Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The Thing about Being Sick...(and Transitions)

There's no running. There's no running away when you are sick, taken ill and overcome by fever and flu. It's just you in your woeful body, cold, shaking, doing battle with your lungs to breathe clearly and continue in that search for the most perfectly comfortable spot of stillness.
I'm on day four or five with this flu. The second time in a season that I've had this. (Well, technically, it's another strain of the flu virus.) ...It's something to marvel, let me tell you.
This whole business of the BODY SHUTTING DOWN. Like all my parts are in revolt against my head and heart:
We are done!
Stop it!
Quit trying to go anywhere!
Or think anything!
No more creating!
Let us rest!
And so my throat seized up. Got red and raw and scratchy. Voice box quit working late on Friday. The achy all-over skin thing started. Everywhere, to touch me, there was pain.
The muscles in my face hurt, for example. Who pays attention to the muscles in their face? The simple resting of my forehead against my hand was what gave rise to this voice:
Ouchy! Yowza! Tender! Tender head! Be gentle! Massage here!
I know I wrote about fever, as a sound track was constructed inside my skull. I believe those were lucid moments. Yes, sometime on Saturday. I woke around 1pm, (after 18 hours of sleep!) to the shakes and shivers and hacking need for more expectorant/ suppressant.
Which so cracks me up, by the way:
expect/ suppress.
Expect/ Suppress.
Bring forward/ Shut down.

Bring forward/ Shut down.

There's a reason right there a body may revolt! Look at the freaking mixed messages!!!

My sinus passages were what filled up next. FILLED with fluids. Not sure how it all works, but my respiratory system was definitely doing some crazy infection dance. Like David Bowie moved in and was having a party inside my lungs and Queen Latifah was creating her own jam inside my nasal passages. Somewhere, in there, Peggy Lee was singing, too.
And I have to marvel, still coming out of this all:
What is the universe trying to say? To tell us?
Is this just that not-so-subtle reminder - that we aren't in control? Of ANYTHING?
Or is this an invitation to SLOW DOWN?
A request to take a hiatus from the realm of thought and action and be a child? Be child-like?
Curl up in the fetal position with a blanket.
Be needy? Be a receiver of the universe's graces?
Whether or not the larger Universe has anything to do with this or not: the Universe of my body has been through some things the past 4 days...
And it's simply my job to take these notes.
I know I'm in a major transition in my life. I've left the realm of classroom teaching as I've known it. And that's no small feat. A long time coming actually. And so, yes, technically, realistically-speaking, there is this pressure to move into the next phase of my life. Knowing what that is and stepping neatly into it.


And the thing is: I don't believe any body is really standing around expecting me to be all grace and charm and manners as I make my way into this next thing, but I have this sort of expectation of myself. Know what I'm saying?

Which is so funny. Because my body is laughing so hard at me. It's hardly charming to hack up a lung at lunch or while trying to fall asleep at night, oh so sweetly, after evening prayers.
My friend Coey was asking me the other day if I had been writing about my transition, and I was a bit stumped.
How does one document the everyday?
How do we truly and authentically capture what we are the midst of?
I think that is a burning question coming from my entire life of living and working to pay attention to what feels to be SIGNIFICANT PRESENT MOMENTS. Now. At North High. Growing up in Nebraska. Being on vacation. Traveling with strangers. Taking notes on my family. It's all so large and precious and screaming at me.

And in this case:
it's the sniffles that I'm supposed to write about? The sneezing and coughing and scratching, as a response to CHANGE?

I suppose so. Not sure.

But I continue to try and capture it. Sort it all out.

No solutions. Just in this mix and mess. Knowing for certain that calling forth this next phase is a daily process that requires love, patience, prayer, and lots of tissue and orange-flavored expectorant .

Peace and Love.

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