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Life That Works: Positively Ill

"A wise man should consider that health is the greatest of human blessings, and learn how by his own thoughts to derive benefit from his illnesses." -Hippocrates


Illness and positivity are unlikely bedfellows. It seems almost like the weakness of the body drives the positive out of the mind. Fatigue is a common threat to positivity and illness is fatigue multiplied. Physical weakness often gets mirrored in the mind. Chronic pain is often so mixed up with depression and anxiety it is hard to know what creates what. This is true about acute illnesses too; we lose perspective as we lose our strength.

The small details in daily problem solving can easily slip out of proportion. Today I had no choice but to give up the need to get anything done and rest. Lying down seems too basic a remedy to make a difference but actually giving in to the gravitational pull of the earth to be flat on your back is curative of many ills. Slowing down to a crawl, attending to only the most basic of needs is maybe the oldest illness remedy that exists because it works. I probably could have avoided my current acute situation if I had just rested earlier.

Retaining positive thinking patterns is easier when you rest. Even if the only positive thought you can find is feeling grateful for the relative levels of health that we generally take for granted, this is a positive ground for resting. Day dreaming in the midst of mid afternoon dozing can refresh even the most depleted attitudes. The gift in the illness is sometimes just finding the opportunity and time to heal. An ancient Latin proverb reminds us that "Sickness shows us what we are." Staying positive in the face of illness is a spiritual practice worthy of the struggle.