by Amanda Jacobs
This past March, as the world was waking up to the reality of Covid-19, I became ill with bilateral pneumonia. As the illness progressed, the days and nights became a fevered blur. Each moment felt more and more like a life-or-death contemplation. Thanks to the care and support of family, friends and dedicated medical care providers, I began recovering after three long weeks of being bedridden.
The recovery seemed excruciatingly long and arduous. Before becoming sick I had been in the habit of hiking at least two to three miles every day. Post-pneumonia, two hundred yards felt like a marathon. Everyday though, I made the difficult decision to walk just a little farther than the day before, and to rest a little more deeply upon returning home. This was the path of my healing. Now, thankfully, eight months later, I feel restored and well again, but I also feel profoundly changed by the experience.
How have I changed? What have I learned? First, I have realized the importance of self-care, which is not always easy. Self-care is the culmination of innumerable seemingly small decisions made each and every day. What to do, what to eat, what to drink, what to read, what to listen to, what to contemplate, what to say, what to share. Many of these decisions have become easier with the establishment of rhythms in my daily life, and some of these decisions remain challenging, but the way I perceive these decisions has profoundly changed. They are no longer questions of what I “should” be doing; they have become authentic and perpetual opportunities to embrace a tremendous personal freedom and responsibility.
Secondly, I feel a deeper sense of connectivity and regard for the intimate and intricate ways in which all things are interwoven. An unexamined judgement or grievance in my inner world is recognized as a mirror image of an affliction or malady in the outer world. Through my awareness, I am able to shine light on the shadows of my inner landscape, and through divine grace, I am able to see the light shining through the cracks in the outer world. In this way I feel able to not only affect my personal unfolding, but to “become the change I wish to see in the world”.
This, to me, is what health creation is all about. It is not about self-improvement. It is not about becoming better, faster, stronger or more immune. It is a practice of becoming more consciously considerate, more aware, more compassionate. It is a sacred journey of the Spirit in the body. It is the work of becoming more fully and expansively human.