…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!