Turning Straw Into Gold

Life through a Buddhist lens

Things You Can Do from the Bed, Part 2: Ideas from Readers

More! Life from the bed, the couch, or the recliner.

On June 28th, I wrote a post titled, Things You Can Do from the Bed. I listed eight possibilities. I've had so many creative and inspiring ideas added to that list from different sources (private emails, comments at Psychology Today or on Facebook), that I thought I'd gather them together here.

So, here's a new list for you to consider.

From Chris: Be an astronomer. "Since I am often bedbound with M.E./CFIDS, I get frustrated at not being able to go stargazing. Instead, I use the excellent services of this Italian gent and his remote control telescope: The Virtual Telescope. Also, you can help classify galaxies for research quite easily at The Galaxy Zoo."

From Terry: Embroidery and Sudoku puzzles. (Nice combination, Terry!)

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From Sarah-Louise: Daydream. "I think the value of a good daydream can't be underestimated. With imagination we can go anywhere we like and be anything we like, even when we can't move." Mo was another vote for daydreaming, while cuddling her cat. And Janet daydreams, "to take me to places I may never go again, but inside my heart and soul I never leave."

From Nancy Jo: Scrapbooking. "I give them to others or keep them for myself. I'm reminded of special people, special places and occasions while I put the pages together."

From Susan: Use your computer to stay in touch with people. "I keep in touch with all my Facebook friends and their lives. I live through them, since my life has shrunk so much. I take pleasure in the things that I read about them doing." (Wonderful, Susan. Your last sentence is a perfect description from my book of mudita practice: taking joy in the joy of others.)

From Kassy: Be an activist. "In this internet age, you can join in on actions to save the rainforest thousands of miles away or present information to your own city council, all from the bed."

La Gerbe, paper cut out by Matisse 1953
From Rebecca: Make collages. "Matisse created all of his amazing paper cuttings at the end of his life when he had to stay in bed. He couldn't paint but he could use scissors on paper."

From Jill: Skype. "Skype has added an entirely new dimension to my shrinking universe as I can now SEE the loved ones I can no longer travel to meet in person."

From ixchelkali: Window shop. "My personal favorite is for houses. I take virtual tours of houses for sale via real estate websites. I also enjoy virtual gardening and the plants don't suffer from pests or disease or weeds."

From Jane: Virtual travel, using Google Earth. "I recently had a ride on a section of the trans-Siberian railway. It takes a bit of practice and is great fun! A cross between an arcade game (try and stay on the tracks) and a railway journey, with scenery whizzing by." Another person suggested using Google Earth's street view to walk down the street of cities all over the world, peeking in shop windows. And another suggested finding You Tube videos of your favorite places.

From Jacquie: Bed exercises. (I'm sure there are DVD's that could help here.)

From Beth: "I've learned to listen to my sons. When they are home from school, it's wonderful for them to come to my room, sit on the end of the bed, or in the old rocking chair, and just talk about their lives. They amaze me with their thoughts and perceptions and they keep me laughing."

From cinderkeys: Learning. "Look for college classes online. A lot of professors podcast their lectures now."

Midnight Sunset Solstice 2011 by Amy Clifton
From Amy: Photography. "I take pictures from my living room window and balcony, up on the 10th floor. I have an amazing view in Reykjavik, and I have focused mainly on taking pictures of weather, clouds, rain, snow, sunrises and sunsets."

From Barbarella: Cuddle a pet. "If you are blessed with having a pet, this can keep you sane. Pets can help with high blood pressure too."

From Jackie: Hand-made quilting. "I choose a pattern that I memorize (to lessen the cognitive drain) and keep the quilt blocks small (2-4") so I can easily hold them in my hands. There are months when I can only sew a few rows of stitching at a time...but I keep the little fabric squares draped over a chair near my bed so that I can have something (other than pain) to focus on."

From a private email (which is why I'm not using her name): "I've been bedbound since my son was three-years-old. Watching him turn into a boy of six has not been easy on the heart and spirit. The most important thing I've learned that I can still do from the bed: I can LOVE my son. I can love him and snuggle with him in bed." And Anonymous wrote this about parenting her five-year-old son from the bed: "We sit and color together, snuggle and watch movies, and do crafts. Although I still require outside help of course, parenting from bed is possible."

From Wilhelmina and Teme, an idea that several people said they're ready to try: Get a set of crayons and a coloring book with beautiful patterns, listen to music, and color away!

From your author: Crocheting was on my last list because the "set-up" is easy (reach over the side of the bed and pick up the piece of work) and the "clean-up" is easy (drop the work back over the side of the bed!). I realized that I could do the same with a craft I first took up years ago: silk ribbon embroidery. As with crochet, I can buy all the supplies online. And so I've gotten out my dusty silk ribbon embroidery books and my box full of beautiful silk ribbon (I love the feel of it in my fingers) and am going to try it again.

© 2011 Toni Bernhard www.tonibernhard.com

Thank you for reading my work. My most recent book is titled How to Wake Up: A Buddhist-Inspired Guide to Navigating Joy and Sorrow.

I'm also the author of the award-winning How to Be Sick: A Buddhist-Inspired Guide for the Chronically Ill and their Caregivers

Using the envelope icon, you can email this piece to others. You can also subscribe to my blog (see the choices below my picture). I’m active on FacebookPinterest, and (to a lesser extent) Twitter.

Toni Bernhard, J.D., is a former law professor at University of California at Davis. She wrote the award-winning How to Be Sick and, recently, How to Wake Up.

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