The last few weeks have once again brought me face to face with an area of life I already thought I knew intimately, namely body issues that take over life. We call it illness but in many ways its more like a demanding lover.
This time round it started as either a spot or a bite that wouldn’t heal when we were in Costa Rica. I have had wound healing problems before, because my immune system is impaired and weak, and because I have been suffering from circulation issues since my inflammatory bowel disease, so this wasn’t a surprise.
When we returned to the UK I sought to get it looked at and get some blood tests. The doctor spotted infection in the leg wound and gave me some antibiotic cream to apply. I used it, reluctantly, for 7-10 days and it didn’t really change things. After about a week I noticed spots and bumps appearing on the arms, and this progressed and progressed until it became a rash. When the rash became worrying I sought the doctors help again, he offered the cream again for the leg wound and not much for the rash.
At that stage I saw my Ayurvedic doctor who found me to be very out of balance…
The rash a few days ago. Its much much worse now.
Anyway, here I sit a week later at a friends house in Kings Langley, north of London, after a trip to the A and E yesterday to ask for a diagnosis. The doctor has said I have a full blown histamine reaction. The rash has covered my whole body, including some of my head, and has actually morphed into one big rash that looks like a second skin, red and raw and flaky…its agony..My arms have swollen because of the rawness, and right now its not abating.
I look like a reptile!
I have been given antihistamine tablets and I’m praying they are going to work…SOON!
So, my friends, I decided it was time to write from the place of suffering.
Now I have had the chance to reflect and dive into this I can see how my recent life has led to this, and how, on mental, emotional and lifestyle levels, I have contributed to it. Thats not blame its just awareness.
I need to see clearly to be able to change the things that I can change in order to give myself maximum chance of health for the future.
Thats why I say the body is a demanding lover. You always have the choice, to resist and make up stories, to fight it and try and dominate it, or to surrender and learn to love on a whole different level. Body really demands that we listen when it displays symptoms. To me the body is feminine, it represents the earth because its born of the earth and dies back into the earth. Mind must surrender its wilfulness to the body to be peaceful.
Body reveals to you where you need to change, as long as you are willing to really accept responsibility.
I have listened to the message that has come this time. What I heard is this. Because in my life over the last two years there have been so many changes, it has caused much instability and ungroundedness. Amoda, my wife, and I are trying to move to the US, ad we gave up out flat in the UK last year. We have been nomadic since September and its been very stressful. I have dealt with it badly, mainly by not acknowledging that I couldn’t cope, but also by thinking I could cover it up and drink lots of coffee and life a ‘bulletproof lifestyle’ and its reared its head and bitten me.
Basically I overruled my body. And I know that you can only do that for a limited time, especially if it involves stressful living, and you already carry issues.
I can’t say these lessons are easy, and if you are experiencing things, or you know someone who is, I send you my love and recognition. Many ailments, symptoms and signs, are mysterious and not easily definable. And without knowing what is going on the mind easily freaks out and imagines the worst. But mind needs to be tamed. And it gets tamed by bringing it into presence.
The whole thing about ‘being present’ was preoccupying me as I was going to sleep last night. I realised that proper breathing and being fully present go hand in hand, they become a healing in itself, and they allow the entire organism to relax for a while, which quietens the immune and nervous system.
Being present isn’t just some spiritual exercise, it is a very practical approach to illness. It has beneficial effects.
I have been doing pranayama breathing exercises for immune system healing and calming, and I must say they are excellent for keeping me here, softly aware of this moment, without any stories. You simply cannot fully breathe and have lots of stories of past or future at the same time. One or the other. And healing is only found in the breathing.
This is the key point about presence and illness. Illness is taxing and stressing to the whole organism. Illness is also highly intertwined with emotions and mind. It is entirely natural, when the body suffers from unusual and painful, life interrupting symptoms, to worry and be concerned. But there is a fine line between healthy concern that drives positive action, and the kind of anxious worry that makes matters worse by stressing the adrenal glands, over burdening immune and nervous system, and bringing the system down lower. Body and mind are hardwired together.
So presence is great antidote to this. Its not just an idea that brings some relief, although it does that. Its actually more a form of medicine. Call it Presence Medicine. It softens, it nourishes, it allows loving energy to flow. It forgives and even brings joy. In the great allowing that being fully present brings anything can happen, even miracles. There is a doorway to spirit offered by being present. The divine is through that door and, upon true communion with the divine, all things become possible.
Presence is not found by doing anything. It is found by not doing anything. It is found by undoing everything. It is a profound not doing, not making any movement to change anything. Everything is allowed to flow through. there is no mental grabbing at thoughts or sensations, no attempt to change pain or discomfort. Just a growing awareness of all things that appear in the field of awareness. You simply become awareness itself. And if that is not possible, you just sit and listen to the rapids of thoughts or stories, or pains as they come and go. Eventually the noise dies down, and you might catch a glimpse of peacefulness. Try it! Try it whether you are ill or not. It really has great benefit for your life.
OK thats enough from me for today. Thank you so much for reading. I’m off to get my herbal remedies, do some yoga and breathing, and makes some prayers for my healing..I need to move on from this.