Do You Believe In Magic?

Multiple semi precious gemstones on board

Do you believe in magic? I never have. It’s hard to believe when you live with a chronic medical condition.

I went to a summer camp for 11 years when I was a kid and there was a magician who came to visit every summer. My first summer he made a playing card stick to the ceiling of our Rec Hall. It stayed there for all 11 summers. I bet its still there to this day. Every summer I would check to see if it was still there, and even when I’ve been back for reunions. Not because I’m in awe of his magic, but because I’m skeptically trying to figure out what the trick is that’s keeping it stuck up there or whose job it is to reapply it before each summer.

I’ve recently gotten to the point where I’m willing to try anything and everything under the sun to feel better. I’ve turned to alternative therapies in the past, but I admit I didn’t give them a fair chance. Lately I’ve been adding in a lot more supplemental yoga, physical therapy and meditation to my routine which I’m finding helpful to what I’m already doing. I’ve heard of crystals and their healing abilities before and I’ve been intrigued but also skeptical because after all, can a rock really possess the power to heal? Or is it just a scheme that celebrities buy into because they need something to make them feel connected to the Earth so they can claim that they’re “grounded”?

I was in Upstate New York recently for a friend’s birthday and while I was there we came across this really cute store that was selling crystals. The store owner was talking about what each of them do. They were really pretty and I thought I could use something like that in my life, but I just wasn’t sold on the legitimacy of it all. Plus, it seemed expensive for a rock. But after we left I couldn’t stop thinking about that store and its crystals, which is usually how I determine if something is worth buying. Unfortunately, we weren’t going back to that area for the rest of the weekend.

Then this past week I got an email from a yoga studio I went to once inviting me to an event they were having called “CRYSTAL JOURNEYING WORKSHOP + REIKI CIRCLE”. It felt like a sign. In the description they were going to teach you all about crystals, their meaning, how to tell the real ones from the fake, how to use, clean and store your crystals, they were giving away a free crystal gift and then there would be a reiki circle at the end. I wasn’t too sure about the reiki circle but I felt like I needed to be at this workshop in order to get all of my questions answered.

I asked my sister and a friend to go with me but neither could make it. I was nervous to go alone but decided to be brave and do this for myself. There were only 5 people that attended the workshop which allowed for each of us to get a lot of personal attention. I went in there really curious and with an open mind. I learned a lot. Everyone there was so kind and friendly. I felt comfortable opening up about why I was there and asking any questions I had.

We did a crystal meditation with the clear crystal that was gifted to us and during the meditation I could feel its energy. It may sound unbelievable to some but the crystal which is naturally cold turned extremely hot in my hand and I saw visions during my mediation that have some very personal meanings to me.

We ended the workshop with the woman who led it performing reiki on each of us. I was nervous about this part only because I had reiki done to me once and I didn’t feel anything. If you don’t know what reiki is its a type of massage but the person performing it never touches you, they use energy and go over each of your 7 chakras to open up any blockages. I had a mask over my eyes so I could never tell where she was except for the fact that I could tell when she was over my crown chakra, or my head, because it was tingling. It felt like intense pins and needles. And then when she was at my throat chakra I felt pressure in my throat and then the same thing happened with my chest, which is the heart chakra. I didn’t feel any other sensations anywhere else but I saw Chip, my dog who passed away 3 years ago. I’m aware it sounds crazy but I believe he was coming to say hello after she opened up my crown chakra.

I entered the workshop with a migraine and left feeling amazing. I did, however, wake up with a migraine again the next morning. I’m not saying I’m going to forego my medication and only do crystal meditation and reiki from now on but I think supplementing the Western medicine with the Eastern can’t hurt. Egyptians and lots of cultures have been using gems and stones for thousands of years so if its good enough for them, why not me?

I think everyone should do whatever makes them feel good because at the end of the day that’s what matters — getting to a place where you feel well, even if its just for a few minutes. I bought a few different crystals since — amethyst, fluorite and blue citrine are particularly good for what I need right now — and I set my intentions and have them around my room and plan to use them as I see fit. I currently have a lot of doctor appointments and don’t know if I can fit reiki into my schedule at the moment but the yoga studio did say they plan to have reiki circle events coming up so I will definitely plan to attend those.

These are all words I never thought would be coming out of my mouth but I guess a skeptic with a chronic migraine condition can believe in magic after all.

10 Things I Would Do if I Didn’t Have a Migraine Condition

It’s often said that there is no point in looking at the what-ifs and the what-could-have-been’s, that it’s a waste of time and energy that could be better spent. Yet we all do it. It’s only human nature. There are days when I thank the cards I have been dealt for giving me my strength and others where I curse them for making me miserable. So today I am going to explore 10 things I would do if I didn’t have a migraine condition. As John Lennon sang, “You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one”

10. Wear a Headband: I pride myself in being somewhat of a fashionista. I keep up with the trends, dare I say set a few of my own. . . but I will never willingly put pressure around my head no matter how cute it may look. I don’t care if it has an upper-east side preppy bow, a flower, a double band, if it’s hippy-chic, boho-fab, or if it’s a diamond encrusted tiara — in under 5 minutes I’m guaranteed to feel the stabbing pains of a pounding headache and no cute outfit can justify that. But a girl can dream. . .


9. Play Word with Friends: Okay, this is a silly one but wouldn’t it be great to just be normal and be able to play the games all the rest of my friends are playing? But mom…. all the cool kids are doing it!

8. Zumba: The latest fitness craze is taking the world by storm and I am eager to jump on board. You can’t survive a season of Dancing with the Stars without hearing about the amazing body transformations the casts go through, whether you watch the show or not. As an enthusiastic fan of the shimmy, it pains me to say that I can’t get through a high-intensity work out without getting a migraine. If I could, zumba would be the first class I’d take. Even the name is fun to say! Just imagine how fun the workout can be. I always wanted to be a dancer when I was younger, I was on the competition team and everything, pictured myself in Lincoln Center someday minus the whole psychotic black swan and the even scarier dance moms.

7.  Turn Up the Volume: I would love to be able to listen to my music as loud as I wanted whenever I wanted or to rock out and rave at a wild concert without a care in the world. I’ve been to quite a few concerts, but never a music festival or something long-term in fear of my not being able to last without getting a migraine. I love music, to the point that now I can’t even find an iPod that can fit all of my songs. I would love to be able to take a risk and enjoy it whenever, wherever.

6. Kickboxing: I bought a groupon for 4 kickboxing classes with my sister a few months ago. I was exciting more than anything to get the boxing gloves that we were promised with the coupon. . . and of course to take out some of my stress on the punching bag. I had no idea what I had gotten myself into. It was one of the most intense workouts I had ever experienced. There was some kicking and punching. . . but after an intense 20 minutes of conditioning drills. Needless to say, I left all 4 classes with enormous migraines. My sister signed up for a package and has been going back ever since. I envy her. Though it was one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done, and getting a migraine each time after was a downside to say the least, it was also extremely empowering. I couldn’t justify paying for and attending classes that would without a doubt induce a migraine, though.

5. Save My Pennies for a Rainy Day: Without having to pay for doctors, medications, my routine Starbucks every morning and all the other little specifics that go into preventing and getting rid of my migraines, I would have so much more money. I could possibly have a 401K. I would certainly have a larger savings account. I could travel. I could afford a puppy. Oh, the things I could do!

4.Drink Alcohol: Margarita Mondays with the girls, happy hour with the coworkers, partying into the wee hours of the night, a strawberry daiquiri on the beach. . . these are the things I am missing out on. I have accepted my lifestyle and have come to terms with my condition. I still manage to go out and have a social life most weekends. I try to stay optimistic and keep a positive outlook on whatever life has dealt me, especially since I know it could be a lot worse, but since this article is about wishing. . . boy, would I kill for a cocktail!

3. Become a Sun Goddess: I love the beach.  I love laying out until the sun turns me into a beautiful crispy golden nugget. I’m a Jersey Girl, insert stereotype here. But my days in the sun usually end in with a whopping migraine. I would love to be able to lay out for hours on end, my only worry being when high tide is, not whether I’m keeping hydrated or if the nearest shaded area is within  walking distance.

2. Have Kids: Migraines are genetic. I’ve heard it all my life. I have been to countless doctors over the span of my life and one of the first questions I always get asked is, “Is there a history of migraines in your family?” And no doctor has yet to believe me when I say no. Both my parents claim it must be the other’s side of the family. It’s become a running joke. I’ve heard the statistics: if you have migraines your child has a 50% chance of having them too. Even more so if it’s a girl. That scares me. I don’t want to bring a child into this world and put them through the pain I have endured and I’ve thought about this a lot. I’m still young and my feelings on the subject could change, and there’s always other options like adoption. Though I also don’t know how great of a mother I’ll be if I’m getting headaches all the time. But I know plenty of women have done it and I have a great deal of respect for those women. These are just the thoughts that keep me up some nights. Regardless, if I never had any migraines, I think my outlook on parenthood would definitely change. Either way, lots of puppies are definitely in my future.

1. Smile More:  Having migraines causes your nasty, evil, angry, depressed twin to come out and play wreaking havoc on anyone in your path. It helps to have an understanding, empathetic and loving inner circle. But even then there’s so much you can expect them to put up with. I try to be conscious of how those around me are affected by my condition, though it’s not an easy task. If I never had a migraine, I would be a much better daughter, sister and friend.