I always thought of blogs as being narcissistic, business related, or as my sister's, a way of keeping in touch or memorializing.

But, by necessity, I am learning a lot about myself. I find I need to get my thoughts out, and it helps me to know that someone else will read them. So I have created this little space for myself, to express the things I have trouble saying (be it emotional or physical trouble), to share what I'm going through, and what I'm learning through it.

I absolutely welcome comments. It's nice to know how people relate to what I'm saying.
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Wednesday, 4 January 2012

there is sickness here but I am not sick

I've been in a bit of a funk for the last few days. I have had moments of tremendous enjoyment, especially the moments I spend with my boy, who is back home, happy, healthy and very much himself. But I also find that I've been irritated more easily, feeling lost, and plenty shut-down. My symptoms, especially the ones related to my central nervous system are exacerbated right now, and I still can't quite seem to kick this cold.

This morning, when my boy got up bright and early to get ready for his winter break camp, and asked me to join him in watching TV, I did, but I curled up on the couch, and tucked my head in as far into my shoulder as I could, just to share the space with him without going crazy with the sensory stimulation, hot/cold feelings, and general heaviness of my body. I spent the rest of the morning catching up on Facebook and realizing just how awful my body was feeling. It still is. Writing is hard right now, but I think it will help.

In a moment of clarity, I decided to turn off the computer after lunch and started instead to read "How to Be Sick" the bible of many chronically ill people by Toni Bernhard. It helped. She also has ME. She also doesn't know what that means, 10 years into being house-bound. To be honest, I am hoping not to be as house-bound as I am for another 10 years. But if that is what happens, I guess I will deal with it in much the same way as I've dealt with it thus far.

What really got to me though, what shifted my mood completely today, was the sentence "There is sickness here, but I am not sick." I read it. I read it again. I said it out loud twice, and the whole world, starting with my shoulders, expanded and became lighter.

There is sickness here but I am not sick. I am not my illness. I am not my bad mood. I am not this cold that won't go away, or the illness beneath it that is clinging to my body. They do not define me. They are not me. My mind is not stuck there. I do not have to stay there. I may have to live with it, but I do not need to make it the only part of me that matters.

As I explained in my last Osteopathy post, I am very drawn to this idea that there is a part of me that is healthy, and is working always towards health. There is something in me, call it life force energy, soul essence or ki, that is already perfect, because it is. That thing that makes seeds grow, and buds blossom, and that allows two random cells to grow into a perfectly formed embryo of every animal in this crazy impermanent every changing world. It is in me, as much as it is in them, and in you, and in everything on this planet. It flows and ebbs and changes and adapts. And it is perfect. That part of me is not, cannot ever be, sick.

Much of Berhnard's book outlines Buddhist ideas and practices, and when she said it, she was using it to get to the impermanence of self. But I am using it as a link to the greater me, the me that is permanent, that is perfect, that is the thing that ties me and connects me to God, the Universe, Great Spirit, the Is. I do not believe we are completely impermanent, and I don't honestly know what buddhism says about it. But I do believe that most aspects of our selves, especially the ones we tend to identify with most strongly (professions, status, age, state of health, hobbies) are not permanent. Even our gender is up for grabs here - whether or not we do in fact change our gender physically, as more and more people are doing - attitudes towards gender, and gender identities are shifting constantly. What it means to me to be a woman today is not what it meant when my mother was my age, and it's not to me what it is to some of my friends. It's an individual interpretation that is heavily influenced by a great many factors.

When I started reading about postmodernity in University, one of the ideas that fascinated and confused me was the multi-facetedness of personal identity. Now I get it. There is no one me that stays the same year after year, moment after moment, experience after experience. The me that was 5 or 10 years ago has little to do with the me that is now. In fact, the me that was this morning, all shuddering and curled up is not here right now. But there is an Andy-ness that flows through them.

I can't remember if I've quoted this already here. Eckhart Tolle says: "The closer we get to the end of our present evolutionary stage, the more dysfunctional the ego becomes, in the same way that a caterpillar becomes dysfunctional just before it becomes a butterfly. But the new consciousness is arising even as the old dissolves."

My Osteopath said something to this as well, last time I saw her. That when we come to a certain point in our healing, many of us cannot face the change, and cling on to old patterns so tightly that our health goes haywire, until we can let them go and move forward. Or something like that.

This is where I feel I'm at. I feel like I'm in a heady space, where things are moving too fast and too slow at the same time. It takes more conscious effort to control my thoughts, moods and attitudes. It's easier to lose myself in the internet, tv shows, books, than to see what is going on in my mind, my body, my spirit, my life.

And now I understand why I had to write it out. By writing it, I take it out of my head, I make it easier to see, and I lessen its effect on me. I tend to forget about that when I'm in the middle of it. But this is a good way out. And now I know and now I have a new mantra: There is sickness here, but I am not sick.

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