I had last week all mapped out. It was booked off on my schedule as “work from home week.” Matthew had a day or two of work to do, but on all the other days I was going to take the afternoon and Do Some Work. Solid, uninterrupted, glorious work. I started out strong on Monday, inspired by my stellar office makeover.
And that’s where it stopped.
On Monday night I noticed that my throat was scratchy. On Tuesday, when I launched my 8-week session of DansKinetics classes at DANSpace (hint hint: you should come and dance with me!), I was in the process of losing my voice. By the time I got home that night it was official: I was sick.
It wasn’t my ordinary cold. For the past 5 years at least, my colds have followed a precise pattern: start in the head with 2 days of abject misery, move to the chest, feel better. This one? This one started in the chest and then migrated up, wiping me out completely for 3 days and not slacking off until Day 4. So. Much. Fun.
Instead of my lovely week of working and planning, I found myself slumped miserably on the sofa, watching movies with Xander, and even taking a daily afternoon nap (this never happens). I couldn’t walk from one end of the apartment to the other without having to lie down afterwards.
I started getting suspicious right around Day 2. I mean, I know the scientific mechanics of cold-catching, but I am absolutely convinced that illnesses come for a reason. And this one, this weird and oddly-timed cold? Definitely not random.
As I lay on the sofa, I thought a lot about Why This Happened. And the longer I lay there, the more insight I had about it. The way I see it, this cold came around for two reasons:
1. I wasn’t taking care of myself.
I’ve been staying up too late, working too much, not taking time to play or be still (this was made very clear over the course of my sofa-time…I’d forgotten what it felt like to sit for more than an hour without doing something).
It’s the usual story, and that’s why it’s my go-to theory when I get sick. My body decided that, if I wasn’t going to cut it out voluntarily, it would make me be still and look after myself…hence the 3 days on the sofa (and even now I’m not 100%…I had to lie down for half an hour this afternoon!)
2. My brand-new blinding-light epiphany: I was off-centre, and it was throwing everything off. In fact, I had been off-centre and floundering for so long that it had stopped feeling bad and started feeling normal. This cold came to show me the truth.
I haven’t been fully living my life. Not walking my talk. Not living my message. Getting stuck in ruts of habit and resistance. Business-wise, not doing the biggest things on my lists. Meaning to do them and then getting bogged down in avoidance and perfectionism (which are both just fancy names for not doing something out of fear). Hanging back and stressing out and checking Facebook instead of moving through my to-do lists. Forgetting why I was doing the work in the first place. Letting myself and my dreams down.
That sounds like I’m berating myself for it, and I’m really not. I could feel that something was wrong, but I couldn’t figure out what it was. I don’t think off-centeredness registered consciously before last week because, really, I’ve been doing so much better than I was last year or the year before that (and don’t get me started on my first year as a mama). But I don’t feel good…and besides, better isn’t the same as full-colour-awesome. Now that I can see the difference, it’s time to make a change.
A lot of the “walking my talk” things I’ve been neglecting are self-care: Reiki. Meditation. Watching dance performance. Reading actual books. Moving my body regularly in the ways I teach and write about. Doing the work that’s most important to me instead of skirting the edges and making busy-work (and then getting worn ragged and stressed out and sick). These are all things that would make my mama-job easier and help me follow my passion. These aren’t things to “not have time for,” or to forget about or to avoid.
I knew vaguely that I was doing that before this cold, but I didn’t realize the full extent of the problem until I was forced to stop working altogether. I needed the week of misery in order to get perspective on the months that came before.
My Reiki Master taught us a saying during one of our attunement workshops: when she’s going through a major healing crisis, be it a physical illness or an emotional rollercoaster, she says “Thank you for my healing.” No matter the situation, she says “Thank you for my healing.” (Sometimes she shouts it and shakes her fist at the Universe :P)
Now that I’m getting better, that phrase sums up my feelings exactly. Last week didn’t go AT ALL how I planned. Being sick sucked a LOT, and I was so disappointed about not being able to do the things I’d planned, but now I can see the necessity of the week on the sofa. I appreciate the insights I gained from the change in plans.
Now I get to decide how I want to proceed from here.
Thank you for my healing.