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Recovering From Illness

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. ūüėČ

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