Monday, June 16, 2008

I Declare Wellness!

Okay. I think it's safe to say that I am over the shingles, that plague which will never be mentioned again after these few final thoughts. It has been 29 days from the beginning until now.

It truly feels like a plague. As I told someone this morning, if I was a fundamentalist Christian, I would declare it as being of the devil.

But maybe not. Let's look at it from another angle.

Strange things passed through my mind over the past 29 days. For the most part, I believe illnesses communicate something to us. Perhaps I studied too much Louise Hay in the past but most illnesses can be traced to some condition in our lives that match the symptoms. Most people who read here have probably read enough of that kind of philosophy to know what I mean.

The only thing that makes sense for shingles is that it is a manifestation of the toxic "stuff" we carry around. Over the past several months, I've been letting go of quite a bit. It started in Thailand when I began the massages. It's continued with a commitment to deepening my practice of conscious forgiveness and "letting go".

Really though, considering the amount of crap I carried for so many years, it's not too surprising that I would create shingles.

The weekend I became ill, I'd just been to a meeting at the wat where a lot of toxic people stuff came to the surface. In-fighting among some of the members for reasons I can't discuss openly. People were engaging in political maneuvering that would have been more appropriate to a corporate boardroom rather than a sacred place (which I consider the wat to be). I was horribly disappointed. I was also kind of angry. "Kind of", no. I was pissed.

That's supposed to be a refuge, a sanctuary. That's the place where we go to strengthen our path, to receive guidance from the ajahns, to bring ourselves to wholeness.

The behavior out there reminded me of all the toxic stuff I've been carrying about work places and group dynamics in its worst manifestation, the competition and back-biting that represents the very worst of what I loosely call "western culture".

It felt like I'd gone swimming in a river of sh*t and there wasn't a shower hot enough to get clean again.

I came home that afternoon, a very hot afternoon, and even my house mate commented that I looked horribly tired. The right side of my face was red. I went into the bedroom and slept for two hours.

Two days later, I manifested the lesions.

Old, toxic stuff coming to the surface. Bubbling to the surface. Literally. That is what shingles look like. Bubbling. I know the medical explanation but nothing exists in a vacuum. Medical science would present it that way - but it's not the whole picture. At least for people my age, nearly all of us had chicken pox as kids. Not all of us get shingles.

I created the shingles. It didn't come out of nowhere and I don't believe in random chance. At the same time, it's important to mention that I don't assign fault or blame. It's just actions and reactions. There are some people who use this philosophy as a justification for self-righteous judgment and as a hammer against others who might not make the same choices they would make. I'm not going there at all. Anyone who would say that someone "chose" shingles or cancer and turned it into an indictment doesn't truly understand the nature of choice. Or of simple dialectics, for that matter.

Instead, I am saying that illnesses can tell us something about the state of our overall being, in all its facets. If we're getting migraines, why are we angry? If we have trouble breathing, what is it that keeps us from speaking our truth? If we have shingles, what are we holding onto that we need to release? These things provide us with information.

This is just another good reason to keep ourselves spiritually balanced, to keep our lives as "clean" as possible, to do our internal work and to increase our understanding of how everything links together.

(For anyone who is interested in reading more about this kind of thing, I'd recommend starting with Carolyn Myss.)



hele said...

You are wise my friend.

I wish for you a centered letting go followed by a peaceful silence.

Catherine said...

One of my favorite things about the blogisphere is making friends with people who, though living under different "labels" than mine, think just about the same as I do.

And you are one of them!

I too often say (in jest) - "if I was a certain kind of person, I'd say God caused this...if I was a different kind of person, I'd say Satan caused this. That's a big difference in interpretation!"

But I too see a connection between my inner self and my physical body (I laugh as I see myself say connection, as though they were two different things that could be connected, rather than one and the same). I have many many times found my body and spirit showing the same symptoms.

I'm glad you're doing better.

slouching mom said...

in my view, the mind IS the body, and the body the mind. they're of a piece.

so what you write makes perfect sense to me.

Anonymous said...

I have HSV-1 which always manifests as sores inside the mouth. I get them sometimes around my period, but also when I'm enduring a stressful situation.

Sorry you suffered with this for a month, and I'm very glad you're feeling better at last.

Ian Lidster said...

Oh, you definitely do it for me, my friend. I fully believe that there is a connection between our inner spirituality and our wellness, or lack thereof. When my ex wife came down with shingles a couple of years ago all I could think, while fully sympathetic, was that I wasn't surprised. She hangs on to so much anger at everybody and everything that she was just waiting for such a thing.
I am so glad you are feeling better.

seventh sister said...

I was thinking about Caroline Myss as I read your post about the shingles the other day. I was also thinking about how comfrotable or uncomfortable you may be in your own skin. Skin is the outermost part of our bodies and it is our biggest organ. You don't seem comfortable in the culture of the community in which you live and seem to be having difficulty finding or creating a culture or community in which you are a little more comfortable. Substitute the word skin for culture and see how it feels to you.

seventh sister said...

I was thinking about Caroline Myss as I read your post about the shingles the other day. I was also thinking about how comfrotable or uncomfortable you may be in your own skin. Skin is the outermost part of our bodies and it is our biggest organ. You don't seem comfortable in the culture of the community in which you live and seem to be having difficulty finding or creating a culture or community in which you are a little more comfortable. Substitute the word skin for culture and see how it feels to you.

jen said...

what a journey, huh?! i am consistently amazed by your ability to be introspective and then apply it to the broader cultural applications.

Olivia said...

I am glad that you have processed this experience Chani, and made meaning of it in a way that will allow you to put it behind you. I hope, with you, that the lesson has been need to repeat it...ever!

LoveHubbie is particularly strident as he is a strong believer in allopathic medicine. It's funny how what we believe determines how we interpret what happens to us physically (like the Satan thing). It's so what we believe, what we emote, what lessons we need to learn, and how quickly we learn things.

I am very happy for you today,

Much love,

The Slow Learner

womaninawindow said...

I'm glad you're better. I wonder about the thing that started it though...all of the infighting and the politics of your supposed safe place. I hope you find your way around that.

I'm struggling right now with this sort of thing at my work and I have to admit, I keep finding myself an unwitting contributer. It's so difficult to stay out. Sometimes even the best intentions can stir things up.

thailandchani said...

Hele, thanks. :) The peaceful silence comes from making peace with what happened, I'll bet.


Catherine, it really didn't seem obvious until I looked at it. For all my woo-woo talk, I am a person who is capable of powerful rage. I need to learn how to let that go.


Sarah, yes... they are the same. In dualism though, it would be easy to feel betrayed by our bodies - as though they are doing something *to* us.. rather than one being the logical extension of the other.


De, are those times when you particularly "hold your tongue"? Betcha! :)


Ian, thanks. Yes, I am feeling better.. even though I'm still a little afraid they'll come back. (Shingles, I mean) They taught me a lesson. Definitely.


Seventh, I think my shingles came from rage.. from the toxic stuff it creates in my body. You're on target about the culture. The culture here does make me very, very angry - yet I often can't say anything. When I do say something, I have to be careful how I say it.


Jen, thanks. It comes naturally and to be honest, there are times when I find it to be a nuisance. :)


O, I am so glad you are becoming a Slow Learner. (For those who wonder what we're talking about, visit Olivia's site.) You will be SO much happier.. and once you recognize the programming, knowing you, you will have no trouble letting it go.


Erin, I can understand where it can unwittingly come into your life. When you take a stand, there's a price to pay for that, too. In fact, I've been paying it for years.

I hope you are able to get away from that kind of thing.


The New Mom on the Blog said...

Congrats! Finally! isn't 29 days too long? Anyhow its over!

Suki said...

So very glad you're better :)

I've been struggling with the same thing since I developed an interest in psychoanalysis. Is a disease organic or mental in origin - and what is the best way of treating it? It's confusing, to say the least, and I hope I can arrive at some understanding of it some day.

thailandchani said...

New Mom, yes.. it did take a long time. At the beginning, I suspected it was a reaction to the sun so I didn't visit a doctor. That really dragged it out. :)


Suki, I suspect it's both. Our bodies and our minds are one... collaborative. We can't have one without the other so, at least in my belief, our thoughts and beliefs manifest organically.


heartinsanfrancisco said...

I have all of Caroline Myss's books and think she is a genius.

That which we loosely call "stress" can (and will) manifest as some kind of illness sooner or later.

Knowing this, and looking more closely inside the illness when it strikes to find its origins can also help it to go away sooner. The truth shall set you free.

I'm glad you're ending this particular chapter, and that the knowledge you gained will help to prevent future visits from the god of shingles.

thailandchani said...

Susan, shingles ain't welcome at my house. :) This is the only way to do it though. I honestly believe that if I don't figure out what they were trying to say, they'll come back and yell at me some more!


slouching mom said...

don't know where your post on eisenstein went. he's a very fluent writer!

i was stunned by how well it seemed to describe what you've been writing about on your blog all along.

i'd say that it fits my life as well, though the specifics of my journey are very different from yours. the steps, however -- those seem to be the same.

Defiantmuse said...

I agree....when I was 15 I was diagnosed with CFS, mono and a slew of other things. Um. huh? at 15? How about I was just going through an extremely emotional time and it manifested itself in strange rashes, lethargy, ulcers and swollen glands. Once I did the internal work that I needed to my illnesses cleared up. Funny how that works sometimes, eh?

thailandchani said...

Sarah, answered you by email.


Defiantmuse, I wish you'd been able to see the article yesterday. I think I will send it to you. It extrapolates what you said... and explains what happened.


painted maypole said...

at two very stressful times in my life i developed chronic diarrhea (sorry... TMI? i can still tell when my old issues over this are resurfacing by what my bowels are doing...) and another time hives all over my body

our bodies definately react to what is going on inside of us