And as pale sickness does invade, Your frailer part, the breaches made, In that fair lodging still more clear, Make the bright guest, your soul, appear.

EDMUND WALLER

 

Having had a nice bought of pneumonia recently has given me a good taste of not being able to do anything other than lay around, suffer and think.  Now let me qualify that.  I know a temporary illness is not real suffering but more a minuscule, bitter taste of discomfort. Be that as it may, its given me time to reflect even more on things I want to do.

You can read all the motivational books in the world. You can scour over all the philosophical and spiritual scrolls  there are, but none of these will break you down more mentality than an injury or illness. When we go through our 9-5 lives its very hard to fit in any real time to analyze what you want, what you’ve done or where you want to go in life.  Living at the speed of light gives you a false sense of immortality. It makes you feel invulnerable to time. Those illusions come crashing down when an illness immobilizes you from that world. You go from high octane to dead stop and now you have all the time in the world to just sit and think, and that can break a lot of people.

Personally I think that this is a good thing. Its forced attrition. It makes you face yourself and what is wrong and right in your life. It makes you come to grips with the fact that life can end at anytime, that you should always be thankful for what you have and gives you the time to retool your life. Don’t get me wrong, this is not a pleasurable thing to go through, the stress of  illness coupled with the stress of an analytical mind is brutal, but  it is sometimes necessary for real change to start.

Ive read everything from authors like Thomas Merton to Anthony Robbins, from Eckhart Tolle to Eknath Easwaran and although I got a lot out of the literary works of these people, nothing caused the real change in my life like being laid up from illness.

There was a time in my life when I had a dead end job and a bad living situation to boot. I wanted out but was caught up in the routine of it all. Then I got sick with a virus that affected my inner ear. If you never had vertigo before than you can’t relate to how bad it can be. I was stuck in bed for a week not being able to move an inch of my body.  After this I had to rehabilitate my balance system for the next year. It was in this time that I was really able to see where I was in my life  and how bad things really were. What followed was nothing short of miraculous. I did a 180 degree turn around. I quit my job and left the place where I was living. I don’t think this would have happened so quickly if I hadn’t been forced by illness to face where I was at that time. It really motivated me to change things, but the motivation came from the core of me  and not the surface which is why a lot of us fail at change.

I hope that you don’t have to go through any kind of injury or illness to make the changes you need to in your life , but know that if you do, you will come out stronger because of it and possibly move towards the things you want out of life.

 

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