Yesterday, I had a truly unique and – initially – somewhat frightening experience. I was sitting in front of my computer and suddenly realized that the words on the screen were becoming increasingly difficult to read. An oddly shaped blotch (almost like looking through sparkly, irregularly shaped, foggy glass) appeared in the center of my field of vision. It started spreading and got to the point where I absolutely could no longer read any of the words on my computer screen. Interestingly, though, it was as though I could “see” them, but not actually “read” or “interpret” what they said.

I tried closing my eyes. Then rubbing them. Then just covering my eyes with my hands to block out the light. But that odd, flashing light blob remained and seemed to grow slowly across my entire field of vision.

I decided to try laying down on the floor of my office for a bit. This is where it starts to get strange… I had this interesting sensation of being somehow disconnected from what was happening. Eventually, I found myself breathing in a meditative fashion and chose to focus on the sparkly light, rather than trying to make it go away.

By the time the “blotchy thing” was gone, it had been replaced by an ache just behind my right eye, which then spread out over the right side of my head. It was not debilitating, but I did feel the tiniest bit nauseated and dizzy.

I drove home in something of a blur and crawled into bed, where I slept for close to two hours (surrounded, of course, by our two cats and our dog). When I woke up, I noticed that I no longer had a headache, but I did still have that sense of being somehow “out of it.” It felt very much like the first time I had acupuncture, where I was conscious and perceiving what was going on around me, but in a decidedly different kind of way.

I’ve never had a migraine and have not been officially diagnosed, but after doing my requisite ridiculous amounts of research, it appears that I had a classic ocular migraine. The visual phenomena I experienced are technically called “auras,” composed of the flickering blotch, called a “scintillation,” and the visual field defect, called a “scotoma.”

Later on in the day, I was recounting my experience with my husband, Seth, when I had the most peculiar sense that my memory was encouraging me to remember the experience as if I had actually had a stroke or a seizure and not a migraine.

I believe that every physical sensation contains within it a powerful message from my body. I often use the body scan technique to listen for that message. In this case, I was having trouble hearing it, so I reached for my copy of Louise Hay’s powerful book, You Can Heal Your Life. Here’s what she has to say about migraines:

Sexual fears, or fear of being close, letting someone in too close. Feeling driven or pressured.

The first part didn’t really resonate, but the last part certainly did. I have been feeling a great deal of pressure in my business, in my relationships and in my daily life.

{And, probably, if I dove a little deeper, I’d find a kernel of truth in the first part of the statement, too.}

Okay, so now that I know the root cause of this migraine, what can I do about it? Fortunately, mine passed fairly quickly, but I wanted to know what the affirmations were that Louise suggests.

I relax into the flow of life and let life provide all that I need easily and comfortably. I love Life!

Repeating that affirmation brought up an initial feeling of doubt, but as I continued, it started to integrate more and more. Soon enough, I realized that I was no longer feeling resistant as I was saying it to myself.

This is a wonderful tool, but really works best when you allow yourself to suspend disbelief. It can be difficult to get out of the victim mentality and leave room for the possibility that things (even medical things) are not happening TO you, but rather are happening as a result of patterns of thought.

When I did some more digging, I discovered this paper (Medicine and religion: The spiritual dimension of the migraine aura by Floco Tausin)  about migraines and especially those with “auras.” Reading this brought my understanding of what I had experienced to a whole new level.

I highly recommend reading the entire article, but here’s an excerpt that  really stood out to me:

While shamans and ecstaticists, however, are preparing themselves physically and spiritually over many years for such intensity increases and perception changes, migraine sufferers are thrown “into the cold water” without preparation or spiritual support. I suggest that some appear able to process this increase in energy, as seen in the fact that in these cases there is no headache following the visual auras (e.g. Waterwolf, 16.11.09). Most migraine sufferers, however, lack the physical and spiritual prerequisites to handle that situation: the increased energy can’t flow freely and evenly in the body – which expresses itself as the typical migraine symptoms of headaches, nausea and oversensitivity.

So, perhaps my migraine experience was an energy download? Or perhaps it was a reaction to the external pressures I was feeling?

Regardless, I find this whole subject truly fascinating. I’d love to hear from you, especially if you’ve ever experienced a migraine. What do you think?