Aside from the occasional cold, I rarely get sick. This past weekend I had the opportunity of sickness that plagued my body for the good portion of 4 days. Fevered and with a migraine, I was left drained and barely able to sit up on a couch. For the first time in 20 years, I had felt bad enough to go to the hospital ER to seek treatment.
Back that up… did I just say I had the “opportunity” of sickness?
Yes. I did.
You see, during those 4 days I spent a lot of time thinking. Real, pure and deep thinking. Not the over analyzing and anxiety filled thinking that I normally do. Because of my condition, I could only string together one thought at a time (and that sometimes was a stretch). The theme of my thoughts were: What the hell am I doing to myself?
If you recall, last week I had written a blog post about how I was not living in the present and how I was spending most of my vacation worrying about the future and occupying myself with comparing me against you. Well, after wasting all my energy doing that unproductive practice, my body simply gave me the big “fuck you” and got itself sick so that I would rest it. Not only did my body need the rest, I really needed the self-reflection. My biggest realization from my short stint on the injured reserve is that I have to trim habits in my life that I am doing just to make others happy. I have been doing some things that were running me way too thin with little to no reward. Some things that I was doing were in fact hindering me from growing when they were supposed to foster growth. I had become everything to everyone but nothing to myself.
The moral of this story is that we need to listen to what our bodies are telling us. When we become sick, that is our biggest opportunity for self-reflection. Instead of wondering how you became sick, wonder why you became sick. During sickness, our brains switch into survival mode and it only spends it’s energy consuming thoughts that matter now. It’s a protection mechanism that ensures our personal safety. We are unproductive during sickness because we loose the ability to multi-task our thoughts; simply getting out of bed to pee can be a chore. While I felt like I was going to die (man flu talk), I also cherished the endless hours that I spent confined to my comfortable bed in the basement just thinking, one simple and pure thought at a time.
Thanks body! I needed that.