No one likes being sick. We do in fact everything to avoid it. But sometimes being sick might be exactly what we need.
Right now, I’ve been sick for two days and after fighting this ‘change-of-season-cold’ that has already been trying to come on for a month, I finally gave in and gave myself permission to just be in bed. Fuck it.
No to-do-lists. No I have-to’s. I’m in bed doing absolutely nothing. Till I feel inspired to do something. Like writing this article. Or reading this beautiful book, ‘Belonging’ by Toko-pa Turner that a friend lent to me. Or playing with my cat, Miss Smokey. Or watching Netflix, yes. (With Las Chicas Del Cable I get to at least practice my Spanish!).
I’m actually enjoying being sick. It’s a forced vacation for my busy day-to-day. But it’s a vacation nonetheless.
It’s allowing me to stop and rest. Especially my mind. Letting it meander around in unknown territories and explore emotional terrain that has been untouched for way too long. Like how do I actually feel? It’s quite impressive what things start coming to the surface when you are not constantly busy running around! Lying in bed all day, not exerting much energy into the ‘outer world’, a lot of energy redirects towards the inner world. Contemplation.
I am giving myself permission to not have any expectations whatsoever. The permission is semi-forced also, cause I’m actually too tired to give a damn. I don’t have to be responsible, spiritual, creative or even awake. Instead, I get to dream and play my version of Petra Pan.
Folks, I’m dropping the ball here and I’m allowed, cause I’m sick. The perfect, guilt-free excuse for taking a break.
Meanwhile, I do get to do all the things that have been hanging around in the background, like cleaning up my mailbox and calling friends I haven’t spoken to forever. Not because I ‘have-to’ but because I feel bored and these things don’t require much energy. And they feel satisfying. A relief to finally let it happen, which is different than ‘getting it done’.
In the semi-delirious state of tiredness and congested sinuses, the black-and-white-ness of my left brain seems to drift behind fogs that reveal another reality. A reality that’s much closer to my instinctual self. My body is tired, so it’s not the energy of a roaring lion, but more of a hibernating animal.
But still, the mind doesn’t get to have its usual say. ‘I should…Shit, I can’t….What if I miss this opportunity…etc.’ All these thoughts get surrendered straight away. Into the tender embrace of my feeling self. Which keeps saying: Rest.
Which means: Just let go.
But only with time, i.e. hours spent in bed does one realize what it actually is that one lets go of. Or what makes one so tired? You can’t fake resting. It will take as long as it will take.
That’s why being sick is humbling. It’s like we have to stop our busy-ness and realize, hey, the world is still going on without me. And I’m being taken care of. As in: I’m still alive.
In a way, it’s a practice in trust and surrender. And allowing ourselves to lay back and receive. To trust that it’s ok to empty the well and that it will fill up again.
It’s ok to be on the sidelines of the game for a moment. FOMO might reach its dirty tentacles for you, but that makes it even more satisfying to just tell it: Eff off. Finally!
Surrendering to being sick is like letting go to a lover you have been running away from. A lover that doesn’t excite you and make you scream with extasy but one that strips you bare to your essentials. One that actually touches your very core and reminds you of what is important.
You get to feel the simple gratitude of someone being kind to you. Like your neighbor bringing you a thermos of hot ginger-cardamom tea. You get to rest your body and you get to tell your inner over-achiever to stick it up his back. What a relief.
The medicine in being sick is simply to not be in control. And that medicine is not something we take but that is given to us. In the process, it softens our edges and allows us to reconnect with grace, the receivership of life.
Something we can all do with, I’m sure.