The last few days I have been experiencing a cold.
Note the way I have phrased that statement. I chose to eschew the standard way of expressing this particular physical state, ladened with symptoms of sinus congestion, runny nose, sneezing, rhythmically reaching for tissue after tissue with no way of tightening the valve enough to stop the perpetual drip. The expression that often spills from others undergoing this experience that can be described as antonymous to pleasant are such as “I’m battling a cold” or “I’m fighting this thing” or “this head cold is kicking my ass”.
I was reminded of a conversation I had with someone a couple of days ago. They were telling me of having recently undergone treatment for a form of cancer they had been diagnosed with. There was yet one more surgery to undergo and the doctors believed the final surgery that would remove the remaining tumor would stave off the potential of the condition worsening. The person was quite optimistic. I did want to express my sympathy as well as positive hopes for the outcome. I was about to acknowledge how difficult this battle with cancer must be for this person, but I found myself about to turn into a verbal cul-de-sac and needed to avoid taking that route.
I found myself averse to referring to this experience the person had been undergoing as a “fight”, a “battle”, just as I don’t want to see my own condition in such a light. In any and every battle there is an opponent. There is an adversary that stands between what we have and what we want. To the victor goes the spoils, and in this case, the spoils would be considered good health.
To fight a foe, one must understand his enemy. In my case, my enemy was my own body. My body was reacting to what I consider an energetic upheaval. It was a result of an exhaustion from attempting to lunge head on into an area of my life that I had not yet fully prepared for. This cold is serving its function, and quite well I might add. It is mentally strapping me down so I do not incur further psychic damage than the bumps and bruises I had already manifested. It is demanding that I stop and simply be in the moment, as I so often hear from the pulpit as is evident in these musings.
So once I identified my body as my enemy I had to take pause. If my body was my adversary and I was about to fight it, was I about to fight myself? Or even an aspect of myself? I cannot attribute the cold to any foreign invader as I know quite well these symptoms have been recruited by my own physiology. So if I fight this cold, I am actually fighting myself. For to win a battle is to declare your opponent defeated. If my opponent is myself, then to win this battle I would have to lose it.
To fight this cold would be to my detriment. To try to hasten the alleviation of these symptoms any more rapidly than its natural course would take would be an exhaustion of my own energy, and a blatant refusal to listen to what my body is telling me. I must embrace that my body is a bit off-kilter, that in due time it will right itself and these symptoms will pass. It would be foolish to deny that I actually “have” a cold and venture headlong into taking on the world. Climbing atop my steed and rattling my sabre at the sun will not intimidate it into settling any faster. This cold will pass as long as I listen to what my body is telling me and take its advice. And take care of myself.