Sick bed musings
I used to believe that if I was ill, and in hospital, I would sit by the side of my bed, dressed: until I got real.
Being ill sometimes means my nightwear gets changed because it’s been worn 24/7, and it’s beginning to smell.
Being ill means my sick-bed multi-tasks as a library, of books I want to read, but don’t have the concentration for. A roving dog bed, as snoring Kyra and I dance round the space. An observatory, as I delight at the wind blowing through the neighbour’s pine tree, it’s jostling branches playing a frantic game of tag. It also becomes a rubbish bin for tissues and other detritus.
Being ill is a challenging process on all levels, it’s different every time and we all navigate that as best as we can.
I am not in hospital, but I am ill.
I thought I would share some ideas, including Alexander Technique ones, that are helping me. They are not earth shattering. They come into my full focus and then wane. I do what I can. It takes perseverance. They are not a panacea but they bring me joy. They help me remember there’s more to life than feeling ill. They may give you some ideas to try out when you are ill? Even one will change the experience.
The root of my problem (literally) has been a tooth infection that spread and is ongoing. Sometimes all I can manage is to let my body get on with it. Other times:
- I notice myself in my environment, what is around me, sensing what is behind me (without looking) and that helps me be in the present moment. It calms me and placates my need to be well.
- I observe my body, where it is attempting to brace and hold against the unknown invader . My teeth, jaw, face and neck regularly take on a defensive role. Softening my eyes reduces strain and pain. Releasing the inside of my mouth into length and width ripples through my body, my shoulders drop and I breathe more deeply.
- Noticing pain free areas rather than painful areas also helps break a cycle that feeds the pain.
- I am remembering to balance rest with activity. I regularly take a walk round the house and garden. I have been exploring a few things as I do that such as:
Noticing my breathing as I move.
What happens if I breathe out when I stand up?
What happens if I take a breath in?
What happens when I don’t change my breathing and think crown away from feet as I stand?
What differences can I feel under my feet as I move from one surface to another, from carpet to wooden floor to stone to lawn?
I observe my reluctance to lay down in the day time. I remind myself of my niece as a baby, when she had not yet learned how to sooth herself to sleep, and she struggled with that transition from wakefulness to rest. However, through resisting rest, on laying down, I discover I have created pain. I rest, letting go of the effort of being upright, and as I release into semi supine it brings ease and relief from pain. My body thanks me. There’s a work in progress for me here as I challenge beliefs around this resistance and honour the need to sleep.
- When the energy rises I tackle the accumulating pile of dirty items that won’t go in the dishwasher. I enjoy the contact of my feet on the floor, the view of the changing colours in the garden, the sounds the water makes in the sink as I work. I also notice my gradually wrinkling hands and a growing tiredness as I sense the whole of me in this space.
- I am thankful for my husband’s suggestion to sit outside. Somehow I forget that simple things can be a blessing. I can enjoy how the delightful autumn sun gives life to the Acer’s vibrant feathery red leaves against the electric green garden. I have a special fondness for the shadows on the patio, especially the dancing butterflies. I even saw a Red Admiral yesterday, in October!
- I can laugh at myself. This morning before my husband went to work he came to see me in bed, to say goodbye. Wryly he said “New brooch?” gesturing to my top and grinning. I looked at it with puzzlement and there was a purple, lint covered, firmly glued, partly used, throat lozenge! Well, it had obviously done its job of calming my coughing and helping me get off to sleep! Being ill can be very messy, and amusing.
“Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.” Helen Keller
Perhaps these ideas might help you towards overcoming suffering? I wouldn’t recommend the brooch.
When you and I are well, perhaps we could work together to explore these ideas? Contact me or phone me to book a lesson or workshop.