Today is a beautiful day.
Beautiful, not for the traditional reasons (see above), but because I am home alone and sick. Who doesn’t love sick days? I am so grateful to be sick today.
As kids, we knew what was good, right? We were so wise, we knew the meaning of ‘fake it till you make it’ and oh how we tried. We knew there was something magical about a Tuesday at home.
In any case, I suffered from my share of real illnesses, like whooping cough and unexplainable viruses that put me out of action for weeks. I watched every Disney movie in the video store and built a paper and plastecine zoo at my nana’s house. Those were good times.
As an adult, I am grateful to be in great health most of the time, but being a teacher, when I do get sick, I tend to feel guilty about taking days off. If you are working for yourself or not on a contract, the pay-off for taking a day off is even greater. You might ask yourself, ‘How much is my day off worth?’ You could probably just struggle through it as I have done on many occasions.
But getting sick is actually a sign for us to slow down and rest. And why not enjoy it while we’re at it?
Of course we have all heard that stress leads to serious diseases and health problems, but on a small scale this can also be true.
Last week I was super busy, rushing from work to rehearsals and home again almost every night. Even enjoyable things felt like an effort. You know how it is, right? Meeting up with good friends is usually something to look forward to, but not when it becomes another thing to rush to.
The weekend didn’t feel long enough and it all started again this week. So many appointments at work and I was just trying to carve out a little time for myself. And I could feel a sore throat and cold coming on.
So yesterday I was at work and sneezing all over the place, infecting the airspace, but I thought I had to carry on because i had an important meeting this morning that I’d been preparing for (wow I sound like a real adult). People were relying on me.
But then, with some encouragement, I just decided to surrender to the sickness.
Now, I know i’m drawing this out like it is a genuine battle with a serious disease and I hope I don’t sound overly dramatic or that I’m just sitting around over-analysing all the miniscule moments of my life, like what actually happens when I breathe or something. I’m drawing it out for a purpose.
Because sometimes we want to push push push and keep on going, keep on achieving and not letting anyone down. We are committed and we know that people are expecting us to show up. And we value those people and their time and commitment.
But when we’re sick or tired or our heart’s just not in it, let’s take a rest. Let’s honour ourselves and learn to let go.
Taking time off gives us the space to refresh from the inside out. Taking time off allows us to hear our inner guides encouraging us to receive and get in the flow. We have plenty of time. We already have everything we need.
Imagine you were sledding and you came across this sign. Both ways lead to the bottom but you can choose to take the easy or difficult route. It’s enough to send a sensitive soul into an existential crisis! Let’s not hang around sinking too deep into the snow while we make our decision…
There’s a lot of fun to be had in just jumping into the deep end, but I’m a bit more cautious when it comes to snow. Experience build confidence, and I don’t have enough of it to be fearless in the face of mountains.
What I learnt was that both paths had value. The easy way was enjoyable because I had time to soak up the extreme beauty and the silence of the snowy forest, and it left me craving something a bit more challenging.
On the way down the difficult track there was a sense of comradeship, of sticking together and making sure everyone was alright, there was fun in watching people just let go and fly and even some exhilaration in the way I snow-ploughed my way down there.
As a teenager I might have felt like I should have only taken the difficult way and went with what didn’t feel comfortable.
As adults we might have enough awareness to not be peer-pressured into sledding the difficult track, but what about other areas of our lives? Did you accept a prestigious position even though your heart’s not in it ? (I did) Did you feel like you needed a degree or qualification? That you have to work full-time or get a bigger mortgage? That you have to publish a book for your life to be worth something? (I blush)
Of course there are valid reasons why we do these things but there also is a certain pressure and a sense of urgency that we attach to these desires. And that just doesn’t feel right. And maybe by being so stuck on having things a certain way, we miss an easier, gentler or more exhilarating way it could be.
So I’m learning to let go. There are many ways to come down a mountain and just as many ways to climb up it. And we have plenty of time and everything we need.
Question : How do you like to refresh on a sick day at home?