Tuesday, May 15, 2012

From the ground up

The cold bug I caught last week brought up a lot of things for me. Just as the pile of tissues continued to grow, so did the feelings and the mental jumping jacks my brain seemed hell-bent on performing.

I remember one afternoon during my first retail job, I started getting a migraine. With blind spots, incapacitating pain, plus nausea, there was no way I could start my shift. After I was safe to drive my boss told me to go home, and call if it got better and I could come back to work. So distraught, and overwhelmed with guilt at the thought of letting my boss down (ie, not working my shift), as soon as I was clear of the back door I burst into tears and cried the entire way home.

While I have grown out of some of that fear and guilt mongering, I find it is a lesson that continues to pop up for me, and I suspect I’m not the only one. How many of us tell ourselves in no uncertain terms: “I can’t afford to get sick right now?”

But here’s the deal; sometimes we can’t afford NOT to get sick. At some point down the road our bodies will get tired of being ignored, and force the emergency brake. We learn our lessons like simple arithmetic; until we figure out that 2 + 2 does not equal 15, the question continues to show up.

I realized how ridiculous it is that we have to commit to a vacation or get sick in order to rest and not feel guilty for it. And even then, as in my case, sometimes we still feel guilty for things we have no control over. Even after that realization, old habits die hard. Nearing the end of my week of illness all the old stuff came rushing back to meet me, and just like my 17-year-old self, I found myself sobbing uncontrollably out of guilt and a fear of disappointing others.

Part of the gift of breaking down is what comes after. We are required to rebuild in a new image. Each time I meet my yoga mat is no different; I may have certain expectations of what I should be able to accomplish, but in those instances I inevitably must do less, or more than I planned on. Anything we build starts the same way: from the ground up.