I feel so good most days now (recent bouts of flu aside) that I often persuade myself I’m fully well. I so want to be fully well. I’m done with having a half life. I find myself at a transition point, a no-man’s land between well and unwell. Symptoms are reduced, energy is higher. My doctor has said I’m free to go.
So I’ve built up some stamina, I’ve learned more about what best to eat, how to rest, I’m working out the difference between ME-myalgia and normal post exercise-myalgia, and how to respond to each. I’m practicing presence and contentment, acceptance and patience, and all that other powerful stuff that Yoga slips in between the fancy poses.
It’s only now that I’m all set for getting back on the road that I realise the real work is just beginning. Chronic illness has a deep malignancy that only reveals itself slowly. It’s been growing within me for more than two decades. For the entirety of my adult life I’ve fought hard for every painful, heavy, exhausting step I’ve taken. People around me have told me I’m heroic for what I have been able to achieve. Maybe I am.
Maybe I was.
So now that I’m learning to skip more lightly in my new life, who am I to become? If there’s no battle, how can I be victorious? I realise that after the paralysing fears in illness and incapacity, the prospect of a level playing field and open horizons is quite daunting. So much choice, so much possibility. It’s dizzying.
So although I can skip more lightly, it’s still one step at a time. I think I tried to run too fast these past weeks. I tripped myself up a bit. Having learned a long time ago that I can’t simply will my body into a fancy yoga pose it’s not ready for, now I’m learning I can’t simply will my spirit into wholeness overnight. This too is a practice of shifting my thought patterns, softening habitual fears, easing my way into a different mental space as much as a different physical space.
So it’s back to the practice of one step at a time, one breath at a time. Perhaps now the scars are healing it’s time to give back the war-medals, give up being a hero, and find a less regimented way of being.
But tragic heroes are compelling characters.
Letting go of that is some surrender.