I thought I was getting better from the cold I came down with last week. But it came roaring back Friday and Saturday, seriously wiping me out. As a consequence, when I woke up feeling better Sunday morning I decided to cancel ALL plans and stayed in for a day of rest. I texted a friend to tell her I was staying home to rest rather than shop with her and another person for the upcoming Halloween Dance I am helping with next week. She told me she was glad I was resting. I replied that it felt like ages since the last time I had actually rested from everything, but that can’t be right. Can it? Then I checked back through my posts and found “The Urge to Rest, Research and Focus” from October 3, 2015. That was three weeks ago, and I still went to all of my normally scheduled activities like yoga class and my 12 step meetings, along with researching on the internet. So it wasn’t true rest like today. You see, I have a chronic medical condition that I’ve mentioned in my blog before called Lupus. It’s an autoimmune disease, which simply means my own immune system can and will attack any and all of my healthy organs or systems in my body. I have a mild form and I manage it with medication, rest and excellent stress management. However, when I get sick, it’s important that I take care of myself. I thought I’d done that, but this particular bug seems to like coming back. So it’s time I started listening to my body and take it easy for a while. This also meant another sick day from work on Monday, with a workload already on overload. But honoring my health, both body and spirit, is a priority.
Listening to my spirit is a little harder and more complicated than listening to my body. With my body, it’s more a point of paying attention because I have a very bad habit of ignoring symptoms. In all honesty, I used to do the same thing when my spiritual life felt lacking or took a nosedive. The symptoms of an unhealthy spirit can be harder to pinpoint at first. Sometimes it starts as a vague feeling of dissatisfaction, boredom or even resentment. If it’s not nipped in the bud before you know it, you are isolating because you don’t want to be around anyone. For me, initially, I’m not sure if it’s because I don’t want to inflict or infect my “mood” on others, or it’s just too hard to be around others who aren’t feeling spiritually low. It’s so easy to lose myself in my stressful day to day living and ignore a spiritual decline. Or it used to be easy before I made deliberate changes in my life like having a new spiritual advisor that I talk to on a weekly basis, attending yoga class twice a week and writing a blog three times a week. In addition, daily morning prayer, meditation and mental gratitude lists are what help with the maintenance of my spiritual condition. There is also connecting with friends and family, being of service to others and my community, and most importantly, taking care of myself. The rub is that I don’t always feel like doing ALL those things and some others I haven’t mentioned. It can be exhausting or irritating that I need to do all of that shit just to be spiritually fit. Other times it just seems to flow with the rhythm of what I do. It’s during the down times that I need to summon the energy to do what’s necessary. And the truth is I am fortunate beyond measure that I at least KNOW what I need to keep myself spiritually nourished and fit. Many, many others never get to that point. So I do the work that’s required when it feels like an uphill battle because I know I will get to the place eventually where it starts to flow from the rhythm of what I’m doing.