It’s tuesday and I’m sick. Nope, not sick and tired, though there is plenty I am sick and tired of, just plain old sick. It came on Sunday afternoon and this is day two I am missing from work. I do not need to be hospitalized, I am not on my way to urgent care, there is nothing broken or out of the ordinary about what is occurring in my body. I am just good old fashioned, prep the tea, warm the soup, fluff the pillows, grab the kleenex sick.
And I feel so, so - oh my gosh there must be something incredible wrong with my psyche, how could i let this happen, what am I even doing with my life anyway, what is the universe trying to tell me, what are my employers thinking of me, what is my trainer thinking about me, what does this mean - guilty.
And this happens every time I get sick. Any kind of sick.
And it makes me question, everything. Am I in the right place? Am I doing the right things? Have I gotten sick because I am doing all the wrong things and making all the wrong choices? Has every choice i’ve ever made been wrong? If I were a better person this wouldn't happen to me. If I were more aligned with my inner desires, because me getting sick must mean i’m not, right?
It must mean that all of the things I wanted to do, all the actions I was gearing up to take, everything about my decisions was wrong, right?
Or does it mean I don’t care about my life? It must mean I am depressed and apathetic. Or just pathetic. Because if I cared more, if I was a happier person, this wouldn’t happen. And if I were a better person I would just suffer through it. I bet Obama never gets sick, or Oprah, I bet they never got sick. And if they did they probably just drugged up and carried on.
Never mind we are coming up on the year anniversary of my beloved teacher, best friend’s, gosh there really aren’t words to describe her, transition. Never mind that a year ago while that was going on I got bronchitis and was laid out for ten days in grief manifesting physically. Never mind that i miss her every single day and likely still in a very real stage of grieving. No I must be making that up. That must just be an excuse. That’s not real, these feelings aren’t real.
The deep amount of weeping I have been doing for her and her husband my other teacher, friend, there are no words… that’s just pansy behavior. And the profound and rooted realizations about where my life is and where I want it to go, the fear I have been facing on what it would mean to make those changes, to take those risks, that’s not real either right? and the awareness of the giant impact my teachers had on my soul and the giant gaping hole they left when they left? these things are all just fabricated justifications for why I have succumb to some infection that has attacked me, right?
But what if….
What if I was just sick? What if my body, soul, mind and heart just needed some time to sleep? To rest? To slow it all down so much that there was nothing to do? Nothing I could do? Even if I wanted to? What if all there was to do was be flat, prone, savasana and let each moment pass over me like a cloud does over the sun? Like the storms we just had in LA passed through our city?
And what if, like our city, I was left cleaner upon allowing this to pass through me? Not fighting it, just surrendering to the sleep, the stillness, the rest? I did not surrender last year. I fought it tooth and nail, coughing fit after coughing fit, which is probably precisely why it lasted ten days. Well, that and the nature of grief.
What if in this moment in time, for some reason totally unknown to me, it was the most important thing for me to stay still, to let someone bring me soup and tea, to listen to my 16 year old kittens purr louder than the sounds of construction across the street, and to be available to the tremendous amount of wisdom, dreaming and what very clearly feels like healing taking place.
Healing i don’t understand. Healing I don’t have to understand. Healing I couldn’t possibly understand even if i tried. And the more I think about it, the more I wonder if this isn’t the case for everything. Every single little thing that happens. Maybe everything has in it, like a pearl in the oyster, a healing. A healing we don’t have to understand, a healing we couldn’t possibly understand if we tried.
And i don’t have to fight it. In fact, perhaps fighting it makes the healing take longer. Like picking a scab. Maybe I can just really let all of the harsh self judgements go. Because, come on, I know they're not true! and the guilt? maybe i can just really let all that go too. It's not really serving anyway. And I am not saying i don’t get to keep stretching and learning and growing and expanding but maybe, just maybe I can let go of the fight. Or change my definition.
At the gym, when I am going for a PR (personal record) my coach says “good fight”. I am fighting for something, I am fighting FOR myself to hit a record in order to get stronger. But I am not fighting against anything. I suppose if I had to say I was it would be against my weakness but not in the judgmental, negative, degrading way. They also say at my gym “fail better”. To me this means keep fighting the good fight. Keep going for growth, skating your edge, expanding your awareness of what you can and cannot do.
So today, instead of fighting the inner battles and judgements of my own tired, worn out brain I am going to fail better. I am going to be the best sick I can be. I am going to sleep, drink tea, sleep, maybe read if I have the energy, listen to purrs, drink soup, sleep, and recover the way that my body is asking me to do. It clearly has an agenda I am currently not in control of anyway.
And I will grieve better too, I will cry as hard as I need to whenever I need to about all the things I need to cry about for the rest of my life. And yes, I am pretty clear I will be crying about Gene and Toni for the rest of my life. It's ok. And I have a sneaking suspicion that releasing my judgement about it and letting the tears out will in fact prevent the paralysis I am trying to avoid by not doing it in the first place which seems to set in anyway whenever I attempt not to feel or cry instead.
And I will do all of this regardless of whether or not anything else is going on, whether it is deep healing on all levels or simply the eradication of some germs I picked up out there living my perfectly imperfect life.
Sometimes, I am making it up, sometimes it does happen when something is misaligned, sometimes I know I need rest but can’t ask for it myself. Sometimes it’s all of the above and sometimes it’s none of the above. And none of it makes me a better or worse person.
Because sometimes, sometimes we just get sick. (even Oprah.)