Sometimes the Only Thing to Do Is… Nothing

This little cherub you see in the photo on the right is my almost 2-year-old son, Teddy. Monday morning, I had just finished putting on his shoes and was just about to put on his coat so we could head out to his daycare. And then – sorry, there’s no delicate way to say this – Teddy vomited on my face.

I fastidiously take Vitamin D and probiotic supplements and take a lot of pride in the fact that I have caught only one bug my kids have brought home this winter – a dramatic improvement over winters past. But sometimes the vomit just hits you in the face. Fast forward 24 hours, and I am laid out with the very same stomach virus.

Holy toilet bowl, did I feel awful. Luckily, Teddy had made a miraculous recovery and his sister had no signs of infection, so off they went for the day to their respective schools and I could be sick without having to also take care of anyone else. (I am so thankful for this.)

I managed to gather my computer, a cup of ginger tea, and the phone, and set myself up on the chaise, planning to get some work done. I even wrote out a to-do list. Then my body said, “Not so fast, lady.”

No matter how many pillows I used to prop myself up, I just didn’t have the energy to hold my head up or keep my hands on the keyboard. I looked at that to-do list and started to get upset — I’m in the midst of revamping my business (see below for more details!) and have plenty of i’s to dot and t’s to cross. But then all that fretting caused my head to loll back, literally. I ended up giving in to the lethargy and took a nap, at 9:30 a.m., no less.

Inspired by Wayne Dyer’s The Power of Intention, which I’ve been reading for the last several weeks, I thought to myself, “I’m so tired because my body is working so hard to make me well. The more I can roll with it, the faster I’ll be well.”

I ended up taking another nap later that afternoon, and was in bed by 9 that night. And wa la, I woke up the next morning feeling like my old self. Now, clearly, this wasn’t a long-lived virus. Teddy got over it in 24 hours too. But he’s a kid who sleeps 14 hours a day. I’m 42-year-old who averages 6-1/2 hours a night — no comparison. (And more on how I’ve been working on upping that nightly sleep time in a future post.)

And then I was cruising the blogosphere this morning and found this post from Priscilla Warner, author of the memoir Learning to Breathe. In it, she is introduced to two Buddhist lamas. They encourage her to keep traveling to spread the word about her book, which details how she spent a year meditating (among other soul-soothing pursuits) and what she learned. When she lamented that all the traveling she’d been doing was wearing her out, one of the lamas replied, “The whole world is slowing down. Oil prices are dropping, economies are slowing…It’s fine to slow down sometimes.” Amen, Mr. Lama.

Sometimes slowing down is the only option that makes any damn sense, no matter what your inner productivity addict may tell you. May we all have the wisdom to recognize when those times are, without having to get puked on first.

Take care and keep breathing,

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16 thoughts on “Sometimes the Only Thing to Do Is… Nothing

  1. Loved your story today. However, I am glad you are on the mend. Heard you speak at the Be Healthy Boston event and thought you were GREAT!!! I am looking forward to receiving your emails in the future. Oh, and please enter me into your drawing for the book. Thank You and stay well.
    Rhonda 🙂

  2. Oh Kate this really hit home. I have been rushing with my life so much the last few months and then wham-mo a Dr. appt. knocked me down big time. Went for a simple eye exam that turned into a nightmare. The start of macular degeneration. Now they keep check of its progression.
    Being an artist this really hit me hard. Heck it would hit anyone hard. My mind just went into a whirlwind. Now I am in the process of trying to quiet my mind and self. To slow myself down, to con tinplate it all. This is the first time I have spoken about this outside the family. I guess it is a start.
    PS. Sorry about Teddy’s little hiccup! 🙂 Sharon

    1. Hi Sharon, so sorry to hear about your recent discover. Better to catch it early when you can do something about it rather than having to chase it later. For every door that closes, another opens, but the hallways are a b!tch. Thinking of you and sending deep breaths your way. I’m glad you’re starting to talk about it.

  3. I don’t have a website. I just enjoy reading your Ms. Mindbody emails and reading on your website. I would love to read the book: The Power of Intention and hope you will put my name in the pot to receive a free copy.
    Thanks so much,

  4. Amen, sista. It’s hard to give oneself PERMISSION to slow down, especially when you’re running around after two wee tykes and running a cool biz. I’m glad you allowed yourself to rest. Sometimes a woman’s gotta do what a woman’s gotta do.

  5. I’m so excited for The Daily Unwind!

    Today I was supposed to work out but felt really off. I opted for a steaming hot bubble bath instead, with eucalyptus body wash. I put my iPhone in a sandwich bag (Try it! It still works and is great for the beach/pool/tub) and the first thing I came to was this week’s article. Perfect! And I didn’t even have barf on my face!

    1. Toni that bath sounds DIVINE. I am a bath junkie and we’ve had only saucers for bathtubs for the last 15 years. Glad your realization was barf free. Although if it weren’t, at least your iPhone would have been protected. 😉 Love that tip, will definitely try it at the pool this summer. And some day, I WILL have a dreamy bathtub. You hear me, universe?

  6. Thanks Kate! The reality of “staging”, selling, packing, buying, moving in the next 6 mos before we welcome baby 2’s arrival makes each day feel like a mountain of to-do. Somewhat frustratingly, my prego body is sending me clear messages that sometimes (read: most of the time) Stella and I have to start the day with Elmo…and maybe some days Elmo gets to entertain us for a bit longer than “optimal”. I do as much as I can each day and trust it will all get done in its own time. Who knows, maybe if I move too fast the “right” next place to live won’t be ready to receive us yet 🙂

    1. Oh Lisa, my heart goes out to you. Definitely rest now because when the little one comes… yeah, I’m not even going to say it. And yes, really, there’s no rush, nowhere to be except exactly where you are. When you’re ready, the right place will appear. Envisioning you and Stella sleeping peacefully in the middle of the day….

  7. Whoo-boy. I know this one too. Glad it passed for you quickly.
    Still having trouble quieting my head and distilling my thoughts down to what is necessary, not ‘filler’ for busy multi-taskers. I always look forward to hearing from you, but yes, this one particularly hit home. Thank you!

  8. I know what you mean about needing to work but your body says no, you need to rest! I have been battling a respiratory problem for about 3 months without the doctors being able to figure out how to treat it and still working and trying to get done everything I need to do. But an ambulance ride to the hospital 2 days ago because I couldn’t breath made me realize I shouldn’t feel guilty because I am taking care of myself when I rest when I need to.

  9. I know! I have a hard time just sitting on the couch reading a book or staring at the ceiling because I feel like I need to DO something all the time. Time to be a human being, not a human doing. I hereby dedicate this weekend to laziness aka pure, non-striving being. Thanks Ms. Mindbody!

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