Kind Promise: I will celebrate this moment.

Every night, as I go to sleep, I listen to audiobooks. I’ve been doing this for 25 years, ever since I discovered that listening to a story shuts off my worrying monkey mind. I listen to the same books over and over again, drifting off to the work of fantasy and science fiction writers.

The plots come to me in pieces as I wake up and go to sleep and I reassemble them subconsciously.

In the last couple months, the baclofen pump that keeps my spasming legs quieter has not been doing its job. A few weeks ago, I clocked my left leg spasming every 30 seconds. These spasms are painful. Two weeks ago, I made an appointment with the doctor and got my dosage increased, but it hasn’t made much difference. My legs still awaken me in the night and I spent some time in pain. The audio stories distract me and I drift off to sleep.

On Friday, my iPod started going bad. I woke to silence.  I immediately started noticing the pain in my legs. I also noticed pain in my shoulder and in my hip. “I’ll listen to Mindfulness Meditation for Pain Relief,” I thought. Then I realized I couldn’t listen to any recording.

Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of the book, encourages us to notice the sensations in our body without labeling them “pain.” I lay in the dark paying attention to my breath, letting the sensations interrupt my focus, and then bringing my attention back. My mind drifted not only to the pain but to other random thoughts, one of which was useful: I remembered joy.

I remembered that this month I am inviting myself to celebrate each moment. Even the memory of this invitation brought a smile to my face and a sense of relaxation to my body. Then my leg spasmed. Then I remembered joy.

That has become my nighttime practice:

  • Focus on breathing.
  • Get distracted by pain.
  • Remember joy.
  • Focus on breathing.

My husband is out of town, which means my usual tech support is gone. The iPod sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t, causing me to hope that there is a short in the power cord. Amazon is sending me another power cord. Meanwhile I practice.

And sometimes I sleep.