Paresthesia

Today’s word meditation is on “paresthesia”.

This is a word you’ve needed but likely never knew you did. It’s the medical term for something we all feel at times. Specifically, it’s the term for that “pins and needles” feeling we get in our hands and feet when they’ve been numb and feeling begins to return to them.

The root of it is ancient Greek. It’s a combination of “para” which here means “abnormal” (much like we see in our term “paranormal” in fact) and “esthesia” which means feeling or sensation. Esthesia  is familiar to most of us in “anesthesia” which is means to induce “an” (no) “esthesia” (feeling).

I find this word has use not just to describe a physical phenomenon, but is also useful for a psychological one.

We are coming out of winter and starting to feel the beginnings of spring. The weather now is a battle between winter and spring. I saw this this week with the morning snow covering new shoots of grass and flowers.

And like the weather, my moods now are a battle between the depressive, lethargic, hibernating energy of winter, and the manic, exuberant, expansive energy of spring. And during this time, I find there’s a psychological paresthesia going on. Parts of me are waking up and coming out of numbness, they’re feeling again. But they’ve been cold for long enough that the initial feeling hurts. It really is a psychological pins and needles. All the more so given research that shows that some of us at least really do physically feel emotions.

Just like with the classic pins and needles, all I can do with this is wait for it to pass. For the warm-up process to finish and everything return to normal feeling.

But damn it hurts.