Healthy Pride

21.9.11

"I must be a mermaid. I have no fear of depths and a great fear of shallow living."


- Anïs Nin



Being sick. Yeah, a foreign concept to those who practice yoga. Yes, I'm being cheeky. You'll just have to deal with my sarcasm since I'm not feeling well at the moment. Does that give me license? I like to think so. So here I am, after a full day of being in bed. I can't remember the last time I had to lie in bed all day, if ever. I've been forced to contemplate many things while lying here.

I have an interesting history with illness. Well let's see now, I was never really allowed to be sick. I hate to say it but my mother hated when my sister and I were sick. Often I would suppress not feeling well for the sake of not bringing any attention to myself. No coddling. Never! I was one of those kids who had years of perfect attendance at school because I would literally have to be dying not to make it. Except the time I caught some crazy flu where I was so dizzy I couldn't walk straight much less walk to the bus stop. I stayed in for like the first time ever in my childhood.

Truthfully, I was a healthy kid for the most part. I didn't catch nearly half of the nasty bugs that went around when young. Somehow, I never caught the chicken pox either. To this day I am not sure how that happened because my sister contracted it. So I guess you can say I'm lucky or maybe not so lucky if I were to get it as an adult. Yikes!

To tell you the truth I wish I would have had more freedom to feel what I was feeling when it came to illness. To give myself the option to rest and renew. Because of how I was raised it's been a challenge to feel worthy of time to let an illness ride itself out. Then there was a phase where being sick just wasn't an option on any level. Thankfully I've out grown that to some extent.

I've observed an interesting phenomenon being in the yoga community, however. It's almost like the denial of coming down with a cold or a sniffle is common place. When at a party over 3 weeks ago the guest of honor had mentioned how there's a nasty throat virus going around and that his girlfriend was unable to attend. At the time, I had the impression, yeah that's what everyone else gets, not me. From then until now I've seen this virus take a few people out. Especially with a few yoga teachers. When I would make the comment that someone didn't look so good quickly I would be told, oh it's nothing, really. Or another comment was, I never get sick. I haven't had a cold in over three years. One teacher told me this over and over again. I got it the first time, mind you. Interesting this denial that we get sick. Reminds me of when one of my closest friends, who also practices and teaches yoga, almost seemed bitter to have come down with a cold. Her last illness was nearly 5 years ago! So she says. Once again, I was reassured by her, over and over again, this type of thing just doesn't happen. A quick tonic of herbs brewed, drunk down, and it will be as good as gone, I was told. Well, let's just say it didn't really happen that way. The sniffle rode itself out in due time as usual.

Do we have health pride? Because we do yoga and eat organic foods are we somehow above human protocol?

So about a week ago a tickle started to manifest in my throat. Yeah. From what I heard this is how it starts, as an innocent tickle. Not a good sign. I mentioned to a colleague of mine that I thought I was coming down with something which I was quickly told that she never catches anything. Did I ask? Nooooooo. However, yes, I was reminded of the strength and vitality of her immune system, never mind mine.

So I caught this damned throat virus, big deal. It's my time. I'm due. However, through this experience I'm left wondering if some of us have become prideful with the lifestyles we have chosen? If somehow we have risen above a certain apex of human evolution (delusion) because we won't accept anything less, much less being sick. Like somehow we are better people if we don't come down with these common human conditions.

In many ways I have felt relief to finally accept that illness comes and goes and the importance of rest and renewal. It's okay. Not the end of the world. I have had to deal with the guilt of staying home from work. Something that I will always have to deal with because of the circumstances of my upbringing and temperament. You know, we all have our stuff.

As I lay here I realize being able to relate to the human condition seems much more worthwhile than having the illusion of rising above it. In the end resistance is another pattern no matter how we slice it. Relating to all that is around, our differences, our weakness, our strengths gives rise to compassion, that yeah, we're here in these bodies just trying to make sense of it all.

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