“Water does not resist. Water flows. When you plunge your hand into it, all you feel is a caress. Water is not a solid wall, it will not stop you. But water always goes where it wants to go, and nothing in the end can stand against it. Water is patient. Dripping water wears away a stone. Remember that, my child. Remember you are half water. If you can’t go through an obstacle, go around it. Water does.”
― Margaret Atwood, The Penelopiad
These last few months have been hard. Hard, because I’ve been so ill and it’s not relenting yet. Hard, because I have this struggle going on inside me. It’s one that’s been going on for years. Maybe it’s also your struggle.
It’s a need to be productive. A need to work. To earn my keep. To make my days pay. A need to be doing something!!!
Perhaps it’s genetic. Perhaps it’s programming. Perhaps personality.
But whatever the origin, it has been causing me some grief. Lately my days have shrunk so small. From hour to hour I don’t know if I will have any energy to lift my head, or if my head will even function when I do.
Part of me feels immensely guilty for being so still. So useless.
I know, I know. It’s not useless. It’s ‘taking time out to heal’. If you were me, I would give you that lecture.
Here I’ve been. Sick, guilty and frustrated.
My husband took me to the beach a few days ago, and waited patiently as I hobbled slow as an old woman down to the sand.
I stood with my feet in the waves a while, and then sat down near the water’s edge.
Inch by inch the gentle waves erased the footsteps of all those who had passed.
There were no dramatic moments – over the course of a few hours the tide simply crept up the slope of the beach.
I found myself having a cry, surrounded by beauty, and filled with futility.
“You’re getting there, Nic. Patience… faith…” my wise husband whispered in my ear as he put his arm around my shoulders.
I kept watching the ocean, swollen from the pull of the full moon above. The ocean that meets the shore every day. The beach that is swept clean by her actions every day. Moon pulling on water. Water pulling on shore.
That was a powerful realisation for me.
The steady application of a gentle energy, over and over, gets things done.
If you want to improve your fitness, one day of exercise won’t make any obvious difference. But if you make it part of your daily routine that energy becomes a force for change in your life.
Fitness, wellness, education, writing a book, growing a baby, starting a business, developing a skill – from day to day we may see little evidence of change, but cumulatively those results will stack up. All we need to do is hang in there and keep doing that thing.
I’m so impatient to be well. I’m so impatient to be working and writing and living larger in the world. And my frustration at not being there yet is immense.
What I’m doing to heal myself is like the actions of those waves edging up the shore. I can’t see immediate and dramatic change. Not necessarily in a measurable way from day to day. But month to month, season to season, year to year I shall see those changes. I need to cultivate some patience.
My second insight came when a dear friend of mine, a doctor, came and shared tea with me on my veranda.
I confessed my distress at not being able to work, to write, to think. To even create a simple blog is a stretch for me right now.
“Nic,” she said reaching out and taking my hands. “Getting well IS work. It’s important work. It’s a full-time job.”
Bless her, she made me cry! What a big realisation for me.
After she left I lay on my bed and thought about what she said. Healing is a full-time job. She’s right. It is for me right now.
My day is a regime. Wake up. Meditate. Drug number one. Wait thirty minutes. Oil pulling for twenty minutes. Blog. Followed by breathing exercises. Drug number two with food. Drug number three after food. Food must be of a healing nature, with suitable nutrients and anti-bacterial, immune-boosting qualities. Food must also be medicine. Deal with any side effects of drugs. Drink suitable number of glasses of water. Rest. Dry skin brushing and shower. Mid-morning supplements. Kefir, which must be taken away from antibiotics. Prepare chinese herbs. Drink herbs. Stretch and move body. Sunbathing. Lunch (of healing foods, proven to kill bacteria or do funky good things to rebuild my body) and more tablets. Afternoon nap. Gentle exercise if I’m up for it. Late afternoon herbs and supplements. Detox regime, including castor oil packs and epsom salts baths. Drug one thirty minutes before dinner. Dinner (yeah, you know the drill…). Drug number two after food. Wait one hour. Evening herbs and supplements. Meditation. Bed.
Sometimes the thing we want (for me – writing books, travelling, spiritual and psychic work) has to wait while the thing we need gets done.
It’s about patience. Priorities. Of putting our attention to what matters most. And doing those small actions over and over until we get that result.
I know things will get better. I will get better. And from the beginning I was aware that parts of this journey would be hard. I can deal with that. I certainly won’t quit.
So what do you need to do in 2014? What’s the priority for you? What’s the game changer?
Let’s get there together!
Thinking of you and sending much love. I might not have the energy to respond to all of your comments on my blog right now, but I read every one. This is a beautiful community. Thank you! xoxo