Notes on a Buddhist path

Starts with “s”, ends with “ick”

October 20, 2011 By | Leave a Comment

Trouble creates a capacity to handle it….meet it as a friend, for you’ll see a lot of it and had better be on speaking terms with it. ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes

I woke up yesterday with Queasy and Achy. Not two of the Seven Dwarfs, but messengers of the ominous four letter word I dare not utter because if I do then I am admitting to handing myself over to its power. However, since the name Lord Voldemort was finally spoken in the last episode of the Harry Potter saga, I suppose, to paraphrase Professor Minerva McGonagall, I might as well use it, it’s going to try and get me either way.

Sick. Okay, there you have it. Even though I managed to get myself to work, I came home early as my energy and cognitive skills began to cascade and the beginnings of a fever and chills seeped out of my pores. Slogging my way home after getting off the bus, I remembered to focus on my breath and my steps. I practiced a bit of metta for myself, repeating the phrases “I am well and happy, I am peaceful and at ease” as I made my way home.

With each repetition of those words, I became immensely aware of how fortunate I am to be generally healthy. My body was feeling sensations of perhaps food poisoning or the flu or a cold, but it wasn’t a terminal disease or constant pain as so many people live with day in and day out of their lives. Feeling the breath move in and out of me calmed my steps and brought a present acceptance of what I was feeling in my body.

As I walked in the door of my apartment, I felt spent, but quite grateful for the gift of this illness. It gave me the time to rest, to sleep, to heal and be with myself without distractions. I became aware of all the shoulds that lead me around in my life. The work left undone at my office, phone messages and email messages waiting for me at home, dishes to be washed and cat litter boxes to be cleaned. I set all of the shoulds down and embraced sleep with its healing embrace and cloak of guardian love.

I ended up napping the rest of the afternoon, getting up in the evening for a bit of soup, then back to bed where I slept through the night. I feel much better today having sweated away the fever and caught up on a ridiculous amount of sleep. The shoulds have leaked back into my consciousness, but I have sequestered them for awhile, allowing them out for brief visits, one at a time, into the light of day. Perhaps the illness passed quickly because I embraced it or maybe it was just a 24-hour something or other. Either way I am glad for its visit.

Now, back to bed. There is more non-shouldness to be done.

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