I knew something was wrong when I started to shiver. It was 70 degrees outside, and I was walking in the sun, in jeans and a long sleeve shirt. But all I could think about was how cold I was and that I couldn’t wait to crawl into bed.
I got the flu, for the first time in my life. I’ve had lots of colds, coughs, and sinus problems, but never the flu.
What can I learn from this as part of my 30 day challenge? Accept your limits. Listen to your body. You can’t control everything. Yes, these are true. They are. But this bout of sickness has me thinking back to something else.
A year ago I was roughed up on my way home from my own birthday party. I spent a night in the hospital. In a matter of seconds, my life was no longer mine. I was disoriented. I bled and couldn’t stop. I was shivering uncontrollably. Thanks to some good care I turned out fine, and thanks to an excellent surgeon (big cuts on my eye and lip) you’d hardly know it even happened. But I was struck, literally, by how quickly and arbitrarily my life changed from celebration to trouble, and from being in control of my body to being very out of control.
Why do we fuse together certain feelings and memories? What causes my brain to put the flu on the shelf and push it toward the back next to the mugging? They’re hardly alike. Except my body I guess. My body feeling pain. And that pain halting my life. That pain reminding me that I really am vulnerable in this world. While I know that intellectually, most days I’d rather not acknowledge it.
This post has turned rather serious. And there is no tidy resolution or tidbit of wisdom learned. But I’m open to what this stirring up of emotions and memories has to teach me. Maybe that’s the only victory, learning not to run away from the hard stuff and sit with it long enough to let fear give way to authenticity.