When we were still going to school, we understood this concept: A twitch in the tummy, a scratch in the throat, an oh-so-annoying-even-though-barely-noticeable headache: Yippieh! No school! Stay at
home, sleep in, lie on the couch and let others take care of you… No obligations, no homework, no pressure.
Do not misunderstand me: I am certainly not saying you should fake an illness when you are not sick . . . but what we understood very well in our youth, is we have forgotten while
becoming „grown-ups“: Our body and mind have a right to relax.
Instead, we are forcing ourselves to go to work despite the headache, despite the running nose and the ever-lasting cough. Again and again, we ignore our bodies‘ warning signs. If we are skilled
enough at overriding our body, we manage to suppress our symptoms as with the help of Aspirin & Co. Even though we feel something happening in our bodies, we don’t allow it. We ignore or
suppress our symptoms until the next weekend, and if we are busy even then (not too unlikely), until the next vacation. Vacation, yay, finally, right?! And then? Then we relax. But then? Of course,
then we get sick.
The image above quotes the buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh:
There is the mud and there is the lotus
that grows out of the mud.
We need the mud in order to make the lotus.
If we want to heal and feel better in general, we will not succeed by telling ourselves that the symptoms we are experiencing are not so bad and if we can just ignore them or numb them with
medicines, we will get better eventually. Sometimes, or most of the time, we have to allow an illness to move through us in order to feel better (afterwards).
Illnesses are reminders and chances for us to take care of ourselves. They call us to integrate exactly that which we do to nurture us when we are sick into our everyday lives: Relaxation, goods
food, company, accepting help.
Next time when you feel yourself getting sick, don’t fight – and don’t wait for the next vacation. Surrender to it. Listen to yourself. Take care of yourself.