Recovering From Illness

November 1st, 2007 by Steve Pavlina

The reason I haven’t posted the New York City trip review yet is that I’ve been sick the past several days.  Erin and I co-wrote the review last week (about 6000 words), but I still need to add the photos.  I’ll have it online by the end of the week.

This was a strange illness.  I had a mild cold near the end of the New York City trip, and I seemed to recover just fine.  That was the first illness I’ve had this whole year.  But several days later (this would be Mon, Oct 29), I woke up feeling terrible:  fever, nausea, headache, sore throat, and massive fatigue.  I finally dragged myself out of bed, made a fruit smoothie for breakfast, and then vomited it back up 20 minutes later.  (Unlike many partially digested foods, fruit smoothies still taste OK on the return trip — they’re just a bit warmer.)  Consequently, I’ve been out of commission for the past few days.  I’m feeling better today, and the fever has passed, but I still have a sore throat and feel a bit spacey.

My initial reaction to being sick (twice in two weeks) was annoyance.  I had a busy week planned.  I tried to get a little work done but couldn’t concentrate well enough to do anything worthwhile.  At one point I got really confused trying to find a file folder I’ve accessed a hundred times before, only to realize I’d been looking in the wrong drawer.  This is why I haven’t done any blogging in the past week.

Eventually I opted to give in and go with the flow.  So this week I mostly slept, meditated, and ate lots of raw fruits and veggies.  I also watched some old comedies, which always seems to help me feel better.

During this illness my usual emotional regulators went completely offline.  While watching Young Frankenstein, I totally lost it when the monster was climbing the castle wall at the end.  It seemed like such a beautiful moment.  I felt like a Vulcan suffering from Bendii syndrome.

One meditation I did gave me some intense insights that I’m still coming to terms with.  I realized I was hitting a lot of roadblocks when trying to go a certain direction, and this meditation allowed me to see why that was happening and that there was a far easier path I’d been completely overlooking.  Sometimes an illness acts like a spiritual head smacking.

Another meditation went so deep that it actually slid into a lucid dream while I was sitting on the couch.  My conscious visualizations started giving way to a stream of unconscious imagery, and I could see I was beginning to enter a dream state.  I relaxed and went with it, and I slipped into a very vivid dream while still conscious.  That’s never happened to me before.  Previously lucidity had always been triggered while I was already in the dream state.  I’ll have to try that again sometime.

I had some extremely deep and vivid nighttime dreams this week as well — the kind where it feels like I’ve spent days or weeks within the dream world.  Last night I dreamt I was kidnapped by some “terrorist” group and transported to a country in the Middle East, where I was held hostage.  I was allowed to move around within a small community and interact with the people there, but I couldn’t leave the country.  However, I still had my laptop computer and an Internet connection, and I was encouraged to blog about the whole experience.  I told my captors I’d cooperate on the condition that I would only post the truth — if they wanted me to post anything false or withhold anything true, they’d have to kill me first.  They agreed and said it was all they wanted.  I spent the next two months walking around, observing, talking to people, and writing.  Despite being a “hostage”, I never felt trapped because the joyful background buzz of awareness was still present everywhere.  It was just a matter of adapting to a new environment.

This seemed like more than just a routine illness.  It’s like I was going through some kind of spiritual/emotional purging.  This sort of thing has happened to me a few times before.  In 2004 I had a string of nearly identical illnesses, always with the same symptoms.  Every time I would get some decent momentum going with my games business, I got sick and was down for a week.  It became really irritating.  I must have had about 10 fevers that year.  Eventually I stopped fighting and decided to turn within and do a lot of soul searching, since I didn’t have the energy to do much else.  That led to a major career transition with the launch of StevePavlina.com in late 2004.  Shortly after that the string of illnesses just ended.  Now I suspect I’m getting another knock on the door.

I’m sure some people consider illness to be a purely physical, objective phenomenon caused by wee beasties.  I’m not one of those people… although I’m sometimes classified as one of the beasties.  ;)



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