But what I was thinking about during my motionless day in bed was how the flu isn’t all bad. First of all, the flu happens in the fall/winter. I think it’s fair to say that most of us don’t take (or have) much time to slow down and have self-reflection, even in the season of that. And the flu hits hardest when we’ve just been pushing too hard, staying up late, and caffeinating ourselves forward. The flu forces you to go inwards, to drop the “shoulds” and what you want to do, and just stop. It even hurts to think. If only for a miserable day or two, we are forced to take a break.
It teaches us to let go – the stronger you try to resist the flu, the longer you stay sick. We are taught to stand strong and not give up, but having the flu is about surrender. The more you try to accomplish or keep doing, the worse you feel. What feels best is to do absolutely nothing.
It gets us in touch with our bodies: as I laid there aching and shaking, the times the chills calmed down and the aching eased off a bit were when I was absolutely still. Not moving a muscle. All my attention was focused on my body - avoiding pain, and keeping warm. That in itself is a meditation.
We lose our appetite, get very thirsty, and start to sweat. Isn’t that the basic recipe for detoxification? And the fever isn’t necessarily bad – fevers are our immune system rallying for a fight and making it more difficult for the bad guys. And sweat clears out all sorts of toxins. As much as I hate being overheated, I look forward to my influenza fever. Once that fever hits and I start sweating, however uncomfortable, I’m on your way back to better.
So after spending that day in bed, with a few concerned visits from my boys and little in my belly, I knew before I fell asleep for the night I had already burned through it. It passes like a wave if you let it wash through you.