I am sick today, recovering from an insistent virus that canceled my life and ordered me to bed. I find it difficult to allow the luxury of utter stillness, to withdraw and rebuild my strength. Illness is a demanding guest. I must stay in the moment and be vigilant, guarding against negative thoughts I mistake as my own, when they are nothing more than missiles weighed down with infection.
The sun is out, shining bright, inviting me into the world, but I won’t leave the quilt. My job is to eat chicken soup, drink immune system tea and take more herbs than I can count. I see Hannah’s outline near the front door. She’s been waiting for the past several days, sleeping on the welcome mat and wondering if I have forgotten her, wondering when we’ll walk the library paths again. I slip her a treat and shake my head. “Not today, sorry.”
I saw my acupuncturist, Nina, yesterday who told me to breathe into my belly and get out of my head. She asked me to be mindful of my body several times a day, so I don’t die of a brain cramp sorting through my To Do list. She placed needles in my legs and arms while quoting the Buddhist teacher Dipa Ma. “How you do one thing, is how you do everything.” I thought of the folks I nearly crashed into on the drive over, and knew she was right. So I slowed down, let it all go, and began to breathe, breathe into the belly and up though the soles of my feet. I thought of my own favorite saying, “There is so much to do, I must go very slowly.” She gave me a prescription for Oregon Grape and I left better than I arrived, driving home in a different state of mind. I took time to feel my hands on the steering wheel and the heated seat against my back.
I hadn’t realized I’d flown so far out of my body before illness brought me home, like a jet crashing on the runway. Now I need to stop, repair and recover, not what I want to be doing. But I yield, with little choice. The wind is gentle and soft as I reach for the mail before climbing back into bed. The sun is gone now, leaving with undelivered promises, just like me.