Diabetes Self-Management Blog

Man, I’ve been doing a lot of avoiding and scrambling lately. This blog entry is late, I’ve been putting off a whole list of promotional and business tasks for a band that’s in its start-up phase, and I haven’t really been meditating. My numbers have been decent, but I haven’t really been checking them as often as I should.

Meditation ought to be the first thing on that list, though. Here’s why: Meditation is my lynchpin. Here’s the dictionary definition of a lynchpin:

1. a pin inserted through the end of an axletree to keep the wheel on
2. something that holds the various elements of a complicated structure together

An actual lynchpin, of course, is a mechanical device. It’s a small device, not at all complicated, not motorized, not all that noticeable. But if it comes OFF, a chain of events is set into motion that might result in the dismantling and falling apart of the entire system. And so it is a PERFECT term for my meditation practice.

You see, when I meditate, everything else seems to fall into order. I still fall behind on certain things here and there, of course, but I am much more apt to be on top of what needs to be done, much more clear-headed, much less stressed out, and much more relaxed. And of course, one of those things I manage just a little better is my diabetes care. It’s not that I do a BAD job of it when I’m not meditating, but I know I do a BETTER job of it when I AM meditating.

The question I have spent a lifetime trying to figure out, and to which I still have no definitive answer, is why I so consistently let this one little practice lapse. I know the benefits very well — I’ve seen it happen over and over and over again, each time I “get back on the cushion,” as they say. And I know that it improves everything else in my life without me having to change anything directly about how I’m doing those things.

While I haven’t figured out any definitive answers on this, I’ve got some theories. Some of them fit me better than others, and some of them might fit you. You’ve got a lynchpin, too. We all do. Yours might be running, taking walks, remembering to write in a journal, or who knows what else. The point is, if you look hard enough, you’ll see your lynchpin. If it has a habit of coming undone, keep reading. If it stays in place, skip this entry, and just tell us how you do it in the comments section.

Love that drama
So here’s theory number one: without the lynchpin, everything becomes faster, more rushed, and more intense. And perhaps there is a streak in me that kind of LIKES the adrenaline. We all know people who seem to have an endless stream of dramatic, over-the-top, woe-is-me stories that they just rehearse over and over again. They’re drama junkies, addicted to the up and down of their daily emotional roller coaster. They thrive on the adrenaline, and while they may make themselves miserable, at least they manage to avoid their number one fear: boredom. So who knows, maybe there’s a little streak of drama junkie in me.

Eliminating excuses
Here’s my second theory: I drop the lynchpin because I know it WILL work, and I want the excuse of feeling overwhelmed so that I can be lazy and watch five episodes of “How I Met Your Mother” instead of doing work. That’s a tough one to admit, but I think there’s some truth in it. The ironic thing is I know that IF I meditate, I won’t WANT to be lazy, I won’t mind doing the work, I’ll be more relaxed, AND the work will get done. But instead, I choose to avoid the lynchpin, so that I can feel overwhelmed and rushed, so that I can use the excuse of “there’s just too much, I deserve a rest.”

But I don’t want to know
And here’s my final theory: I avoid meditating because it brings me much closer to actually experiencing the moment. I’ve found that often when things are really busy, and I’m trying to juggle a schedule that’s just too full to pull off without overworking myself, I avoid my lynchpin. I avoid it because if I actually sat down and meditated, I would realize just how exhausted I really was, and I’d have to acknowledge that the pace I had been setting for myself was just plain nuts.

So sometimes I’ll avoid meditating until AFTER I get through a really busy week. Lynchpins tend to bring us back to the present moment. That’s part of what’s so great about them: they eliminate our ability to kid ourselves. But if what we’re doing is harming ourselves, and some part of us KNOWS this, we might avoid our lynchpin so we don’t have to confront that fact.

And so…
There you have it, my three theories for why I drop my lynchpin. The ironic thing is, in all three cases, life would STILL be better if I meditated. Drama is a pale substitute for contentment, so theory number one should be avoided. If I just meditated, I wouldn’t WANT to have excuses to be lazy, so theory number two is out. And even if I AM exhausted, putting blinders on doesn’t change the exhaustion — it just puts it off, and when it finally catches up it packs an even bigger punch. Goodbye theory number three.

I invite you to spend some time identifying your lynchpin. And if you can figure out a way to keep in place better than I have, let me know.

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