Botox, Migraines and Insight — what do migraines and Botox have to do with insight? Read on!
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I’ve been thinking about heads and headaches of late, for several reasons. One is that a friend just told us that she’s developing migraines. This reminded me of Darbella and me, many years ago. And of migraines, garden‐variety headaches and wrinkles between the eyes.
Back when Dar and I started hanging out, which would be in late 1983 (Zowie) we were both doing the “migraine thing.” Dar’s frequency level was higher than mine, and she’d also have a tough time keeping anything in her stomach — which makes taking pills difficult.
One thing we noticed was that we seldom got migraines at the same time, which is good, as the non‐sufferer can help the one with the migraine.
I won’t bore you with the details, but in the “early days,” prior to Imitrex, the only drugs that helped were narcotics. With the (thank god) advent of injectable Imitrex, our migraines were over in 10 — 15 minutes.
The interesting thing, for both of us, was that the frequency of our migraines started dropping… to probably 1 a year from (at least) one a month. We still get garden‐variety headaches — I probably average 1 a week. I pop an Excedrin, and 99% of the time, the headache disappears. Same for Darbella.
I would attribute the change to several things — to Bodywork, to Tai Chi, and to our willingness to let go of obsessing.
Our friend with the impending migraines seems overextended in the extreme. Her “taking care of myself” skills are pretty non‐existent, as is her willingness to say “no.” And, she’s got those funny little cavernous lines between her eyes. You know… she’s got a Botox Valley. (Named by me, of course, for the principal location people inject botulism into — lordy, we are a weird people.)
Those lines are scowl lines, lines that scream, “You’ve got to be kidding!” It takes a fair amount of muscle tightening to create those lines, although people who make them often have gotten used to the forehead scrunching feeling.
My friend has a deep pair of lines, but she smiles, and says, “Life is much better!” Moments later, she’s grabbing her shoulders and saying, “Except for this blasted headache. It’s been 3 days!” Ouch.
Think about Botox, Migraines and Insight.
Let’s revisit the Botox stuff, for a second. Botox works by paralysing the muscles that cause the wrinkles. In other words, the muscles (and the skin,) go numb. Hollywood is actually concerned, as actors who have received the Botox treatment no longer can express emotions, as their foreheads won’t move on command.
Much like Prozac, Botox is a way to numb something out so a person can ignore it. Botox doesn’t deal with why the person chooses to “scowl” in the first place. It simply makes it impossible for the person to scowl. However, nothing changes regarding the emotional state of scowling. It just doesn’t show.
Two more pieces to this article. The spot between the eyebrows where the scowl lines manifest is also the 6th chakra. The 6th chakra has to do with insight and intuition. In Indian thinking, this is the location of the third eye. In the West this is the location of the Pineal gland, which reacts to light.
So, here is the analogy I use: clarity of insight requires the ability to look, simultaneously, inside and out. The theoretical location for this process is the 6th chakra. If we tighten the area, creating wrinkles, we are doing the biological equivalent of trying to see through crumpled cellophane. What little you “see” is not very clear.
From a psychological POV, you might say, “All of that scowling and indignation is a judgement about internals and externals, whose only purpose is to create blocked feelings or emotional outbursts.”
I would suggest that insight (let’s use the word to suggest internal and external clarity) is a process not of fighting to be right, nor a process of defensive posturing, but rather a place of “simply seeing.” From this place of clarity, I let go of the need to change others, to be declared to be “special,” or to punish myself for being somehow “less” than I “should be.”
Here’s an example: Love at first sight is all emotion and no insight. It’s hormonally driven and all about bells and whistles. Love at first sight gets our juices flowing, and in the end, it’s pretty meaningless.
Love with insight is the ability to truly see the love object, which might be pretty much anything, in a clear and thoughtful and yet not attached, not emotional way.
When we are caught in the emotion of “love,” (or any emotion, for that matter) then scowling is inevitable. We have “fallen down and can’t get up,” trapped in our illusions, our fantasies, our need to control others or situations.
When we are living with insight, we see from multiple perspectives. We see others as they are, while choosing not to be “run” by them just because we care about them. We hold all things with a light touch. A non‐critical, non‐judgemental touch.
In this lightly holding stance, our bodies begin to flow, naturally. We learn to “let go” of chronic tension, even the tension we no longer feel, numb as we are. The pressure (“I think my head is going to explode!”) is no longer necessary, nor appreciated, so it can simply be put aside.