Monday, March 18, 2013

Women: What I learned from being sick

Having a cold or flu in winter is almost a ritual that gets repeated at least once every year, inspite of my best precautions.

I have all kinds of herbal remedies, and usually I don't stay sick for long, but this year I was travelling when the sore throat hit, and far from my tried and true flu busters.

No one likes to be stuck in bed, head throbbing, nose leaking, fever and chills running through their body. So I can't claim to have enjoyed that time in bed, although I did get a novel read in record time...but  I did get in touch with a valuable lesson.

With my head feeling like it's wrapped in cotton batten, ears plugged and chest phlegmy, it's hard to be grateful for being alive, but being forced to slow down did turn out to be a gift.

I got in touch with a deep undercurrent of tiredness, and was unable to get up and run around as quickly as I usually do. My brain still hasn't returned to 'busy mode', at least not with the same rapid response time I like to pride myself on.  I haven't been glued to my computer as much. The gift that was waiting for me was pretty low-key, and under the radar.  It was the gift of my own slowed-down speed, the going slowly itself became the gift.

Going slowly is not comfortable necessarily, when you're used to multi-tasking as I am.  But reducing my normal input level to one thing at a time is a blessing. I can begin to operate on a hum instead of a shriek. I can't jump ahead and plan three trips at once, or envision having the energy to go anywhere except be where I am right now.  Looking straight in front of me, I begin to allow myself time to breathe, time to enjoy a cup of tea, time to feel the hot water in the sink warming my hands, time to feel the softness folding the bamboo sheets, time to notice the bare grass at the side of the road walking the dog (yeah! mud and spring!). I just took a 40 minute nap, and slowly unplugged myself from the 'what if's' and questions about new classes, and creative ideas I should be developing....and just slept, curled up with my little shit-zu in my arms, belly to her back.

The gift of the present sometimes has to be forced on us, through illness, through breaking a leg, or just being extremely fatigued. We stop whirling, twirling and expecting miracles of our superwoman/man selves. It is possible, and even desirable, to do one thing at a time.

I invite you to try it sometime, even without the flu!


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