Best teaching: “Just be sick”

…of course, that’s the last thing you want to hear when you’re miserable

pillows, blankets, books and hot cocoa. While I'd rather be doing a hundred other things, this being sick business isn't so bad after all.

pillows, blankets, books and hot cocoa. While I’d rather be doing a hundred other things, this being sick business isn’t so bad after all.


For me it always comes on in the late afternoon – after a day spent wandering about with no energy and no focus and feeling like something’s “just not quite right”. It hits me after dinner is cooked and on the table – all the daily chores are done – I sit down and BAM! My head starts spinning, my stomach feels like it’s rising up through my throat, my guts get queasy and my eyes go cross-wise.

“I need to lay down…” barely gets past my lips in a whimper before I’m huddled under a hundred quilts on the couch. It’s not fair! I wanted to finish that article tonight, and get my newsletter mailed out, and what about Jimmy? I need to change his diaper and read his bedtime story…luckily, my body knows better. My last thought before spinning into a delirious stupor, “Oh! It was that stupid brownie that I had for breakfast! That explains why I’m sick…”

The next day, I’m not faring much better. Weakness, sore throat, stiff neck and shoulders, swollen tonsils, headache. If I had to describe my overall state of being in this moment with one word it would be weakness – slumped over the desk reaching for each singular keystroke, and barely able to keep my head aloft.

What better opportunity to remember my teachers? 

I was a high-maintenance student in Homeopathy school. My mentor Christopher Beaver was famous for his humor and directness when it came to teaching healers how to heal. Most of my questions then were self-serving: how do I cure my tinnitus? what should I do if I get a headache? can you give me a remedy to help me sleep better? Until finally, Christopher screeched out in over-the-top exaggerated exasperation:




Of course the whole class got a good kick out of that. And I will never forget it, either. Sometimes we are so afraid of getting sick that we completely forget what overall health and well-being are like. We vaccinate ourselves against every possible probability…and get upset when we end up sick anyway. We hide our sickness from the world, denying to others and to ourselves one of the most fundamental attributes that makes us truly human – living and dying dancing somewhere along the wide and hazy spectrum of health and disease.

Today I have a touch of whatever bug is going around. No big deal. Thanks to my training, I recognized the keynote of “weakness” and took homeopathic Gelsemium 30c. After a two-hour mid-morning nap, I woke up with a little more energy and even a little bit of an appetite. Plus, having less energy than normal inspires me to look at the simple and small things in a new light – I’ve done more reading today, cancelled a couple appointments and I’m even letting my partner make tea, go shopping and change diapers…which seems to make him really happy.

Maybe this being sick business isn’t so bad after all.

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