Lili’s Special Sloth Meditation:

Sloth & babyThose of us with RSD/CRPS, and in fact anyone with unremitting pain, will sometimes need to calm down a CNS that's misfiring; sending repeated messages of "Danger! Danger! Fight or flight immanent!!!!" throughout the body. Those messages, caused by the pain we are experiencing, flood our systems with adrenaline, nor-adrenaline, cortisol, and a plethora of stress hormones that are a great help when running from a tiger, but not only not so helpful for chronic pain, but sure to increase it, and all the other dysautonomias that go with it. We just need to slow everything down. So remember all we know about creative visualization. What would it be like to be something slow... something calm, gentle, unafraid, full of peace and love? Well, if you know sloths like I now know sloths, you'll know that sloths are the epitome of all of these characteristics. Just look at the gentle smiles on those contented, loving creatures!

I'll post some more pictures and a couple of videos below for you to peruse before trying out this meditation. Notice the relaxed, loving, hopeful facial expressions, the languorous quality of the movements, the way the sloths are so accepting of love and so gentle and reciprocal in their way with the people who are caring for them in the sloth rescues. Sloths do everything slowly. They eat slowly, digest slowly, move slowly; their hearts and respiration are slow for their size, and they develop at a gentle, unhurried pace, cared for by their slow and gentle mamas. Their environment is one that is safe and nurturing for them. High in the tree tops, they are safe from land bound predators, and their slow movements rustle the leaves so little and their fur is so like bark in texture and colour that they are unlikely to be detected even by any who might be able to reach them. Their muscles are strong enough to take their weight fully as they hang from the branches utterly at rest, but developed in such a way that they can literally sleep, eat, and live out their lives while dangling as if cradled by an invisible hammock, barely needing to move. They are creatures of peace and contentment.

Which is what we need to convince our CNS that we are. Safe, contented, at peace.(Yup, I know; a good trick when you're in pain!) There are two methods for this meditation. One to view the pictures and videos below, perhaps post one of the pictures you like best on the wall by your bed as inspiration, and simply lie down and imagine that you are a sloth. Think of dangling, strongly but safely, and utterly relaxed from the branches in your jungle home. Imagine moving ever so slowly to gently pick a tender leaf to chew for a long, long, long time... so long that you almost fall asleep while you do it. As in any creative visualization, spend some time on details, the taste of the leaf, the feel of the bark against your fur, the warm sun and gentle breeze, the beautiful greens, blues, and browns of your world, brightened by a blossom or two... You can think the words "slow, gentle, peaceful, contented" to yourself, like a chant or mantra. It's as simple as that. You may find your blood pressure, heart rate and respiration all decrease; mine was verified to do so when I used this technique in a hospital setting.

The second way is with the little ditty below, which I used in hospital. It's kind of sweet, kind of dorky; based on what my dear old mum made up for me when I was in critical, scream-inducing agony from biliary disease before we had found any tolerated pain medication... while suffering from whole body RSD/CRPS which was triggered beyond thinking with the acute biliary pain. I had told her about the sloth meditation, which was first suggested to me by my wonderful pain management psychologist, and she just started chanting away during one terrible, screaming session of biliary blockage. The poem/song below is the result after a few years of playing with it. You can read it for inspiration, you can tape it and play it back to yourself, or you can have one of your helpers read it to you as you lay, eyes closed, visualizing your life as a happy little sloth living life in the slow lane . Here it is:

I'm a happy little sloth in my jungle tree
a happy little sloth, happy as can be
the sun is warm, the breeze is soft
I'm safe as can be while I dangle aloft,
happy little sloth in my jungle tree.
The leaves that I nibble are tender and sweet
and I think gentle thoughts
while I dangle and eat the fruits from the bough
that supports me so well... the secret to my comfort
I will happily tell while the jungle birds sing songs to me
Clear as crystal bells;
I'm a happy little sloth in my jungle tree
a happy little sloth, happy as can be.
The sun is warm, the breeze is soft
I'm safe as can be while I dangle aloft,
happy little sloth in my jungle tree.
No worries, no struggles, no pain and no woes,
I dangle here safely by the tips of my toes.
Here in my green nest, safe from all harm,
my heart is at peace and my smile is my charm
I dangle by myself as happy as can be
but I'll snuggle any snuggler who will snuggle with me!
My Mama sloth is near, and I'm quite without fear
safe in my jungle home.
I'm a happy little sloth in my jungle tree
a happy little sloth, happy as can be
the sun is warm the breeze is soft
I'm safe as can be while I dangle aloft,
happy little sloth in my jungle tree.

Sloth hanging around This would be a grand meditation for a child in pain (though there are times that pain can bring out the child in anyone, even an old crone like me!). Make up more verses if you want to... the longer and sing-songier the better! But make sure while you sing it, chant it, or listen to it, that you (or your child) are visualizing with every bit of imagination possible! Use the videos and photos below, and picture every leaf and vine, and feel every sleepy, gentle movement that you make while living your sloth life. If using this to help a child, make sure to reference the sloth frequently, make it part of your everyday emotional communication together. A sloth stuffie might be a great helper, too!

Well, that's it for now. I'd love to hear about your favourite visualizations; drop me a note and let me know if you have one to share! Bye for now from your sleepy sloth pal! ☺

Super Sloth Slideshow

Repost from: YouTube.
Baby sloths at a Sloth Rescue get a bath; check out their awesome stress management techniques… eat a flower, snuggle a friend, and have a little snooze after a somewhat trying day!

Repost from: YouTube.
Sweet baby sloths to nice spacey sleepy music.

Repost from: YouTube.
Lovely compilation of sloths to the tune of "Don't worry, be happy".

David Attenborough’s comparison of a sloth day to a human day, with lovely footage of a sloth in his natural habitat.

Author: Lili Wilde
Date Posted: 2013-10-10   Date Last Edited: 2013-10-10 16:52:50


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