February hit me like a train, one that keeps speeding right into march. Whump! Flat on my back. It was a train of one flu, and then another (or The Worst Cold Ever).
I hope you were not taken down by this same train!
With kids in three different schools, it was hard to avoid. First it was one child up all night and sleeping on my lap for days on end. Then another went down. Then the first again, then ME, then finally the third. (Man-beast stayed healthy. He is blessed that way).
When you get hit by such a train there is simply no way to resist...It is way stronger than you.
Not that I didn't try to resist. I’m a woman with Things to Do. I stressed out about it (and got even less sleep!). I worked though it at first (and felt worse later). I fussed. I took lots of herbs to ward it off. And then, I wised up and surrendered.
My teacher, Martha Beck, talks about how the path of torture (hunger, sleeplessness, illness) is an opportunity. A time to come back to ourselves, to our core of peace that lives under all the hustle and bustle of our lives.
It’s like dipping into the well of life. That deep resource where all aliveness hangs out. So that when we re-emerge we are bright with life, presence, true kindness and compassion.
Of course, there are many more enjoyable paths to that same place. The paths of play and rest included.
I am a huge advocate of self-care (through the paths of rest and play) as the number one route to other-care. And I help others to build it into their lives so that they have a real reservoir of love and care to give from.
I have incredibly powerful practices for taking care of myself quickly, because, well, 3 kids...
And my own business.
And a man-beast. Who likes to talk. Sometimes an exhausting amount.(I love this about him!!!)
So I really need those practices to be powerfully effective and to not take up too much time.
They really work.
But sometimes I want even more, something deeper, more spacious. I want to whip out my handy dandy “Self care in Progress” sign (see the last post about this here) and head off to a quiet sanctuary to re-boot—for not just an hour, but for a week or two!
That had been the case in January, before this sickness... I’d been feeling a need to really STOP. I was aware of a distance between me and that “core of peace” (the place that our goodness and love and compassion flows from). I couldn’t really access my deep love. And my family could certainly feel it.
But with everything going on, including sick kids, I did not give myself permission to take such fierce care of myself.
Instead of the retreat full of my favorite self-care practices, I got sick.
Not just a little snuffle. The Real Deal. Fever and all. Suddenly I had real permission to stop going going going.
Not just permission.
A dictate from the Universe. The ultimate pause-button pusher. A sign that simply says STOP.
Stop and honor the need to chill out, tune into myself, and return to peace.
What does this all have to do with love and relationships?
Sometimes stopping, stepping off the hamster wheel that life can feel like, is the only way to stay connected to yourself. Which is the only way to be truly connected with others.
Though I would have preferred that dreamed of retreat under a palm tree, the benefits of this sickness are strangely similar!
I feel a little closer to myself for all this time I’ve been able to spend in stillness...and I am a little more in touch with my heart, a little more grateful for my normal health, a little more in love with my kids and with my man.
My family is mirroring this back. Whereas before the kids were hyper and chaotic around me, now they are sweetly cuddly. (One of them just made me a cute little present, which he tenderly handed me).
My man-beast had been pretty distracted and in his head. But now that I’m more relaxed and present, he’s being present with me, too, and is acting more relaxed and peaceful -- in his heart.
There’s been lots of sweet eye contact and loving affection.
It’s all because I’m back to myself, that sweet core of me. And they can sense me again.
Though I highly recommend taking the other paths to the same place!
For some practical tips and and a deeper understanding of this, here are a couple older articles to help you get back to your core of peace through the paths of play and rest (rather than getting sick:…):
The Overlooked Power of your Breath
Quick Ways to Build Rest into your Life (part 2 of a 4 part series)
Stay healthy (but if you don't, let it still you and cleanse you right on down to that soft, bright, loving heart you have)!
What brings you to your "core of peace?" hearing ideas from others ( you!) can be inspiring. Comment below!