So the pattern of my life has been:
Overwhelm myself with too much crisis and stress – expected and unexpected. When my body cannot endure anymore, get sick at the worst possible time – like when we buried Mom at Thanksgiving or a month later at Christmas.
Sometimes my body waits until there’s a slight pause – like in the middle of this past May when I got three weeks in between quarters at school. Boy, did I have plans − but hey, why would I actually want to enjoy my short break with health and relaxation when I can be sick and miserable and fall way behind again?
All I know is that this last bout of illness has been a doozy. It began as a kidney infection and somehow morphed into bronchitis. I’m still scratching my head over that while simultaneously trying to cough up a lung! But that’s what happened and it’s been damned close to a full month now, which puts me squarely back in the middle of a new quarter at school while I’m still sick. Matter of fact, I’ve already had to turn in homework and I have my first test this week. So, well or ill, rest time is over.
The moment I started feeling the slightest bit better, I forced my ass out of bed and shifted into “catch up” mode. Getting caught up is almost always a fool’s goal − just this side of virtually impossible when I have so much to do in the present, but I do my best. If my pattern remains true-to-form, sometime during the next week or two of intense focus, my body should finally heal without my even realizing it. Then just as I’m about to get a handle on things, a few weeks to a few months down the road, I have no doubt that I’ll repeat the whole cycle.
I have just one question: How did this happen? When did this become my life? (Okay, that’s two questions, but still…)
It’s tempting for me to say: Well, now that I see the error of my ways, that’s it! I’m changing − starting right now! Except, what exactly would I change? At the moment, trying to change anything would add unrealistic demands that I know would ultimately fail.
So, how am I supposed to break this cycle? The answer is: I don’t know.
I don’t have any “Ah Ha” thoughts or ideas or even a semi-workable plan. What I have are commitments that I intend to see through. I’m sure this, in part, has contributed to the endless cycle of work/ stress/get sick/try to catch up − but commitments are also what give my life purpose.
So, there will be no retreats where I can regroup. There will be no vacations. Maybe later, but not now. I’m going to have to take a breather here and there throughout each day in the business (busyness) of life. I’m going to have to slow down enough to at least acknowledge there are roses blooming outside instead of barely forcing my head out of a textbook on my rush to the laundry room to put in a new load of wash.
In that spirit, I went outside to appreciate our pond in the backyard this mid morning. At the moment there’s an amazing blue dragonfly that calls this home. Birdie (our tortie cat) followed me out and is staring into the pond with an odd expression on her face. Is it her reflection she sees? Is there a bug in the water? I’m not sure, but she looks both fascinated and worried. I check to see what has her attention. Ripples in the water. As I stare, I start feeling a little dizzy and nauseous. I have to turn away. Could it be that Birdie, too, was experiencing that same sensation?”
I notice the sound of traffic on the other side of our fence. At 10:00 a.m. there aren’t a lot of horns or screeching of brakes or sirens blasting like during rush hour, just the whooshing of intermittent cars going down the road. The sound isn’t all that different from noisy waves crashing over the shore. Funny how one sound is desirable while the other is considered noise pollution.
It’s been awhile since I’ve walked around our backyard. As I meander, I notice things I need to do: that area of the flower bed needs to be weeded. This broken pot needs to go to the trash. Ah, more work!
Nope. I need to stop. This is something I can change. This is where the cycle can be broken. Instead of focusing on what still needs to be done, right now, I’m just going to appreciate and be curious. This is my moment to be and breathe and enjoy. What caused that pot to break, anyway? Not sure, but it’s still lovely in a ruined sort of way. The distressing only adds character and charm. Yes, the weeding needs to be done, but the clay pot stays.
So that’s the plan for today for right now: I’m going to turn down the intensity a notch or two, quit feeling quite so guilty about everything and experience this moment with fresh eyes and ears.
I’ll focus on tomorrow, tomorrow.
These past several weeks of being ill has been exhausting in a way that I’m not used to. I’m used to getting right back up, but for some reason I seem to have lost my bounce. Does this mean I have to give up my “bumble” membership? (For those of you who didn’t just get this reference, you have to watch the Christmas classic, Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer.)
Even in low gear, though, I’ve been reading and going through paperwork as I’ve been able. Today, I feel almost human again, which gave me the idea to include the following short piece entitled, “Rules for Being Human” in this post.
The rules seem incredibly relevant to my current situation. I wish I’d written them. Even more, I wish someone had sat me down when I was young and drilled them into my head. Not to say that I would have actually listened back then because I was pretty hellbent on doing things my way when I was young. Oh well. They’ve caught my attention now. Better late than never.
In the future, as I come across interesting articles, quotes or short pieces, I’ll try and either provide a link or provide a written copy under the “Inspired Living” or “Words I Wish I Wrote” category on my site, hopefully to give you something to consider or just to brighten your day. I’ll also put a copy of “The Rules for Being Human” on its own page so you don’t have to read through all of this to get to that if you want to check it out now and again.
I hope you get as much pleasure out of “The Rules” as I have. By the way, even though I received a hard copy of these rules from my professor last quarter and it stated on that copy that the source was unknown (I typed it for you the way I received it), I did an internet search because I do believe in giving credit where credit is due if at all possible. According to one site, these rules appear to be an excerpt from a larger piece with the same title from the book, If Life is a Game, These are the Rules by Cherie Carter-Scott. So, thank you, Cherie Carter-Scott for reminding me of what I already know but sometimes need to be reminded — what it means to be human. Maybe this will help me relax a little.
Lastly, if any of my Wayward Friends come across words or an article or something funny − or if you have written something that you think others may be inspired by or that might provide a much-needed chuckle, please let me know. I’ll be glad to share it with others on my site. I can’t pay you, but I’ll credit you for providing and/or authoring it. Hope to hear from you soon!
Sparkle on my Wayward Friends,
RULES FOR BEING HUMAN
- You will receive a body. You may like it or hate it but it will be yours for the entire period you’re here.
- You will learn lessons. You are enrolled in a full-time informal school called life. Each day in this school you will have the opportunity to learn lessons. You may like what you learn or think the lessons are irrelevant and stupid.
- There are no mistakes, only lessons. Growth is the process of trial and error, experimentation. The “failed” experiments are as much a part of the process as the experiment that ultimately “works.”
- A lesson is repeated until it is learned. A lesson will be presented to you in various forms until you have learned it. When you have learned it, you can then go on to the next lesson.
- Learning lessons does not end. There is no part of life that does not contain lessons. If you are alive, there are lessons to be learned.
- “There” is no better than “here.” When your “there” has become a “here” you will obtain another “there” that will, again, look better than “here.”
- Others are merely mirrors of you. You cannot love or hate something about another person unless it reflects to you something you love or hate about yourself.
- What you make of your life is up to you. You have all the tools and resources you need. What you do with them is up to you. The choice is yours.
- Your answers lie inside you. The answers to life’s questions lie inside you. All you need to do is look, listen and trust.
- You will forget all this.
(Found on a refrigerator door – If you can identify the author, please let us know.)