What Is Going Well? The Non-Toothache Meditation, And Isn’t It Great That You Don’t Have A Jammed Rib?


“If we are not aware that we are happy, we are not really happy. When we have a toothache, we know that not having a toothache is a wonderful thing. But when we do not have a toothache, we are still not happy. A non-toothache is very pleasant.”
– Thich Nhat Hahn

Few weeks ago, I woke up from my own screaming, and realized that I could not take a deep breath without sharp stabbing pain in the left side of my chest. Arching my back hurt, changing positions hurt, and accidentally yawning hurt so much that I screamed again, and almost fell out of bed.

I think if this happened twenty years ago, I’d be calling 911. Instead, Dr. Google reassured me that cardiac pain would either go away after 20-30 minutes or end up in a heart attack. Awesome.

An hour later, I was still gasping for air. Ok, perhaps, I was not going to die quite yet. An intercostal muscle strain now seemed much more likely, despite the arguments from my inner hypochondriac.

I already had a completely unrelated massage appointment with my massage therapist – he is an indispensable part of my pit crew, and has been by my side for a number of years. A short text later, I got an email – “stay where you are, I’ll be over in two hours with my table. You are not working out today”. Given the fact that I could barely get out of bed without yelping made the last part pretty obvious.

My massage sessions are rarely pleasurable (in the stereotypical sense), and this one took the cake – I screamed, laughed hysterically, and saw the stars. Apparently, I had a jammed rib after doing heavy carries in a workout the day before. Ugh.

By the end of the session, I could breathe. I could move. It was unbelievable. I was also so high on post-pain endorphins that I was both exhausted and hysterical. I think I may have proposed to my massage therapist (thankfully, he knows me well enough to say no). After hot shower, I passed out for the rest of the afternoon. Upon waking, my rib did not hurt. It was glorious.

Non-toothache meditation – focusing and reflecting on that (chances are) right about now you probably do not have a toothache. Or a jammed rib. Enjoy it.

It’s like the old joke goes:
– Why do you keep hitting yourself on the head with a hammer?
– Because it feels so good when I stop.

Why am I writing about this today? Because the jammed rib is back. And while it sucks, I am quite enjoying the fact that I do not have a toothache.

YOUR TURN: What are you enjoying today? Non-toothache? Non-migraine? Non-WHAT?

Liked this post? Read how dealing with an injury is just like dealing with Italian mafia



Posted April 21, 2015



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