I should not be here. I should be sleeping in bed.
It was last Saturday evening, when the Bohemian, Jeb and I, found ourselves at Mary’s house for an outdoor dinner party. The winds were up and Jeb and the Bohemian had launched a kite out in the field at sunset.
The weather was certainly not what would be deemed “cold”. In fact the Oregonians that were present, made laughing comments about the islanders that were bundling up against the gusts. They could laugh all they liked, I was feeling under-dressed in jeans, boots and a sweater. I borrowed a scarf from Mary. Put on my jean jacket.
Still, around 6pm, I could feel something coming on. Every whip of the wind agitated me to the core. I began to feel uncomfortable in my skin. It was something like cat hair beginning to itch at the back of my throat. Everything in me just wanted to go home to bed.
It’s taken nearly forty years to know my body’s signals. This one I knew. I was on the edge of getting sick. And, unfortunately, half of the dinner party had not yet arrived, and had called to say they were about an hour delayed. This was going to be a long night.
I came to the Bohemian as he straightened the string on the fallen kite, ready to launch it again.
“You know, I feel funny. Like I think I’m on the verge of getting sick.”
He got the last tangle out, then backed up as I took the kite in my hands.
“Yeah. I mean, if I were to be honest, I’d just like to go home, take a warm shower and get in bed. But I feel like I should stay here for the dinner.”
As my words swirled with the wind, I was acutely aware.
You know, sometimes, we are not aware. We just push ourselves beyond what our physical bodies would like, but we don’t even know we’re doing it. Then, all of a sudden, there we are in the aftermath, sick in bed, as if it had come out of nowhere.
This was different. As I held the kite in my hand and the Bohemian pulled back, lifting it into the wind, I was quite conscious that I was at a crossroads.
Pulling in one direction was the prompting from every cell of my body, that it needed to be out of the elements and resting. Tugging the other way was my mind, rationalizing that I needed to stay at the party and fulfill my social obligation. That I could rise above and actually enjoy myself, if I just got over this inclination of needing/wanting to go home.
The kite airborne, the Bohemian staked the string, and joined me in a small shelter from the wind. I chose to stay at the party, but sensed I was taking a risk that would only reveal the consequences in time.
The rest of the invitees eventually arrived. We had great food and I made some deep connections with old friends. It felt good that I had stayed.
So, it was about 3am, back in the comfort of home, when I rose from bed with a terrible sore throat. It hurt to swallow, my head full and sore behind my eyebrows. I knew this feeling. And as I searched the medicine drawer in the dark for some throat spray, I felt a mix of I-told-you-so and disappointment.
Righteous and vindicated, in some twisted way, that I had indeed sensed I was getting sick at the party. Disappointed that I had not followed my instincts.
And then, this lingering question. If our thoughts shape our reality, did thinking that I was getting sick, actually make it so?
Was there a moment that night with the kite, the wind and my fear, when I simply wrote the story that I was getting sick? Did I believe my tale so completely that it happened?
Or was I “truly” getting sick and had the intuition?
Which came first? The sickness or the story?
And if I would have come home that night, honoring body over mind, would I have averted a sore throat?
For three days now, I’ve been powering through. Working, mothering, wifing (is that a verb?) all the while ingesting noni, turmeric, ginger, Echinacea, garlic and miso soup. I haven’t been able to shake this little bug. So, today, I am in bed (albeit, typing) with a new story: health in body and mind.
I haven’t pondered the age-old question of the chicken and the egg in quite a while. Has it ever been scientifically answered?
In my little metaphor of sickness and story, would the chicken be the sickness and the story be the egg?
I’m curious to hear the thoughts of any readers out there, as at this point, I think my egg is scrambled.
Here’s to health (and guiding intuition)!