I have been sick for many weeks now. It’s kind of insane. I am somebody who never gets sick, or who never used to. Enter, toddler going to daycare. Ugh. Joe and I - all of us - have been more sick in this past year than ever before.
Being sick when your kid is also sick is a particular kind of hell. I think I’m getting used to it. I have resorted to the tv babysitter. It can’t be helped.
I am currently on vocal rest, which is interesting for someone who uses her voice for a living. I went straight from a horrible stomach thing right into a terrible head cold thing. And I just had a terrible head cold thing a few weeks before the stomach thing. Round and round! Now it’s attacked my voice, a vulnerable place for me. Without my voice, I can’t work. Thankfully, I listened to my intuition and asked to reschedule a book I was slated to narrate this week. I had a commercial gig two days ago and I was fine for that. So grateful for the timing there.
All this being sick business nags at me to dig a little deeper. On one level it’s obviously living with an almost three year old who brings home a host of nasties every day, but when something goes on like this for an extended period of time, I can’t help wonder…Ok, God, what’s the message here? Why is this happening in my life right now? What is the medicine for me in this experience?
When I ask these questions, the echo back is that it’s an outgrowth of all the shedding I’ve been doing this year; the last vestiges of anything holding on, dissolving. I am integrating a lot of new energetic changes and life path stuff; it shakes things up. Processing, releasing. That seems to resonate.
I was in Whole Foods the other day asking about Wellness Formula in the supplement aisle when a woman drove her cart head on towards mine, stopped short of ramming me and called, rather loudly, “Can I be weird?” Making sure she was talking to me (she was looking right at me, who else could she be talking to?), I responded “Yes, of course, please do!” (who am I to deny weirdness…especially when someone asks first!). Letting out a sympathetic sigh, she said: “There’s a lot going on planetarily right now and a lot of us are really feeling it. It might not be that you’re sick…I just want you to know, I see you! And I see you as perfect and healthy and whole!”
I was like: Ok, thanks, Lady!
So there’s that.
Over the past few months I’ve also gotten present to a deep tiredness I’m carrying around; possibly the result of the last two and a half years of stress with the fostering, possibly, also, a lifetime of running myself on empty. So perhaps this is the end result of that way of being in this world. The tank finally running out of gas? Sometimes when you don’t stop, the universe makes you stop. I have been craving silence and space and now I’ve got it.
It’s confronting. All this silence. This being forced to slow down from my usual breakneck pace. It also feels like a strangely disguised gift. This time is giving me space to think. To dream. To slow down and take stock, instead of jumping into action or being in perpetual motion.
It’s funny because I still find myself itching to get things done, holding on to the idea that I’m supposed to be doing something all the time, to be “productive”, even in the midst of being sick!
I should be working on my book. I should be cleaning out my closet and donating to a women’s shelter, I should be watching all those Netflix shows on my list.
It goes on and on. If I can’t let myself rest and relax when I’m sick, when can I? But it’s this weird sick - not sick. Like, I’m not so sick that I need to be laying down all day, but I can’t speak and I have little energy. I’m a shell of myself. Where does that leave me? Maybe I should tackle those Netflix shows.
Intuitively, I feel I am moving more deeply into the truth of who I am, and this is some necessary morphing I need to go through. Learning how to be quiet. Learning to listen more fully. Learning that sometimes doing less is the harder and more necessary work.
I did manage to watch a Yoga movie on Netflix last night (doesn’t count, it wasn’t on my list!). A take away was that we are all healthy, calm, peaceful, fun, energetic (fill in the blank with good stuff) at our core; anything that's not that, is just covering up the truth of who we are. So it’s not about changing, it’s about uncovering the greatness inside, because it's there and it's always been there. It’s not something outside of us that we have to strive for or chase. We are all perfect inside. We just pile a lot of junk on top to cover it up, over the course of our lives.
This is so deep; to really get that it is all about focusing in and honoring the unique person I am, that no one else is and following MY muse. To honor my own time clock. To stop looking at things that other people are doing, or looking at what is wrong with me and start noticing everything that's right. To commit to keep looking at that.
For so long I got results by doing the opposite - focusing on what was wrong - what I needed to change about myself. Or how or where I needed to be in comparison to someone else, or even in comparison to where I thought I wanted to be in the past.
Last week I saw a quote that’s still resonating so deeply for me: “Imagine if we obsessed about the things we loved about ourselves”. Because a new energy is needed here. I can no longer do the beat up on myself to get results routine. It worked in the old paradigm but we’re not there anymore. A new approach is absolutely necessary.
I’m doing the work. It’s just slow. It’s the granular work of noticing, moment to moment, where I’m cheating myself, short-changing myself, hurting myself, or bullying myself. I want to treat me the way I treat my best friends. With love and kindness and generosity and encouragement. I don’t need to force or cajole myself into positive choices. I can make positive choices from a place of empowerment. And I can rest if rest is needed. Even if it’s been weeks and my brain shouts enough is enough. My body is speaking to me; the body has wisdom.
I was so accustomed to using force as a tool. Forcing myself to do this or that. Pushing through. Plowing forward. It’s as if it was the only way I knew how to accomplish anything. I remember I used to abuse food so that I’d make myself go to the gym. I’d literally be like, I’m going to eat this box of cookies and then I’ll HAVE to go exercise. Nice one. That doesn’t work for me any more. It’s such a punishing way of being with yourself. Hurtful. Unkind.
I am excited to be diving more deeply into my realm. To more fully embody, one day at a time, this notion of myself that I've had an inkling of my whole life. I really have a lot of work to do. A lot I want to do.
But today I get to continue refilling the tank. And when I’m strong again, how about approaching my aspirations from a place of total joy? With a healthy dose of gentleness, perhaps?