You may have noticed that the blog postings and WOOTD postings have been sparse this week. I was down for the count all week with an awful cold. I can't remember ever being the sick, I was in bed for four, yes FOUR, days!!! On the third day by 9 year old came into the bedroom and straight out asked, 'Mommy, are you dying?' It was that bad.
Fortunately, I'm on the mend and after being out of the gym for 6 days, I'm planning to slowly ease back into it tomorrow. Ok, I can't lie, I tried to go back on Thursday and almost fell off my bike I was so dizzy and weak. So it's a lesson I may never learn but I really do need to listen to my body.
As I was lying in bed, I couldn't help but wonder how it is possible that someone who rarely gets sick could get this sick. I work out, I take my vitamins, I get 7 hours of sleep a night and I eat fairly well (not great, but well). So how is it possible that I could be this sick? And not just a light cold but the kind of illness that makes you wonder if you'll ever be able to open your eyes again without feeling the pounding headache and nausea.
Then I started thinking. I could not remember the last time I had gone for more than a few hours without something to do - work, emails, texts, phone calls, play dates, soccer games, errands, laundry etc. I also couldn't remember the last time I was left a full hour without being interrupted. When was the last time I couldn't do all the things I wanted to do or needed to do and just had to be still? NEVER
That's when I realized, sometimes when you don't listen to the signs, the universe intervenes. This was the universe enforcing a much needed timeout. It was a reminder that I haven't given myself a chance to catch my breathe or clear my head or just take a moment to be grateful for everything. It was the cliche of my generation - I was so immersed in my life that I wasn't living it. This illness was intended to force me to slow down, clear my head and not 'do' so much.
The days in bed were long and uncomfortable. And I was restless pretty much all day. But something amazing also came out of those days. Both the boys would come home from school, jump into bed with me and we would spend hours together, in bed, reading, writing and talking. Want to know the last time we did that? Never. Ask the boys, from the moment they get out of school, it is a marathon. I probably use the words 'we're late' and 'hustle up' about 50 times every afternoon as they need to be dropped off at various activities, finish their homework, read for 20 minutes and get a few bites of food in them. It's madness. Those four days in bed, while uncomfortable, were pure bliss in so many other ways. We cancelled all of our plans and we were just there.... together.
One other amazing gift came out of this unexpected staycation, I found a moment to quiet my mind. It was only for a few minutes but anyone who knows me knows this in itself is a miracle.
I've tried meditating in the past (we all know the benefits of doing this) but have never been successful. I have tried everything from apps to CDs to having a professional guide me through it. I've never been able to do it. I'm always multitasking and making lists in my head or wondering when the session will end so I can be on my way. But this past week, I reminded myself that this was a forced relaxation for a reason and committed to trying to do this. I did a few things differently than I had in the past. Before I started my relaxation session, I let my mind go crazy - I thought about everything I needed to do, made all the lists I needed to make, checked all my emails/texts, etc. Then I found an app to play beach sounds (my happy place) and put on a sleep mask so I could blackout the rest of the world.
At first, my mind kept wandering - thinking about when I would be able to go back to the gym, wondering if my kids were going to get sick. I had to actively pull myself back into a quiet space. So I imagined a dark hole filled with nothing and focused on that space. What was fascinating was how quickly it worked when I imagined an open, quiet space of complete stillness. There was a moment, a brief moment, of complete clarity. Where my mind stop, my body felt light as a feather and time seemed to completely freeze. It was pure serenity. I don't know that I will ever be able to recreate that feeling again but I sure plan to try.
It's ironic to think that after all these years, the one thing I dreaded most brought me such peace and sense of achievement. Let's all find time, even if it's for a few minutes, to quiet the mind and be still.