Attacked by pain?

It’s been awhile, oh illness.

Awhile since I’ve done The Work on you. In fact, it may be at least a decade since I was this sick with the flu.

Ah, but the physical body sometimes calls out for attention: Ouch! This hurts! Something’s off. Sickness is here.

Something is here that isn’t usually here (germs, microbes, influenza, aches, fever heat, physical pain).

But I can so feel the difference between being stressed about it, and not being stressed about it.

The stressed voice says:

This shouldn’t be here
I have to work, (not lie down)
This is hurrrrttttiiiiing me!
I can’t do what I want
I can’t go see friends
I’m going to miss “x” (some event)
I want my mommy
I’m the one who caused this to happen

Of course, it’s not life-threatening as far as I know.

But in the middle of the night, burning and shivering with fever, my mind had images of the plague in the middle ages, and I reminded myself that people die of the flu every year.

How do you react when you’re against some kind of disease? That it shouldn’t be happening?

It’s almost hard to imagine NOT being against illness. Who wants disease? Jeez!

But I noticed, in the night as I propped myself up onto a second pillow since my congested head hurt so much, that not being against this condition is different than being in favor of it.

I can prefer being well, and also not have a war with the flu.

How do I react when I’m against it?

I feel soooo sorry for myself. I want to cry. Like a little bird voice saying “I can’t…..(list of all the things I was going to be doing that must be cancelled)….

So who would I be without the thought “this is horrible”?


I can still feel the body aching with fever, still feel the sinuses throbbing, still feel the nausea….and something relaxes anyway. There’s a letting go.

This just is. The way of it. Health, Sickness. Day, Night. Rain, Sunshine. Winter, Summer.

Who knows where it came from or why it’s happening? Not me.

Can I turn it around?

This is OK (let’s not say this is wonderful, that’s going a bit far and isn’t true right now for me–LOL).

Why is this OK that it’s happening…and can I even find benefits for it in my life?

Well, I’m reminded of death, which can be very powerful. I consider this temporary time of the body in the world. I think of how my friend Carl must have felt at the end of his cancer, and how my first husband and friend Tom must have felt before he died of cancer. Bodies overriding the mind’s desire to live longer. A movement into a next life, or whatever happens beyond this one.

It’s OK because I’m resting. I have a soft bed. I have water, tea, fever medicine. I can feel the amazing pulse of fever. Noticing I’m so curious about it–how does that happen? How did something come in to the body anyway, that is now being burned out?

It’s OK because when I cancel plans or appointments with people, everyone is very understanding.

*this should be here, because it is, and it’s OK
*I have to lie down, (not work)–there’s a time and place for resting and lying down every single day–these several days have more of that in them
*This is not hurting me–I’m forgetting about the ache while I type this, and I’m sleeping sometimes
*I can do what I want–what I want is to rest
*I can go see friends–I can see them later, or in my mind, or share via email
*I’m going to miss “x” (some event)–YAY! You can’t be everywhere! Even if I wasn’t sick, I’d miss something.
*I don’t want my mommy–I was lucky enough to talk with my mom on the phone, and I’m mostly hanging out by myself–it’s quiet and peaceful here as the body goes through this thing
*I’m not the one who caused this to happen–I don’t even know how I would have done that if I tried.

“Discovering yourself to be the wide-open space in which pain appears and not the story of someone who is being attacked by pain, that is true healing–the healing of identity.” ~ Jeff Foster

The reality is I don’t favor this pain, high fever, aching throat, swollen glands, congested head and coughing….

….but without my story that it’s “making me” suffer, or that any circumstance is “making me” suffer….


Something’s weirdly exciting about it. I get to find out where this is going. Still alive here in the body, wondering, noticing how I have no choice.

Noticing the liberation in that. I’m not in charge. Ahhhhh.

What will happen next?

Much love,
P.S. A year ago, I attended a retreat in The Work with Roxann Burroughs, Byron Katie’s daughter. She calls it Sit In The Fire. Each person who attends has the opportunity to fully express their pain (if they choose), rather than trying to bypass or fix it or push it down.

I went because I did this kind of work in my past group therapy years ago, and I was curious. Everyone who chooses gets to sit in the question “How do you react when you believe this thought?”

When I was there, I did The Work on cancer and all the people I’ve “lost” through the disease. I sobbed my eyes out. That was the reality: grief beyond anything I could ever “think”. It was beautiful and heart-breaking and just…real.

I am hosting another retreat with Roxann in March here in the area where I live (somewhere near Seattle, but slightly remote–it will be within an hour of Seatac airport). We have room for only 2 more. We begin Friday morning 3/22 and end Sunday afternoon 3/24. All meals provided as well as lodging in the big house we’ve rented. Please hit reply if you want to attend and send me a note, and I can give you more details.

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