There are a few benefits to being sick:
- I can skip my workouts with a clear conscience.
- I can let chores go without feeling guilty.
- I can indulge in forbidden pleasures like reading all day.
- I can work on my novel instead of taking care of other, more pressing duties.
But there are some distinct drawbacks beyond the obvious one of feeling lousy.
- I have no real interest in anything I read or see.
- I become grumpy.
- I feel sorry for myself.
- If the illness lasts for more than a day, I become convinced I have a life-threatening condition.
This week I thought seriously of putting my affairs in order.
- I decided to bring my loved ones to my side one by one to bid them each a loving farewell. Since there are quite a few, I figured I'd better start the procession to my deathbed very soon. Immediately in fact.
- I thought carefully about what I hadn't finished yet and realized there was just my current novel, now in the process of revision. I decided I'd have to keep myself going long enough to finish revising it.
Nor do I suffer in silence. Anyone foolish enough to get near me when I'm sick will hear me moan piteously about my condition and my impending demise.
There is a serious side to all of this: Apparently my attitude goes all to hell the minute I do not feel up to par. What does that say about how much control I have over my thoughts and emotions? Or for that matter, my perceptions of the world?
There's a big truth in here somewhere about how we are all limited by our attitudes, beliefs, emotions, biases. We all look at the world through lenses distorted by how we feel--not just physically--but emotionally too. There's a great big world around us. We only see the part that affects us. Which is the tiniest sliver of what is there.
Moreover, we only see that sliver through eyes biassed by our experiences, hopes, fears, wants, and dislikes.
When I got over my illness, I no longer believed I was dying. I no longer felt irritable and self-pitying. Life was beautiful once again.
But how do I get over the distortions I'm not even aware of? How do I take my tiny sliver of the world and see it clearly and without bias?
An even bigger question--how do I take my tiny sliver and expand it to take in more reality?