No matter how bad it is, there’s always somebody worse off. I was doing my wake-up exercises and Tai Chi when this struck me as a good idea for today’s blog. How though, to write this without sounding like a little boy seeking attention, which'll put you off this blog for life or entice you to read on for a while.
Accepting what you can not change is quite a force. Indeed, so is accepting even that which you can change, for to move forwards you must understand where you are, which means stopping, looking around and within you and weighing it all up with dispassionate compassion.
We must first break through discomfort and tools like Tai Chi lift me above self pity. Self pity has been part of our makeup since our parents ignored our infant cries, however, it is destructive.
I don’t have periods of physical comfort, but abort self-pity by knowing that others have are worse off and many since their childhood. 8 tropical diseases nearly killed me, and some continue to ripple through me, each to is own rhythm so too many things afflict my health. Doctors say my vehicle’s had too many accidents, and that my once powerful body is the only reason I’ve survived this long. My battered immune system can’t fight off everything. This week, on top of my daily condition of hangover-like headaches, feeling sick, feeling flu-ish, feeling weak as a squeak, I’ve also painful and itchy blisters and warts rashing my back with the accompanying fever. I sometimes bleed deeply and bodily acts are frequently painful. Visiting the loo 3-4 times each night robs me of sleep. Sleeping is tough enough with both shoulders aching due to five tendons torn from using crutches for so long. At night and in the day there’s the knees, bone on bone paining one, the other now plastic, unreliable, painful. There’s the feet and other joints pained due to osteoarthritis. My brain sometimes lingers on the edge, this isn’t depression as one knows it - when we are sick the brain puts energy into fighting disease so the mind’s processes suffer from being suppressed. Add to all this the little stroke which still distorts my brain, meaning my mind ‘melts’, there’s no better word for it. I can end up not knowing who or where I am. In exciting company I’m exhausted in minutes, yet calm conversation is OK.
I’ll stop there, although there’s other stuff such as slightly wonky kidneys, and more, for this is simply an example of how we can rise above our own situation and find compassion for ourselves. This is helped by feeling compassion for others.
Wallowing in self pity is self-destructive. That route certainly leads to depression which is why I remind myself that there’s always others worse off. Tai Chi isn’t magical, it is simply a way to be in the moment and to losen up. Reinforcing your attentive presence in the physical world is powerful and it helps you rise above self pity. There’s a great trick taught to survivors of catastrophes such as tsunamis. Stop briefly throughout the day, quickly listen to sounds, feel the air on your skin, enjoy gravity’s pull, admire something small such as a flower, relish being alive. Move on. As I’ve almost discovered, we never know when this will end. Smile, tell yourself, “This is as good as it gets!”