“One of my patients who has Chronic Fatigue Syndrome spent several years seeking help for her symptoms, going from doctor to doctor obsessed with the minute details of her physical problems, which she tracked on a daily journal. She no longer does this. What she had thought was that you had to be without symptoms to enjoy life, to go to the theatre, to have children, to love. It was as if life was only lived by well people.
In meditation, it came to he that her chronic disease was not stopping her from participating in life, but the meaning she had assigned to it, that she could not participate in life because of it, was far more limiting than the disease itself. She was surprised to learn that there was absolutely no reason why if she felt weak or was in some pain, she couldn’t still go to the theatre.
It might take longer to get to her seat. Once there, if she felt too poorly, she might have to leave early. She might even miss the last act. One never knew. But the meaning she had assigned to her symptoms was causing her to miss the whole play.
She has stopped pursuing the perfect health she once had and does what she can to strengthen her body in simple, natural ways. Instead of seeing four or five doctors a week, she now consults her doctors for only serious problems. She has discovered that by being willing to begin without being certain of the outcome, she is often able to do a great deal more that she would have thought.
Laughingly, she says that she has made a substitution in the cross-stitched sampler that hangs on the walls of her inner life. It used to say, “Life is only for the well.” Now it says, “Anything worth doing is worth doing half-assed.”
Excerpt from ‘Kitchen Table Wisdom’ by Rachel Naomi Remen.