A Dharma Glimpse by Frankie
A week or so ago I came down with flu – a gift from my husband who in turn was gifted it by his Doctor’s waiting room.
I don’t think I deal with illness very well; I see it as something that must be resisted at all costs, because I have things to do, I have an elderly husband to take care of, a small dog, responsibilities to Sangha. In the past I have seen it as almost as a kind of weakness and this has led me to be less generous than I should be toward other sufferers.
I’m trying to soften towards self- care and to understand the difference between taking care of me and being me-centred; I’m also working with adopting a more somatic approach to my practice. And perhaps it was the combination of these elements that really caused a shift and empowered me to ask this question of my body:
‘How are you today. What do you need from me?’
And, more importantly, listen to the answer.
I heard that it’s perfectly OK, and actually vital, to give space to not feeling good. To not feel guilty because I have to cancel some things. To not force myself to get out of bed to wash some dishes or get out of my PJ’s because ‘I should’ and that to not get dressed or do housework is irresponsible or letting things slide in some way.
Strangely, I relaxed into the flu. I knew it would run its course. That no amount of wishing it gone would make any difference and would only make me more frustrated, more feverish. As I relaxed I was so attuned to my body that I actually felt, physically felt, the fever quite suddenly subside and slip away. Although there were still a few days of achy bones and brain fog ahead I felt fine in every other way. I could take care of myself by listening to my body’s needs and responding to what I heard. This was a big step forward for me.
This year I’ve chosen the word Embrace as my guide for the year. I chose Embrace because it feels robust, it can be passive, accepting embrace, it can be active, stepping up to embrace. Above all I like it because it’s physical. I can embrace my practice by taking a really embodied approach to it. I can embrace the importance of my body on this path. After all without the body, the vessel, the conduit, that which holds the self, there can be no practice. I embraced the flu and it paid off.
Namo Amida Bu.
Sign up to the temple newsletter on Substack for teachings, Dharma Glimpses and news from Bright Earth.