TOUCHED BY LYME: The healing power of “realistic, practical hope”
A couple of years ago, on the recommendation of a friend, I started listening to the Ten Percent Happier podcast. Soon after, I started following the Ten Percent Happier app on my phone.
The general topic is mindfulness meditation. This is basically a mental technique for staying calm and focused, and not being whipsawed by your emotions. I have found it helpful in many facets of my life.
(Side note: For some people, meditation is a religious practice, but it doesn’t have to be. Ten Percent Happier bills itself as “meditation for fidgety skeptics.”)
The app features a number of different meditation teachers who offer a variety of perspectives. From the get-go, one of my favorite teachers has been Oren Jay Sofer. I have always appreciated his low-key, practical examples and advice. I also subscribe to his email newsletters.
Which is how I recently found out that he has experienced chronic Lyme disease.
Here’s what he said in one of his newsletters:
I got really sick with Lyme disease about seven years ago. In spite of early aggressive treatment, the symptoms didn’t resolve.
The illness was incredibly challenging, and brought me to tears more than once with fear, pain, and emotional exhaustion.
It was a frightening experience, yet also a time of strengthening inner resources as I deepened my understanding of how to be with discomfort, anxiety and uncertainty.
His website offers a number of suggestions for people dealing with chronic pain.
The utility of hope
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Ten Percent Happier has also offered a free live meditation break on weekdays (3pm Eastern, noon Pacific). Recently, I was delighted to see Sofer as the teacher of the day, talking about his time of being chronically ill.
He spoke about how easy it can be to slip into a state of utter hopelessness–and how “realistic hope, practical hope” can help us get out of that desperate place. Watch his session here.
TOUCHED BY LYME is written by Dorothy Kupcha Leland, LymeDisease.org’s Vice-president and Director of Communications. She is co-author of When Your Child Has Lyme Disease: A Parent’s Survival Guide. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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