Last week, I came down with the full on flu. It took me by surprise and fast. I started feeling a few symptoms on a day when I was working 12+ hours, and had no access to my usual assortment of defenses (oil of oregano, EmergenC, tea, etc.). By the next day, I was full on sick, and stayed that way for a few miserable days.
I rarely get sick. Generally, when I start to feel symptoms of something coming on, I am able to fight it. I had to really think about it, and I am pretty sure it had been over ten years, since I was that sick.
It was an eye opening experience for me. I realized how much I take my health for granted and how utterly miserable I am, when I am not experiencing wholeness. It was difficult to even lay down and read a book, because my head was throbbing so much. The only thing that alleviated anything was sleeping, which in itself, was difficult, through all my coughing and nose blowing.
I realized how important it was to be myself fully and completely. I felt like I was a stranger in my own body and out of control. I was invaded by sickness and it temporarily took over. I realized how often I took for granted being a whole, healthy individual. I longed to be able to feel good first thing in the morning, to have lasting energy throughout the day, to have a clear mind and the ability to do anything I wanted.
It was a humbling experience that renewed my gratitude for my body and health. It renewed my sense of thankfulness for the ability to fully experience my five senses and have the use and connection of all parts of my body.
It was also a great reminder about self-care. I have been more stressed with work in the past month, and have not been always coping in healthy ways. Being sick also proved to remind me that taking care of myself during stressful times is of the utmost importance.
I just finished reading Pema Chodron’s When Things Fall Apart, and a quote that really stood out to me, and has become my new creed is, “ It’s pretty obvious that people need help and there’s no way to benefit anyone unless we start with ourselves.” This truly spoke to me. I work as a high school counselor and spend most of my day helping others. However, it was a powerful reminder that I am little good to anyone else, unless I have first started with myself.