Last week I traveled almost 20 hrs by plane train, wonky shuttle bus, and automobile to get mind-bogglingly ill and stay inside a teensy Copenhagen apartment for 3.5 days straight. Did I mention the LITCHERAL Siberian winds that were making the city and cozy 5°?*
This ain’t a pity-party email, instead that level of sick showed me something so interesting/important about acceptance, presence, and stillness. Below are some insights and some strategies to put them into action.
I mean, I better have learned something good because l couldn’t taste any food for a week. The worst!
So as a kid, it was sorta fun to stay home sick, right? Didn’t it feel like a treat? I’d lay on the couch and watch Thundercats and 227 reruns, and my mom (who also had to take a sick day, which wasn’t nearly as fun for her) would make me a grilled cheese and chicken and stars soup.
Now, being sick is not a treat. There’s the rescheduling of clients and work and to-dos that get all upside-down, but there’s also the fighting it. The initial and sporadic bouts of ZERO CHILL as the reality that ain’t-shit-getting-done, washes over.
Why is it so hard to be still and accept reality as it is??
A few reasons that kicked my ass last week…
1. Being sick means being vulnerable. And depending on your relationship to vulnerability, sickness (or whatever brings it up) can be complex. Culturally, vulnerabilityhas meant weakness. It’s hard not to internalize that…or rather it can take some work to redefine vulnerability on your own terms based on grown-ass you, not child you.
2. Being still means that whatever is clamoring around inside of you will have some space to rise to the surface. And if you’re consciously/unconsciously pushing something down, trying NOT to look at it or feel it, welp, stillness will feel like the enemy.
3. Accepting reality as it is isn’t really a human strong suit. Collectively, the ever-shifting nature of reality freaks us the hell out. We like certainty, security, and safety. It’s what we’re always striving for on some level. We try to control, manipulate, bend reality to our will. Futile. Exhausting. Confusing.
So how do we get better at this whole acceptance/reality/vulnerability/stillness thing?
(Feeling very Virgo after all this illness and travel, so you get two listicles today!)
1. Stop trying to fight it. I know, crazy talk. But hear me out.
When something uncomfortable comes up, don’t run away. If you have a thought or belief or feeling rise to the surface that you’d rather not think or feel — stay.
When you observe your thoughts and feelings you bring them from the unconscious to the conscious.
When you bring these thoughts to the conscious mind, you free yourself (even if just temporarily) from the ego and increase the potential for connection with your inner guidance. Win!
2. Release judgment of yourself. You’ve probably judged yourself for having complex or ugly thoughts/feelings, which brings you right back into the ego. No change can happen there.
3. Look at your relationship to vulnerability. Do some journaling on it. What images, words, greetings come up for you? Is this someone else’s definition that you took on? What do you want it to be? Write it down, speak it aloud.
4. Make regular time for stillness. Even just a few breaths in the morning, with your feet on the floor, to calibrate your being with the earth. This is simple and life-changing. You don’t have to become a meditation master. Just own that you’re worth a few moments of stillness in the morning. Set an intention for the day. Maybe it will be to observe your feelings and not abandon or judge yourself. Try it!