Topic / Blog

Mindfulness webinar review by Martin Baum

We asked MS writer Martin Baum to give us his thoughts on one of our Refresh with OMS webinars, which he kindly agreed to do. As Martin finds watching the live webinar challenging with his optic neuritis (making him sleepy), he watched the replay giving him the ability to pause and rest whenever necessary. Thank you Martin, over to you.

Martin Baum

OMS #3 Webinar review 

I was delighted to be asked to review the latest OMS webinar given by Phil Startin.  The theme: Reducing stress through meditation and mindfulness is something which defines me.  It’s what I do, it’s who I am and, over recent times, it has helped me learn how to live life not MS.   

This is my mantra which, through happy coincidence, I discovered from the webinar is one I share with Trevor Wilken of the MS gym.  Although he describes it as living life by design and not diagnosis, it is our shared common denominator in dealing with the cause and effect of coexisting with Multiple Sclerosis. 

Given that my philosophy is meditation not medication, I found the message from Phil Startin’s roundtable as refreshing as it was informative.  He brought the focus and responsibility of self-healing of the mind directly to MSers without suffering the pain or side effects of needles and pills. 

The one thing meditation and mindfulness have in common is the way both mental disciplines can harness stress, a mental trigger point for MS relapses, which is hardly conducive to living with the illness.  Meditation, though, is about controlled breathing which helps to switch off anxiety while mindfulness brings a greater awareness of kindness, values, and gratitude. 

Phil invited everyone to join with him in a mini meditation practice.  His gentle instruction to either stand or sit was important.  Given how MSers sometimes feel guilty for appearing to look ‘normal’, it was non-judgemental as he informally suggested for anyone wishing to stand to hold on to something for stability. 

As he sat Phil closed his eyes to relieve tension down his body, feeling the sensations going to the feet and back up again.  It was all about emotionally letting go with controlled breathing while being aware of the body or, as Phil described it, just viewing the body through a filter of kindness.  

Human ‘doing’ instead of human ‘being’ was the succinct message of mindfulness.  A cartoon of a person and a dog walking side by side, each accompanied by their own thought bubbles, was a very subtle yet expressive illustration.  The human’s bubble was cluttered with things to do and worry about while the dog’s thought cloud was filled with a minimal drawing of only sun, trees and open space.  

The message in the webinar of living a less mentally cluttered way of life was powerful.  Yet at the same time by mentally decluttering MSers lives are able to become free and accessible.  The webinar demonstrated how the correlation of mindfulness and meditation was about joining the dots between calmness, awareness, and stimulation of the mind which, from personal experience, is like the weight of my MS world being lifted off my MS shoulders. 

For more information about upcoming Tuesday webinars see the link below:

https://overcomingms.org/latest/refresh-oms

 

Refresh with OMS
Add comment