A New Story of Sickness
For several years now I have been witnessing a regular pattern within myself. With incredible consistency, I am experiencing a common cold run through my system, on average, every two months. Sometimes it would be three, rarely four, and on occasion within a single month I would be sick with a cold again.
Each time this cycle repeated I would do everything I was supposed to do. Drink lots of water. Eat veggies. Sleep. Take vitamins and supplements. Drink a bunch of herbal teas. Wash my hands. Minimize my exposure to other people. Each time the sickness started with a tickle in my throat, moved to a snotty nose, and finished off with a cough. And each time I couldn’t help but notice that no matter what I did to shorten or lessen the illness, they always took a couple weeks to fully recover from.
(on a side note, I realize that many of the highly experimental drugs available from lab coats do alleviate our perception of the illness – however these really only numb symptoms, not causes, of sickness. It is our addiction to numbing symptoms that perpetuate our sickness and enables us to deny our pain. And yes, bacteria and viruses are also symptoms ;). What! How can that be you say?! Read on… 🙂
Practice, Practice, Practice!
A practice that I enjoy is becoming aware of the stories we tell about our world and life. I talk much about embodying storyteller consciousness, which is simply examining the various ways in which our stories either constrict or empower us as individuals and as a collective. It’s all story. Accounts of things. One step away from the truth of the here and now in this moment. But that’s another story.
What is the story of my sickness pattern? How is the story influencing my choices? Are my choices having any of an effect? Perhaps my story is what is incorrect, and by extension, all choices arising from that story will inevitable fail? Could the solution only exist in a new story?
No Time for Rest!
Now these colds have never really been any of the type that warrant staying home from work or school, let alone missing out on all the exciting plans I have filled my days with. There is just too much to keep up with to let a slightly stuffy nose or minor cough interfere. Ah-ha. That was the one thing I hadn’t actually tried – resting.
This long-lived cycle has taken me through three different perspectives on illness: indulgence, denial, and finally acceptance. Indulgence arose whenever I would complain that I was sick or use the illness for pity, sympathy, or attention from others. Denial meant attempts at “mind over matter” by pretending I wasn’t sick. This is why actual rest, a halt in my usual daily doing, never became a viable option. Acceptance arises when I recognize my body’s need for rest and its desire to heal me in the best possible way it knows how. I am sick and I need rest.
One Root Story
My choices to eat healthier, remove sugar, stop smoking, stay away from germs and be clean, take immune support pills, etc, etc – are all solutions arising from a common story. The story is that germs enter my body and overtake my naturally functioning systems while my immune response battles them back until none remain and I am clean and healthy. Vitamins and minerals provide the fuel and weapons for my minions to take down the invaders. Or maybe a foreign entity has entered my body and caused an imbalance within my field. Perhaps I am clearing out toxins that I continue to put into my body throughout the time I am not sick. It’s easy to see all of the purging, or clearing out, I do when I am sick – whether through snot, sneezing, mucus, coughing, vomiting, etc – there are lots of bacterial and viral friends emerging.
Nothing Wrong With Your House
Now it would be easy to imagine that there is something wrong with my body, my lifestyle, or my diet to think that I become sick so often. I choose to believe that my body knows exactly what it is doing to keep me in the best possible state of balanced health. It does the best with what it is given. A regular cold could be its most ideal solution to clearing out the physical toxins it receives from the environment. For all I know, if I didn’t go through these patterned purges, perhaps by forcing my will to stay healthy (i.e. through denial) I might end up with some other major dis-ease later on in life after the repression builds to unmanageable levels. These colds could be relieving me of the potential of a major illness.
It would be impossible for anyone to deny the toxic environment in which we are immersed. We are constantly in contact with airborne bits, breathe in through our skin, and ingest countless toxins through our mouths. The world of the incredibly small is teeming with the unseen. Our bodies alone are home to ten times more bacterial organisms than human cells! As the buildup occurs over time, our immune response takes action to clear them out. What about a story of our body inviting a particular bacteria or virus to assist with the cleansing?
It’s from this story that we no longer see the bacteria or virus as the cause of our imbalance and instead recognize them as a symptom. They are a key player in the dynamic of the illness, but not anything to create an enemy out of. You are teeming with house guests that fill specific roles if you need them to. I want to say that this invitation story does not negate the other beneficial choices of eating vibrant food or washing hands before cooking or covering your mouth when you cough. The change in story merely affects one’s attitudes toward the choices they make. Are you battling an invader, or are you supporting your body?
The desire for a new story arises when we become aware of the insanity of our old one. Our insanity comes from doing the same thing and expecting different results. This goes for trying harder as well. If it’s not working at all, why would trying harder work any better? Women taught me this lesson well. So what is my new story of sickness?
After years of attempts with trying to shorten the time I am sick and having no effect, I have decided to give not trying a shot. What happens when I just get out of the way and let my body do what it knows best? What if I acknowledge my body’s need to rest and choose to be proactive with that need?
The time that I am sick roughly equates to one day a week. Hmmmm… seventh day of rest? What happened to that? And when I say rest, I mean rest. Introspection. Self-care. Sleep. No work. No Stress. Relaxation. What would happen if I start taking proper rest while I am well? Could it be possible that taking proactive rest would alleviate the need for my regular cold?
I guess the only way I would know the answer to those questions is to embody their new story and let the paved parking lot become a forest once again. Maybe if I observe first I will know how to act in alignment with the natural growth of my body.
The experiment I will be participating in is to take a few days of rest in a row each month, in time with the moon cycle, to see if that relieves the regularity/intensity of the cold pattern I experience.