The Many Gifts of Suffering
;I can’t remember the last time I was sick, or to be honest, even experiencing a headache. So, maybe this is why the higher powers felt it might be appropriate for me to be reminded of how fortunate I am to be healthy – to give gratitude at the end of the day that you had a normal day today.
It is so easy for us to think ‘Why me? or Why us?’ when tragedy hits, but how often do we end a normal day with ‘Thank you for this normal day’ and fall into blissful slumber.
As I started to write this blog, various gifts of suffering flooded my mind.
- Feeling ill this past week gave me even more empathy. Whether people come to me ill in mind, body, or spirit, they want to feel healthy again and this experience has made me rev up my engine to help get them stronger faster. We want you feeling like the ‘old you’ again sooner rather than later.
- Everyone has habits. We are creatures of habit. We love them because once they are set, they get shoved into the non-conscious, and our minds need not consciously think anymore. The problem is not all habits are good. We like to convince ourselves they are good, but quite often they are not. Becoming unwell breaks all habits. I had a certain morning routine I felt was good for me. Now, I am not certain it was. I had an evening routine I thought was good for me, that too I now question. Becoming ill breaks you from all habits, and I feel we all need a complete overhaul once and awhile. Covid-19 did this to many of us as well, and I know others commented how this was insightful for them. It doesn’t always need to be done this way. When your day takes you down a different path, that is okay too. Change is the key to happiness some say, and now I am convinced that the body and mind crave change.
- Individual medicine is another gift. You are unique. We all want to enter our symptoms in Google search engine so we can claim some sort of diagnosis and put our mind at ease. ‘This is what I have’. Well, post Covid-19, all I can say is good luck! You can’t type in anything anymore without it being related to the virus itself or the vaccine. What ever happened to just feeling ill? Just a random virus? No big spotlight, billboard virus…just a plain old virus. Boring as it might sound, I think they are still out there…are they not? The best advice I can tell you is to listen to your body and put away your phone. You will get well much sooner.
- The gift of optimism. I spoke towards this in my introduction, but I need to mention this again. Being unwell gives you a newfound optimism. When you do become well again the glass is half full. Things that may have been a big deal before no longer matter. Is anyone going to die because of this? No. Am I well or is my family well? Yes. Then it doesn’t really matter. Move on with the next task at hand.
- I do not have a chronic illness or an acute illness, I was just unwell for about 7 days. However, when you are unwell, be it major or minor, do good research and leave no rock unturned. Turn towards different mediums of healing and always turn towards nutrition and lifestyle. Your approach is going to vary dramatically depending on how unwell you are, but my point is to never give up. You need to become your own primary doctor, listen to your body, note what makes you feel better and what doesn’t and just listen. If your illness is chronic and it does end up consuming your day, then also consider speaking to a therapist. No one likes to display their dirty laundry to friends and family constantly, and if you are not feeling well, you might notice it is all you can do to NOT talk about it. Use a therapist to unload. You are paying this person to sit there and listen to all your woes and complaints and therefore, you can then leave that session with no guilt. Money well spent.
- Maybe this point speaks again towards gratitude, but I can’t emphasize this enough. Feeling unwell gives one an incredible sense of calmness. You drove out to the cabin for the weekend to enjoy a sun-shiny gorgeous few days, only to find out it is rainy all weekend? No problem, I feel well, life is good. Come home to your teenagers’ dirty socks laying around the house, food experiments dried up on the counter, and no chores done? Great… at least I could have children. The drool from your baby falls upon your freshly pressed shirt just before you run out the door for work? Am I well? Is my baby well? There is no problem here. Life becomes a lot more peaceful when you have gratitude in your heart.
- Tomorrow never comes is now a neon sign hanging above your bed. Why? Because when you are unwell and become well again, you stop putting off shit! Your daily task list gets done without a day planner because you are happy to move and have the energy to do it. Your life’s bucket list takes a front seat in a way it hasn’t in a long time. The nonchalant thoughts of, ‘Yeah, it would be nice to visit my brother in his new place soon’ now has you planning the trip within the next year. Truth be told, life is too short. You will always have a reason NOT to take that trip, quit that job, or make any major change in your life. Money is being produced every day and you can always find a way to save or make more. Time on the other hand is not so dispensable.
- Emotional dichotomy. What do I mean by that? Quite simply; unless you feel sorrow, you will not feel joy. Unless you feel pain, you will not feel peace and comfort. Life is not vanilla and as much as we think we want vanilla; we do much better with pistachio or rocky road. It is good to have a surprise mixed in your serving of Life.
“Change is the key to happiness some say, and now I am convinced that the body and mind crave change.”
There are many great songs written on the topic of gratitude and what it means to give thanks to a normal day. But this is one that comes to mind.
Here is a short list of the gifts just in case you need to pull it out of your pocket sometime soon.
- Provides one with a strong sense of empathy.
- Overhaul of bad habits and stepping off the hamster wheel.
- Individual medicine.
- Switching on the optimistic lightbulb.
- No rock left unturned.
- Lasting sense of calm.
- Tomorrow never comes.
- Emotional dichotomy.