Three years ago, I quit my job and moved with my husband and our two teenagers from Stockholm to a little village by the sea in Spain. My intention was very clear at the time: I wanted to know what would happen in my life if I stopped all doing and started just being. This blog is an example of what happened during my six-month timeout in Spain. One day I sat down behind my laptop, looked out over the Mediterranean Sea and started writing. I wrote about life, living, awareness and compassion. Once I started writing, the words just kept on flowing; it was (and still is) the most amazing thing to me. I learned a lot about myself during my timeout, especially through writing, and found the courage to also publish my stories. If you’re interested, you can read more about my insights from this time in Spain here.
Today I’m closing in on five months of Long Covid. It turns out: you don’t have to move to another country to deeply learn about yourself and being in life. Covid-19 will magically do that for you, right here where you are. I have 14 stories in my Corona Chronicles to prove this so far…!
Dealing with the physical and mental challenges of this virus equals, if not surpasses, for me the experience of my timeout in Spain. Living with covid-19 literally forced me to become still and be. Every time I tried to do something, as little as walking from my couch to my bathroom sometimes, my body responded immediately and showed me that this was too much. I have had relapse after relapse like this. So, I had to accept my situation and become still. Again. And again. And again.
The result? For 135 days now I have bootcamp-style-trained myself basically in two things: accepting my situation and living inside my body.
Acceptance of having Long Covid is not easy, especially during times when the symptoms in my body felt overwhelming. However, I intuitively feel that acceptance is the only sensible thing I can do because my truth is that I am feeling terrible at times. What I need most is energy and what takes a lot of energy is fighting against my reality in the moment. Wishing things would be different. Wishing I would be healthy. Really, fighting what is right now feels pointless to me as it doesn’t change anything about my present moment, however crappy it might be.
When I can fall deep into the sensation of total acceptance inside my body, it gives me a feeling of peace. My life is happening right now and if I let go of wanting to control what’s happening and instead accept the reality of this moment, something shifts inside me. That does not mean that I have to like what’s happening! Because I really don’t a lot of the times (I mean: who wants to have diarrhea for 13 weeks straight?). But accepting that covid-19 is doing weird and sometimes terrifying things to my body is a big part for me in coping with what’s going on.
Living inside my body is another thing I am practicing daily. And I need to practice (hard!) because I am the type of person who loves living in her head. I have about 1.345.532 thoughts in there and pretty much constantly analyze things. It’s both exhilarating and exhausting at the same time, to be inside my head. The thing is though that I cannot think my way into being. I can surely try, by telling myself inside my head that everything is fine, for example. But as soon as I check what my body tells me, it will most likely show me that that is not true. That I am sad instead (because I feel a lump in my throat). Or that I am afraid (because I feel a knot in my stomach). I can trick myself into staying in my head and pretending that I have control over my life and that I am feeling OK but it is my experience that this never leads to true relaxation and stillness. Living in my head keeps me on edge, so to say.
What benefits me greatly in recovering from Long Covid is to move from my head to my body. To really (and I mean REALLY) listen to it. What does it want? What does it need? Does it want to take a little walk, or does it feel that this is too much for today? Does it want to eat a certain type of food, or does it rather eat something else? And so on. If I really listen to my body, respect it and not cross over its boundaries, I feel a stillness entering my body. It is a stillness that cuts through everything, even the noise in my head. For the past days I have felt this stillness inside me grow. Unnecessary words suddenly fall away (and not because of Corona Brain). A lot of things that I normally would think are “IMPORTANT” fall away. The need to accomplish something significant falls away. And what’s left is a deep feeling of I am OK, exactly where I am right now. I am safe. I feel that the human body has an amazing ability to recover. From my long list of symptoms, I basically have two left today: tiredness and chest pain. How incredible is that?!
Disclaimer: I am fully aware that I can at any point relapse again and will have to, once again, face other symptoms. But today this is my reality for which I’m really grateful.
I don’t have control over what’s happening in my life. I don’t know how long I will have symptoms from Long Covid. But it is OK. I am me. And I am alive!
I will end with a poem from Jeff Foster, that I also used in my story about my timeout in Spain. It felt fitting then, it feels fitting now. I hope it will inspire you too!
Say no if you mean no.
Say yes if you mean yes.
Stop trying to do it right.
Do it real instead.
Speak your truth without apology.
Let your heart break.
Let your certainties crumble.
Be a blubbering mess on the ground of love.
You will lose ‘safety’
But you will feel
With love ♥
Photo: Silas Baisch – unsplash.com