I have recently started to take a small walk on my street every day. Normally, walking this distance would take me about five minutes but today the same walk takes me 15 minutes. I have never looked at my neighbors’ gardens so closely before! It’s really quite fascinating, the level of detail in nature I notice when I move really slowly.
Yesterday I made the mistake of taking this walk, doing a laundry and having an online meeting for 40 minutes. Today I clearly pay the price for that so I can once again conclude: too many spoons for one day (check out my blog post Radical Resting for more on the Spoon Theory and how it can help with post viral fatigue).
My teenager (17YO) commented yesterday on my, in his eyes, apparent lack of interests. Well, I have to admit that he has a point. The things I love are easily counted on one hand: writing, reading and watching TV series mainly, and especially these days because I don’t have the energy or possibility to engage in other activities that I also love and enjoy. Traveling is one of those, I really miss that. Oh, and meeting people! Being part of society again.
I feel like I am living inside a bubble together with other covid-19 long-haulers, with our weird symptoms which nobody understands and that we don’t know how to manage many times. Then there is another bubble that I’m looking at from my bubble. This one is filled with healthy people who are living their lives. In the healthy-bubble it seems to me that many people are taking a lot of things for granted. Their health for one.
Physically I start to notice changes for the better. My lungs feel fine, my chest only hurts sometimes, my gastrointestinal system slowly seems to be getting more on track, I can easily feel tired or dizzy in my head but Corona Brain has vanished and my fatigue is not as severe as just a couple of weeks ago. Victories!
Mentally I try to remain as aware as I possibly can about what’s really going on inside me. It’s important to me to truly feel and be honest about what that is. Not push any feeling away, however much that sometimes seems like the easier or more comfortable thing to do. I want to feel all my feelings, also the more challenging ones. Like for example my fear of covid-19 having turned into a chronic thing that I will never get rid of completely in my body. That fear sometimes takes hold of me strongly, especially when I experience a worsening of my fatigue again. But then I remember the beautiful poem by Rumi called The Guesthouse :
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
As an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
I can understand if you find the last part of this poem to be offensive when you have long-term covid-19, or find yourself in any other challenging situation really. I imagine you thinking: how on EARTH can this situation be seen as something POSITIVE? And on top of that: to be even GRATEFUL for it?? Please.
I really understand if this is how you feel. But for me, I can relate to Rumi’s words and also feel them. I am grateful for this whole experience because it has given (and still gives) me a chance to feel more deeply, reflect more deeply about my life and automatically I notice that I am living more deeply these days. I enjoy a lot of small things in my life that I previously hardly noticed, like all the different flowers in my neighbors’ gardens for example.
Every day I can choose: do I focus on my physical symptoms and how much they limit me in living my life today, or do I focus on the gifts that this day brings? However challenging, it really is a choice I can make. So, I choose the gifts. Again.
Today marks the start of week 15 for me.
To be continued.
Thank you for reading! I hope it gave you something, in some way. I really enjoyed writing it.
With love ♥
Photo: Jametlene Reskp – unsplash.com