Birthdays are good for you. The more you have, the longer you live.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Dealing with the Common Cold

Even Reiki Masters can get sick. We're all human, handling our lives and circumstances as best we can, and sometimes manifesting illness or injury in the course of doing so. Spouse and I have had head colds the last little while: very sneezy and a bit of a cough in the throat, nothing on the chest.

Along with my Usui Reiki, I learned about the metaphysics of illness. It's not, strictly speaking, a necessary aspect of Reiki; but a knowledge of what thoughts or emotions might be involved in the condition can help with any kind of healing.

Colds, I learned, can be an expression of grief. Just think of the symptoms — runny nose, streaming eyes, gasping, spluttering, choking; very similar to an outburst of hearty crying. If that's the case, best deal with the grief consciously and express it directly. It might be time to 'have a good cry' for real, not in a disguised fashion. It could also be helpful to write it all out. (You don't have to show anyone afterwards, if you don't want to.) You'll probably be well aware of what's causing you grief. If it's elusive, look instead for something external that upsets you (domestic violence, floods in Pakistan) or some past source of sorrow, and feel into that in order to release the tears.

Or a cold may be an excuse to take some time out, to 'have a bludge' as we say in Australia. If we're supposed to be at school or at a 9 to 5 job, we may well need a legitimate excuse — unfortunately. How much better if we could just give ourselves permission. If you need time out, you'd better take it if you can, hopefully without having to make yourself sick first.

If we know all this, how come we still got these colds? First of all, we're still human and fallible enough to forget what we know, or not to take enough notice of our needs in the first place. I'm far too inclined to push myself to get things done instead of taking life a bit slower and easier.  Then, sometimes we want a break from things we're stuck with.

My Spouse is 81 and I'm now his official carer too. Doctors and friends tell us he's 'amazing for 81' and indeed he is — but he doesn't have the strength, stamina or concentration of a younger man. I now do a lot of things that he used to handle, from putting out the garbage to balancing the budget. And I'm 70 myself; one gets slower. At times I resent the fact that there's less time for what I call 'my own life': reading, blogging, movies, meditation.... He'd probably like a bit more of that kind of thing too, but he needs his daytime nap these days. We shouldn't complain, and we're not; many people younger than us have lesser quality of life. However, as I keep saying, we're human — there are times we'd like out of all this. I don't mean dying; we don't feel the least bit ready for that yet. But it would be nice if someone else would take over the hard work.

The trouble is, no-one's going to. We're not actually ready for the nursing home, either. We very much like our autonomy, thanks. And our children all live interstate or overseas. So here we are, wanting a bludge and not able to get it. What are we to do?

Have one, that's what!  During the course of this cold, we have been having days in bed. Mostly in bed, that is. One does have to get up and get a meal now and then, but we've made them easy meals, like opening a can of baked beans. When I was kid, comfort food was tinned tomato soup with brown bread broken into it; we've been having that too. It feels like mothering myself. We've brought the laptop to bed and watched movies, while ignoring our email. We've caught up on our reading.

My domestic mentor (and thousands of other people's) FlyLady has been reminding me for years that 'you can do anything for 15 minutes' (not IN 15 minutes, please note) — after which you are supposed to spend the next 15 doing something for you, such as putting your feet up and having a cuppa.  If only I would do what she says, I would be taking my time out every 15 minutes! (I must set my timer, I must set my timer, I must....)

FlyLady also teaches that 'housework done imperfectly still blesses your family', giving permission for the proverbial 'lick and a promise' when that's all there's time or energy to do. So why have I been feeling stressed for lack of time? Why am I resentful at not having enough time for 'my own life'? I've been being a martyr, that's why. Pushing myself beyond my limits, being perfectionist about things that don't warrant it, failing to get to bed at a decent hour (another of her precepts) and so on. FLY Lady is about Finally Loving Yourself. Time to put that into practice!

If you have a cold, perhaps it's time to take a vacation, or maybe you could drop some of your responsibilities for a little while. Maybe your parner could walk the dog; maybe the kids could water the plants. Perhaps it might be as simple as getting to bed a little earlier. That's when our bodies do their healing and repairing, when we rest.

What about Reiki? Metaphysics is a big part of the story, and you can speed up healing by addressing the metaphysics, but let's not neglect actual physical treatment of your ailment. Of course go to the doctor if you feel the need. What you think is a cold might be the precusor to something more serious; it's useful to get a diagnosis. If your doctor gives you advice, take it. It won't conflict with Reiki; they will enhance each other.

The place to Reiki yourself for the common cold, or anything infectious, is the thymus. Place a hand on your upper chest, with your thumb touching the collarbone; that will more than cover the right area. It's a very good idea to make a habit of Reiki-ing your thymus even if you aren't sick; prevention is so much better than cure!

If you listen to what your symptoms are telling you, and take care of the metaphysics, and consult your doctor, and give yourself Reiki — who says the common cold is incurable?  If you just do the Reiki and nothing else, that will certainly help — Reiki is powerful stuff — but the full works shoud clear it even faster.

We've had our echinacea and zinc tablets which the doctor recommended. Spouse has just gone to lie down and have a rest. I'm going to get comfortable and do a bit of reading, holding one hand over my thymus while I read.

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