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Mindful : June 2019
By Sara Altshul “This probably isn’t going to kill me, but it’ll hurt,” Danny Penman remembers thinking back in May 2006. Moments earlier, Penman had been floating serenely over England’s Cotswold Hills when a blast of wind collapsed his paraglider. He somersaulted head over heels through the air before slamming into a hillside some 30 feet below. An agonizing pain en- gulfed him as he realized his leg was shattered. He slipped into shock; near-sei- zures shook his body. That’s when Penman deployed his secret weapon: He’d learned meditation as a student in England. In sheer despera- tion, he gave it a try. Forcing himself to breathe slowly and deeply, he focused on the sensa- tions his breath made. He envisioned himself in a beautiful garden and imag- ined breathing its tranquil air. Gradually, his percep- tion of the pain shifted, so that it became less “person- al” and intense, as if he was watching it on TV rather than experiencing it directly. Get Relief from Chronic Pain Just 20 minutes a day can help trigger your brain’s pain-relieving power. ABOUT THE AUTHOR Sara Altshul is an award-winning journalist who has covered natural and alternative healing for over 20 years. Her articles have appeared in magazines including Prevention, AARP, Arthritis Today, and Health. She is the author of Kitchen Cabinet Cures. Over the next five months, Penman needed three operations to rebuild his leg. The pain—plus the insomnia, irritability, and anxiety—was excruciating, he recalls in his book, You Are Not Your Pain, written with Vidyamala Burch. The powerful pain meds provided by his doctors weren’t much help, and nausea was an additional problem. Some three weeks after he left the Bristol Royal Infirmary, Penman came across a newspaper article about a form of → 22 mindful June 2019 mindful health ILLUSTRATIONBYVERÓNICAGRETCH/GETTY