Dry Times

I’m not sure what to write about today. I have been battling a virus all week, some version of the flu, and have had a lot of chest congestion, feeling achy at times and zero energy. Yesterday I could tell I turned the corner, as I finally started feeling more like my usual healthy self.

I’ve made a commitment to write a weekly entry for this website since March of last year, which I have been able to honor most of the time. Some weeks the typing is easy and fun, others are work but there is still a flow of words, at times themes are subtle and quiet, and I am surprised by what results on the page. Then there are weeks that are silent, or seem that way at least, and I stare at the blinking cursor, straining to listen. Or worse, mute the harsh critic that throws out mean autoimmune one-liners to explain why things are dry. I force myself to write at those times especially, even if all I can muster is a journal entry, because life is all about seasons of experience and I want to cooperate with this truth and not take it personally. Nothing is “wrong” when I am uncomfortable with this or that, it’s just what is.

Of course I prefer a state of contentment over one of feeling upset. Somehow being in the moment really does facilitate peace of mind. I noticed this a few days ago when I was still feeling wretched. I was making my morning coffee and had not been up for long. All of the congestion was making itself known:  tightness in my chest, head aching, and exhaustion from coughing. Just moving felt difficult. I asked myself what was good about “this moment” and shifted my focus to the pleasure of making coffee. The sound of scooping dry beans from the can, then the clicks they make as they tumble down the shoot of my grinder, the smell of tiny fragments of coffee releasing into the air as they are ground, the visual and sound of clean water catching fragments of light as it’s poured and eventually begins to faintly rumble in the kettle, the warmth and heat of the stove light in contrast to the cold and dark of 6 am.

I still felt sick but emotionally it was if my fever “broke” away from feeling oppressed and depressed and I was at peace again. I was no longer struggling to get away from my circumstances or wishing the future would hurry up and get here. It was a simple recognition of what it means to be mindful and present.

To be able to feel contentment amid difficulty is possible and I am thankful for the reminder.