The flu. The common cold. A chest thing. A nasal thing. A sinus thing. A runny nose. Your head is hurting. Maybe it’s a cough. Perhaps it’s bronchitis. Or maybe it’s something nastier, an STD or an STI. Or, maybe it’s something real. Something I don’t even want to type.
Or is it an injury. Maybe a sports injury. Or perhaps you fell. Maybe you tweaked your back, or strained a muscle. You might’ve broken a brone, or sprained a ligament.
We’ve all gotten sick. And we’ve all gotten injured.
It’s not fun, but then again, not everything in life is meant to be fun.
So, what’s the point then?
Why would life, god, the powers that be, the tao, whoever, why would they create viruses, or infections, or whatever malady it is that’s affecting you, or me, or someone you know, or someone I know?
Could it be Darwinism? A test of strength, of survival?
Is it Fatalism? Were you or me or our friend or family member destined to get sick?
Could it be Nihilism? Are the atheists right after all, is there truly no purpose to life or being, and your or my getting sick is just a completely random occurrence with no real bearing on the world or our individual, subjective journeys?
Or, is it something else?
Could it be that life, god, the tao, whoever, could it be that the divine powers who are might’ve sent this infliction to you with a purpose, with a plan.
Could it be that you as an individual, or me, or your co-worker might’ve needed a message to slow down? To take a break? To take care of ourselves, to rest up, to take stock and to be well.
Now, clearly, this line of reasoning breaks down at a certain point. I cannot think of any reason why someone getting HIV or some other life-threatening disease could have a purpose sent from above.
But, when it comes to minor colds and athletic injuries, I think it stands to reason that this just may be the case.
Because in our lives, in our world, and especially in our modern first-world society, there seems to be a constant drive for progress, a constant push for more, a constant pull to achieve. The siren song is real, and it’s calling for us to obtain, to attain and to succeed.
And where does this leave us?
Does it leave us happy, fulfilled, engaged and grateful?
At times, sure.
But, when we’re looking around, when we introspect, when we reflect, when we’re on instagram (don’t go instagram), at least for me, I’m left feeling wanting. I’m left feeling incomplete, un-whole, deficient and insufficient.
And when facing this feeling, when confronted with this thought, when we’re staring down the emotion and face-to-face with our own ego, what impact do you think it has on us holistically, spiritually, emotionally and physically?
Whatever impact it might have, I can assure you, over the long-run, it is not healthy.
And this is where I’ve settled in over the past decade of self-awareness and independence. I might not have quantitative data to verify my claim, but gosh-darnit if it hasn’t seemed like every time I would get ahead of myself, push myself too hard, be too hard on myself or forget to treat myself with the proper love and care that I need, including the correct nutrition, hydration, exercise and rest, I get sick. Or I roll an ankle at basketball.
So, be easy on yourself.
Treat yourself with love.
Don’t be too hard on yourself.
Make a practice of forgiving yourself, and of forgiving others.
Let the negative emotions go. Life is a river. Whatever is coming, will come. Whatever has passed, is past.
Be like the reed, rooted deep within the riverbank, swaying this way and that as the current passes beside it, flexible, and yet strong.
If you do get sick, or if you twist an ankle, take a deep breath and ask yourself, “Could I use a break? Have I been hard on myself lately? Have I been pushing myself too hard?”
If the answer is yes, then perhaps this is life’s way of telling you to slow down, to pace yourself, even if it’s for just a second.
Because without our health, there really is nothing else that matters.
So take care of yourself. Be well.
Drink lots of water, get enough sleep, eat well and exercise.
And the next time you find yourself feeling ill, or tired, or injured, and for whatever reason need to keep pushing forward, whether it be so you can pay your bills, or submit that assignment, or apply for that job, remember:
“When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”