I’ve been thinking, this morning, about how quickly one’s perspective can change, often through illness or a sudden event that causes us to focus on what’s important.
I have often listened to people who have faced trauma or long-term, serious illness and been inspired by their views. Then, inevitably, I have thought ‘What if it didn’t take something so huge and catastrophic to force us to re-evaluate our lives and our values?’
I had an awful dose of tonsillitis just before the summer. I was at home, off work, for almost a week, in a lot of pain, shivering, sweating and barely able to swallow. I was desperate for water but didn’t want to have a thing because of the pain. My sister and friends delivered meds and goodies to me, and I eventually got a taxi to the nearest walk-in centre because I felt so horrible. I was in tears that morning, just utterly fed up and hurting.
And I noticed, even then, that all of my other difficult emotions and perceived problems had just blurred, dulled in focus and were simply not as important anymore. All I cared about, and was passionate about, was feeling better. Being healthy again. Being able to stand up and walk to the kitchen without feeling nauseous and dizzy. Being able to sleep soundly. Being able to drink water and eat wholesome foods.
When you’re sick or incapacitated in some way, all that matters is the simple stuff. Just being well again.
I, of course, like most other people become caught up in continuous streams of thoughts and in desires that make me feel as though something in my present experience is lacking. In the modern world, and with our minds following a pattern formed by years of wrangling with unhelpful thoughts, it is a difficult habit to break. But not impossible.
Take a moment today just to stop and breathe. Feel the clean air fill your lungs and slowly leave your body. Feel the sensations around you, the heat, the cold, the breeze, the scents and the sounds. Focus on the basics. Practise gratitude for what you have and what you can do, however small.
Wishing you health and peace, in whatever form you find it.