When we are sick how do we help ourselves get better? For some it is rest. For some it is various vitamins. For some it is an ancient remedy, perhaps herbal, likely natural in some way. For some being ill results in an immediate reach for the bottle of Tylenol or another over-the-counter drug. I know some Evangelical Christians who rely solely on prayer to get them better. For some it is a hot bowl of chicken noodle soup. For me it is walking and neocitran, an odd combination for sure. I rely on the walking to tire my body and the neocitran to put me to sleep, thus helping the body to heal. I really have no idea if this method can be proven effective, it just works for me.
Of course if it got serious I would go to a Doctor and follow her/his instructions right down to the impossible to read letter. But in these rather marginal illnesses I rely on my own experiences, what I have experimented with and found helpful. I have always been a physically active person and my body never seems to heal without it first being exhausted and then it can relax and a sense of healing comes over me. Being a hyperactive (but NOT having any trouble with attention issues) child I realized there was virtually nothing I could do without first taming the surging energy in my body and later in life, my mind. My body and my mind are constantly on fire and I feel this gets in the way of rest.
How do you allow your body to rest? Most people I know use music, a comfortable chair, sitting in the fresh air, reading a good book, something that allows them to be still. Stillness can be a very good place for healing when one’s body is able to be still.
I believe that spiritual people need the same kind of restorative measures to care for their souls. My contemplative friends use stillness to commune with God and be restored. My very physical friends seem to like massages and yoga to shift their spirit to a more calm and relaxed state, a state where they feel care for. In my case I need to take the edge off of my hyper nature, in body and mind, and allow my whole being to be connected to something larger. Only when I go for a long and vigorous walk, when I empty my mind by getting out of the office or places that remind me of work, do I become open to the “Other”.
When I am sick it is easier to rid my body and mind of the excess energy and thus the moments of restoration are often more powerful and profound. In these last few days of illness I have connected again to the why of the work I do and less the technique or the lists of tasks needed to be effective. I really can’t do anything but think about why I am involved in what I do and that question both pushes me to more clarity and reassures me that much of this work is connected to who I am and what I am becoming.
The only downside is that the restless body knows how much work is left to be done, when the illness is over and what was left undone by being sick in the first place. For now the body is tamed by diminished reserves and energy but it will come back soon and I will all of my lists of tasks to keep it busy. My hope is that everyone gets to know their own body, their own soul and what helps them connect to healing and restorative powers.