Sunday, 4 September 2016

What do I miss?

The tallest mountain in the south west! 3-day trip with two of my housemates to Mount Anne, this time last year

I've been reading a few chronic fatigue blogs, and its reassuring to have my symptoms, especially some of the vague ones, validated by other peoples' experience. Although I do get scared when I read about people who've been sick for years and years, and and I've only been 5 months and I'm holding onto a hope that I”ll be better by summer!

I read a post the other day about what the author missed the most about being healthy. Her number one thing was spontaneity, followed by variety. And I thought, hmmm, – sure its a bit annoying I can't really be very spontaneous at the moment– but I can plan my days, its not that hard! Actually, I get to spontaneously pull out of dates and appointments all the time when my energy takes an unexpected turn for the worse - spontaneity ain't always that great! And variety – well – the clouds and seasons are always changing out my window and I had so many different people bring me meals, so I've had plenty of different things to eat, so I guess I'm pretty lucky in that regard. Anyway, it got me thinking about what are the things that I miss the most.

1. Exercise. Exercise, exilaration, exuberance, wild outdoors adventures and endorphins and feeling alive, with your heart and blood pumping, face flushed, cold skin. Swims, body surfs, bike rides and walks up hills and wild alive joy and FUN that involves running around and silliness.

Wild sea kayaking ladies on Maria Island! 

But. I'm learning to sit still and be where I am right now, and still feel joy from being alive among the other life around me, and notice small things in the world. And that is often quite lovely.

2. Being able to do things like carry rocks and dig holes and build fences and make my garden more like the permaculture paradise I wish it was, instead of the half-done work in progress.

Permablitz at our house 2 years ago

But. My housemate built a fence and carted some mulch, and I'm carrying back one small rock a day from the bush where I go to sit. Over the weeks I have made real progress in lining the swimming pool edge with natural rocks, creating more habitat and less straight-edginess. And I've got time to plant flowers and do tiny minor pottering jobs, and also scheme and dream and observe and contemplate, instead of charging into doing things, and/or being overwhelmed by the scope of my plans. I'm learning how to break the big jobs into little jobs. One rock at a time.

3. Feeling useful, like someone who can volunteer and give back at least as much as what I take – to my sharehouse, with my friends and in society. 

Me creating habitat for frogs in our old backyard swimming pool

But maybe now I have time to learn to be less judgemental of others, more compassionate, and also learn the art of nondoing rather than reactive doing. To learn acceptance and trust that things often will sort them out for themselves, even when you don't interfere. Fully realising my interdependence in this world, fully letting go of the myth of independence, allowing people to help me and finding also self-worth beyond doing.

4. The rest of Tasmania. Sure I live in a pretty nice house with an awesome view, but I do miss the rest of Tasmania and all the other places I love on this island.

Wooo! Hardcore Mount Anne circuit walk 3 years go

I guess I'm learning to love this one place more deeply then. And the rest of Tasmania will be more vibrant when I do visit it again, because I have missed it and I I will see it with fresh eyes.

5. Being able to distract myself from myself doing things and going places. Some days I get pretty bored and sick of my own company!

I've already spent a lot of time by myself, working 5 seasons as a track ranger on the Overland Track

But even when we're healthy we've got to put up with our selves all day every day. Its good to learn to be as kind and gentle with ourselves as we can be with others.

6. My identity. How I like to see myself as an active outdoors, wild adventure-having, silly- laughing, bare-skin kayaking, mountain climbing, bike riding, nature-nerding, garden-building and reliable doing-lady. What if all the new people I meet think I'm really boring, unreliable and/or just plain lazy? I'm not boring! I'm an adventure lady! I'm a doing lady!

Travelling in Nepal, aged 18

Ha. Identity and ego. That old chestnut. But it turns out this slow, nondoing person is me as well. And perhaps in this quiet, slow time, I have the space to connect with a more fundamental part of being, something more core, that exists beyond all the transience and busy-ness of doing. Maybe.

So, despite all the things I miss, I'm still quite well and as you can see I've been having my zen moments. I still rate my wellbeing pretty much the same as always. Around a 7-7.5 out of 10. Hardly ever below 6, sometimes up around 8. (Apart from when I was struck down with the flu, which I'm not even going to bother to try to be positive about). At my current energy levels (I'd say I'm currently about 7-8% of my 100%, which I rate as 'riding my bike up mount wellington'). I can still do lots of really nice things, like talk to people, look at really beautiful things in nature like wattles and blue wrens and flame robins, spend time outside with the tassie breeze blowing into my face, soak up winter sunlight and crotchet people beanies. If I didn't have those things, I think I would struggle a lot more. So, so far, this glandular fever seems to be a very gentle illness. And despite all the things I miss, many days I am grateful for this new perspective and the stuff I get to learn.

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