Celiac Counsellor Corner – How Meditation Helps Me Deal with Celiac Disease
Did you suffer on the Easter weekend, visiting relatives in gluten-filled environments? I did … but it definitely would have been harder without meditation. Let me explain! Maybe meditation can help you, too.
- Celiac Counsellor’s Corner* is a place where Sherry Scheideman, M.A., Registered Clinical Counsellor, responds to your questions about the emotional and social issues that celiacs face. Diagnosed with celiac disease herself in 2001 in Victoria, BC, Sherry draws upon personal experiences and a Master’s Degree in Counseling to support you in transcending this ‘life transition’ and turning it into an opportunity to live your best life – ever.
First, I’ll tell you how I meditate, and how meditation helps, and then I’ll give you an example of how meditation helped me deal with celiac disease this Easter.
HOW I MEDITATE
When I meditate, I set a timer and vow to sit still for the whole time and focus on my breath. I start out fine, but very soon my mind is wandering all over the place. For example, I might notice that I’m thinking about work. I thank myself for noticing (“thanks!”), and I bring my attention back to the breath. Then I notice (“thanks!”) that I’m thinking about family. I bring my attention back to the breath. Then I notice (“thanks!”) that I’m thinking about the past. I bring my attention back to the breath. And so on.
I do this for 45 minutes most mornings upon rising. (But even five or ten minutes is worth doing!)
This gives me practice in 1) noticing that I’m caught up in a fantasy; and 2) coming back to reality. (Reality is that I am sitting in a chair, breathing.)
HOW MEDITATION HELPS
Going about our daily life is very much like sitting and breathing in meditation. As my hero Byron Katie says, we are always either sitting, standing, or lying down. That’s our simple reality. The wanderings of our mind are stories – fantasies!
My story at work might be, “I said the wrong thing.” My story on the road might be, “That driver is an idiot!” My story as I lie awake at night might be, “My mom shouldn’t have died.”
My reality is that I’m either sitting, standing, or lying down – and breathing.
Practicing meditation gives me a helpful immersion in noticing my stories/fantasies, and choosing to come back to reality. After meditating, as I go about my day, I am more able to notice when I am caught up in a story, and to come back to reality.
HOW MEDITATION HELPED ME DEAL WITH CELIAC DISEASE THIS EASTER
So, this Easter weekend, how did meditation help? Here’s a scene:
I’m packing my car to go to the family Easter event. Because I have celiac disease, I’m taking food and accessories with me. I’ve got my toaster, my GF bread and crackers, and my two coolers with my own complete GF meals, plus uncontaminated things like condiments and yogurt and hummus and deli meat, plus my special non-dairy milk.
As I struggle to fit all this stuff into the car, I think, “WHY does it have to be so hard for me? WHY can’t I just go there and eat and enjoy, like everyone else?” I feel angry, sad, and hard-done-by.
That’s when my morning meditation pays off!
Because I’ve been using meditation to practice noticing when I’m in a fantasy, my noticing skills are sharp! As I pack the car:
- I notice that I’m caught up in thoughts and emotions.
- I thank the part of myself that noticed. (“thanks!”)
- I notice (“thanks!”) that I’m thinking that celiac disease is wrecking my life; I notice (“thanks!”) that I’m feeling sad and angry. Aha!
- I notice (“thanks!”) a bit of gratification entering the scene.
- I consciously decide to leave the “I’m hard-done-by” fantasy and come back to reality.
- I notice (“thanks!”) that, in reality, I am standing and breathing.
- I notice (“thanks!”) the physical sensations of anger, sadness, and victim-hood in my body, and I allow them to be there as I continue to stand and breathe.
- I notice (“thanks!”) the emotions dissipating.
Now that I’m back in reality, I notice that the bags and coolers do fit in the car. AND… I notice that the spring birds are singing and chirping directly into my heart.
If you’re struggling with the challenges of celiac disease, maybe meditation can help you, too.
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“Life happens! Why not love it?”
“Being diagnosed with celiac disease and going gluten-free has challenged me to develop inner resources that I never knew I had, and I’m grateful for that. As a counsellor, I love to help other celiacs find their own gifts within the challenges of the disease, and to facilitate healing. Why not let your celiac disease motivate you to be your best self?”
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- *Information and perspectives provided in Celiac Counsellor’s Corner are intended to provide general information, without independent verification on the part of The Celiac Scene for the accuracy of the information provided to it. The information is specifically not intended to be a substitute for medical diagnosis or treatment by your physician or other health care professional. You should always consult your own physician or other health care professionals about any medical questions, diagnosis, or treatment, especially before trying any diet. The Celiac Counsellor’s Corner does not accept any liability for any injury, loss or damage incurred by use of or reliance on any content contained herein.