Fight neurological Lyme disease with sensuality and pleasure
Heal your brain with bliss
Before Lyme, I closed down emotionally and energetically for all kinds of reasons, but I could still function. I could get my kids to school, work a full day, get the dishes done - even if my body was tight and I was stressing. I could just keep on going whether I was enjoying the moment or not.
Then I got Lyme. Lyme has made it crystal clear to me that I need to practice letting go and releasing in order to heal. Bliss and pleasure heal the brain. It is now my daily, spiritual path to cultivate sensuality in my body. This leads to healing that builds on healing. Don't wait. This is the Lyme Warrior path.
What does it mean to close down?
Closing down is escaping the present moment into worry, and tightening up.
I still find myself closing down when someone criticizes me, when I come home and my house is a mess, and especially when I feel symptoms of neuro Lyme. My muscles and my gut tighten, and I start obsessing about what needs to change and how I’m going to fix it.
This is the human mind! If we don’t like something, we tighten, and try to think our way out of it. Unfortunately this tightening causes harm. Not immediately, but over time, the tighter and more stressy we are, the less our natural, healing energy can flow. On a purely physical level, a tight body restricts the movement of cellular fluid, blood and lymph, making detoxing more difficult. And stress hormones restrict healing in many ways. The body can't stay in "fight or flight" and heal at the same time.
We with neurological Lyme disease are spiritual warriors!
Those of us with neurological Lyme disease have to be spiritual warriors. For healing to take place, we need to soften, right in the face of our symptoms and our fear. Our organs, our minds, our muscles – they need to soften and release. We need our healing energy to flow, and it can't flow if we are tight as a tick. (haha!) The symptoms of neurological Lyme disease are so disturbing, they cause us immense worry and physical tension. We have to choose to soften anyway.
The truth is, we can relax and open in the face of neuro Lyme. It is ridiculously difficult, but possible. The more I practice opening in the face of symptoms and situations I don’t like, the more I heal. This spiritual practice is hard enough healthy. But we Lymies need this so badly. Start gently, with immense compassion for the brave Warrior that you are.
Sensual pleasure heals neurological Lyme disease
Sensual, physical pleasure is deeply healing for the brain and the immune system. Those pleasure hormones - serotonin, dopamine, oxytocin - they are healing chemicals, the chemicals that open and soften us.
Candace Pert, in her book Molecules of Emotion, explains how all of the receptors found in the brain are also found in the immune system. The two systems heal together. Annie Hopper's Dynamic Neural Retraining System is all about actively cultivating those hormones with joyful memories and imaginings. She healed her own severe chemical sensitivity this way. What is good for the brain is good for the body. What feels good, heals.
Consciously cultivate pleasure
As you step onto this Warrior path, accept your feelings as they are right now. This is so simple, and yet so profound. When we accept how we feel right now, we can begin to soften. If you feel tired, if you are sad, if your brain is foggy - let go of struggling to feel differently, and open your heart to these feelings. (Not the thoughts that come with them, but the physical sensations themselves.) Feel the energy of your feelings moving in your body. Trust your journey, at least for this moment.
Is there a way to invite some sensuality and pleasure in your body? Curling up in bed with a bunch of pillows, and maybe a person or animal you love. Paying attention to slowing and deepening your breath. Settling in to an epsom salt bath with essential oils, paying close attention to the smells. Listening to a favorite piece of music, your mind open to every note.
Find whatever works for you, taking it moment by moment, day by day, without expecting too much. Let go of the thoughts, feel your real feelings as they change and change again, weave sensual pleasure into your days. You are wiring new pathways into your brain - this takes gentle persistence. Your brain chemistry will change over time, and it will build your health.
Paying attention to pleasure builds more feelings of pleasure
Buddhist teachers emphasize this amazing quality of the human brain. If we pay attention to feelings of pleasure, they tend to build. Slowly, in waves and spirals, the pleasurable feelings increase with our attention.
As you bring sensuality into your body, pay attention to pleasure. What does it feel like? How does it shift and change? Where do you feel it in your body? Is there pattern? Color? Warmth? Let your attention to pleasure increase the feelings of pleasure, and wire them into your brain as habit.
When you lose it and start stressing out, just notice what happened, and come back to your sensual experience gently. Come back to acceptance. Give yourself a lot of space to experiment, observe, fall apart, find your way back. We Lymies are all in this together. Slowly and gently, we can decide to let go of worry, and open our bodies to the sensuality and healing available in the present moment.
Guided meditation - a trail of bread crumbs back to bliss
I wrote the meditations on this site as a way to find my way back to my body when it was just too hard to do it alone. A guiding voice for me is like Hansel and Gretel's trail of bread crumbs - when I find myself alone in the dark woods of neurological Lyme disease, where witches lurk around every corner, I can turn on a meditation and find a trail leading me home.
If you need a helping hand, try the Anxiety Relief meditation. It speaks directly to your vagus nerve - which is responsible for choosing between fear and relaxation. Your body can't do both at once. As you move toward relaxation, you move away from fear, and in to healing, open space.
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Wishing you openness, bliss and peace - your birthright, your healing gift.