I have been on a strange journey these past months, as I have been trying to recover from covid-19.
But, difficult as it has been, it has also been a journey of connection and rediscovery. A remembering that I am this body, and not just a spirit that happens to live within her. A remembering that it is only through taking good care of her, that I can thrive, and that ignoring her needs will cause me to suffer as well. Kind of like how we all too often tend to take the many gifts of the earth we live on for granted, while continuing to destroy her, because we wrongly assume ourselves to be untouchable.
Instead I am remembering how magnificent and amazing my body is, and all the things she does so I can go on with my normal everyday life.
I am learning to listen to her. Instead of trying to be tough and ignoring my symptoms, I have started to listen to them, and started to try and learn the language of my body. I am learning how she is trying to speak to me, telling me exactly what is wrong, and how I can help her find a way to recover from this. And I have found it a lot more worthwhile to live through this as a team rather than as one who is trying to self-sabotage by pretending there is nothing that can be done except fight an enemy I do not understand, and because of that mistakenly fight my own chances of recovery.
And I cannot help but wonder… what if we could all start treating our relationship with the land we live on in the same way? Remembering we are not separate, that her ailments are our ailments, and that as a species we will never find harmony and peace, until our body the earth finally is allowed to recover from the torture we continue to impose on her…
We celebrate Earth day once a year. But every day should be Earth day. Just as we should treat our body with respect every moment of our life, not just that one time a year when we treat ourselves to a visit to the wellness centre.
After writing this, I connected to my body and asked her if she wanted to add to the conversation. Here is what she had to say:
This is your body
Thank you for trying to take care of me. I really need you to support me in any way you can, as a hurricane has passed through and caused destruction everywhere, in all areas of your body. And that means that repairing things takes time, so please bare with me for the duration.
But let me now give you some advice on how to heal.
It would be a very big mistake to think of body and mind as two separate entities, where one can be ignored for the benefit of the other. That is true in both directions. If your body is not able to sustain your soul, then your emotional wellbeing will suffer, and your ability to thrive socially and cognitively will be seriously impaired. Without a healthy body, you are always going to be limping on a broken leg, never reaching your full potential.
On the other hand, if your mind is not well, your body will be in a permanent state of imbalance, and will be much more prone to become ill, and will not be able to fight diseases effectively. That is the real reason why people living in poverty are having more health problems on average. Because they live under a constant strain of never-ending worries. It is also why you see more serious illness in those who have experienced trauma or oppression. When you are not able to relax and feel safe, your body suffers the consequences, and unfortunately this often triggers a downward spiral when mental issues lead to disease and then to poverty and then to even worse disease.
And so it is important to think about all these factors at the same time. In essence, a body is a kind of tree. Without a stable foundation to grow in, and a steady supply of rain, sun and the necessary nutrients, how would you expect it to thrive?
Your culture is not helping either. The idea that willpower is the only prerequisite to health is ridiculous. That is like suggesting to look away from an issue,closing your eyes and thinking that if you just imagine the problem to be dealt with, that that will somehow make it go away. That is not how the world works, and deep down you know all of that already.
The best way to help someone heal is to give them the support they need so they can focus on the task at hand while temporarily laying down their other burdens. That means, laying down the worries that make the body hurt even more as well. It is useless to try to stop a bleeding wound if you simultaneously keep hacking at other parts of the body, yet that is what so many of you do when you are ill: you take a moment to cover the wound with a band-aid, then as soon as the wound is no longer visible, you require your body to ignore the pain and instead redirect all its resources to fulfilling your minds desires.
I can do much for you. I am very resilient, and so if your wound is not too serious, and the balance has not been upset too much, I will mostly be able to do the thing you ask of me. But I, too,have my limits. And if you continue tempting fate, then sooner or later you will cut down the branch on which you sit.
Have you considered working with me instead? We could work together, and heal in a more productive way. A bit like when you renovate that old garden shed and use the opportunity to finally get rid of a truckload of old junk that was only taking up space, blocking the shed from actually being used because it was so moldy and cramped.
It is the same for illnesses. Every time you get sick, I start removing toxins for you. And many of these were produced by the mind, caused by wounds that are a result of emotional trauma. If you are ill, why not take the opportunity to get rid of some of that as well?
Of course, that requires you to use your illness as a way of doing magic, rather than as an enemy to be run away from. It requires you to start seeing your illness as a project and a potential ally.
I would love to tell you more…
But the rest of this conversation is too personal to share with the world. I will use my last lines to advise everyone reading this to start a conversation with their own bodies, to discover how they can learn to work together again.