know you.

  3. thank you for sharing this. i look forward to your next post!=)

  4. Hi Brooke,

    Loved reading this post. Over the years I too have suffered with the odd migraine and your description of it was absolutely spot on. When I read the words 'How I function or not doesn't really matter, when nothing in me resists myself' my eyes filled with tears . Brooke; you are a brave and courageous soul.

    P.s I am looking for mighty companions to share my new blog with. Its called An Experiment in Conscious Dying. Follow me on this epic journey.

    Love Nige


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