…and how an apparently negative experience can lead to others that are enriching and fulfilling.
You may remember that this summer I was ill with pneumonia. (I tried not to bitch and moan about it too much, but my normal cheerful disposition was notably lacking for those months!)
That illness caused me to reflect on my life, on many levels.
Steve was in the States when I was most ill – he rushed back as soon as he could, but by the time he got home the antibiotics had kicked in and the worst crisis was over.
This meant that, for those few days, my children were effectively nursing me. At one point my teenage son, under telephone instructions from the doctor, had to wipe my entire body with a cold cloth in order to reduce my dangerously high temperature of 107%. This intimate, loving and yet slightly uncomfortable experience made me think about what it must feel like to be really old and incapable, and having to rely on others for one’s most basic needs.
After the first couple of weeks, the worst of the illness was over. It then took two months before I had enough energy to walk for more than a few minutes. Ironically, during this time I was fine doing my job (I write, so am able to work from home). But leaving the house was out of the question. In total, three months of this year were given over to the illness, and its physical consequences.
Now that I am well again, I find that the illness has had other, more lasting effects on me. I have been questioning whether I am spending my days doing things that I am really passionate about, or whether I am continuing down a fifteen-year old path because I feel it is somehow expected of me.
I find myself quite fearful about my body, and hyper-aware of any minor ailments. I have had a sore throat this week, and have been surprised to notice that my primary reaction to this is one of fear. It’s as if I don’t trust my body not to let me down again.
I have had to work hard to regain my fitness, and have found it hard to lose the weight I gained over those three sedentary months.
But, I began this post by saying how such negative experiences can lead to other, more positive ones.
For over a year now, I have wanted to deepen my understanding and practice of yoga. Going on a yoga retreat last month really helped me overcome my fears about stepping onto a new path in my life, and since then I have enrolled on a foundation course that is the first stage in training to become a yoga teacher. The course starts in January. I am excited about finally making the decision to take the next step on my yoga journey. I’m not sure where it will end up, but that doesn’t matter; what’s important is that I am starting on it.
I have also decided to lay a few more of my childhood demons to rest. In particular, I am taking on the inner voice that tells me that I am just no good at exercising, or indeed at anything physically taxing at all. These are not my messages, they belong to someone else and were internalised by me a long time ago. I am choosing now to leave those messages behind me, to turn my back and walk away from them. To help me do this, I have engaged the services of a personal trainer, who is also a counsellor. For me, this is a big, scary leap into unknown territory and yet, pleasingly, I am feeling great about it.
So, here’s to new paths, small steps and giant leaps!
i had no idea that you were so ill! 107 temperature sounds very frightening. but i am so glad for you that you are able to use this experience to think about your life and allow yourself to move in new directions. namaste.
Its amazing how certain experiences can really affect the way we view our lives and what we are doing in them. I don’t know whether people understand this unless they have had a similar experience?
I have had a life situation, and an illness over the last 4 years that have totally changed the way I live, almost in a enlightenment type of way. I am so much happier and a better person for it.
Best wishes for your new ideas, we only grow in strength from pushing ourselves out of comfort zones. x
Here’s to learning and growth and new challenges. Cheers!
I am glad for you that your health is improving and that you have decided to use this low point as a launching place for a new phase in your life. Sometimes we need the wake up call to reassess how we are living our lives, it would just be nice if they weren’t so extreme at the time. Good luck with your new endeavours.
Great post, all the best with your new decisions. I especially like how you are enjoying your journey without worrying about the destination. Yoga is something I have always wanted to try
I Started pilates in the summer and love it.Training to be a yoga instructor sounds fantastic! You can’t just say you write and not say what!
I had an illness about a year and a half ago; what I thought was interesting was that as my body healed, my mind did too – things I had major doubts / fears about lessened. I also suddenly became acutely aware of my own ephemeral mortality. I think people don’t recognise that the mind needs to heal in the same way as a body and sometimes an illness affords your mind the luxury of healing. Does that make sense? Mind / body can go through it together.
I often think about doing the yoga teacher training, but I can’t even do a headstand without a wall yet…
thank you for this very personal post. it made me reflect and am sure it will stay with me for a few days or even weeks.
the older i get the more i agree that everything in life happens for a reason, and that there is something good in everything we encounter, we just have to wait for it to emerge.
illnesess (serious ones) have the effect to scare everyone, but once over them it make one stronger and more aware of what is important. its so great you doing the course- and can’t wait to hear how it is going, very exciting indeed!
i wish you all the best with any future new paths, and success with this one.
Wow. That’s a great post. Pretty intense what you went through. They say when children (but I guess it would be with anyone) pass through a nasty fever they come out of it advanced developmentally somehow even spiritually. Congratulations on your decision to proceed on your yogic path. I took teacher training about six years ago and taught for a few and my husband took some too a few years later and though he doesn’t teach he has one of the richest practices. Lots of fun and life enhancing. Congratulations!
Thank you for sharing this. I am very much an “in the now” person – I don’t think a lot about the future or reflect much on the past – which is a personal failing, I think. You have reminded me that I really must do it, because it has such a huge value.
I too had no idea you were so ill. It’s a brave step you’re taking turning such a negative experience into a positive way forward. May you be richly rewarded.
Lovely post. Thank you for sharing.
Those old messages are so hard to erase. I want to try that too.
Congratulations!! Best of luck on your new path!!
Great post – thank you for sharing it! Good luck with your new direction!
Wow! That is brave, inspiring, and wonderful!
Sounds incredible – good luck, I know you’ll have great fun and your life will be even richer for the journey.
Amen! I also decided this past summer to change my relationship to physical exercise – though not, thankfully, due to a dangerous illness. I’ve started running — something I’ve always hated — and am delighted that now I can run 25 minutes without a break. Challenges are wonderful. Good luck and enjoy yours!
Congratulations. This sounds like a brave and exciting step!
What an interesting and thoughtful post, it is great that you are taking something positive out of your awful experience of illness and it sounds like your attitude will stand you in good stead.
I was one of those “can’t do sports” people until I discovered yoga and I am amazed at the effect it has had on me physically and mentally. I try to practise every day and love that feeling of well being that I just never seemed to manage with any other sport.
Somehow I missed how sick you’d been (as well as the news of your lovely beret pattern until after the fact – boo on me), and I’m so sorry to hear it. But I am so glad to read this post and what a positive thing you are doing – I do really believe that crazy and sometimes horrible times can come to really interesting ends or lead in amazing new directions. What an exciting step you are taking! I’ve toyed with the idea for years and I’m so impressed and proud of you for doing this – where ever it takes you, it will be a very good thing, I’m sure.