Last January I developed pneumonia and it took me months to recover. Right now it is late summer and still strength and energy are returning, and many days for me are quiet, easy and slow. I am honoring what my body requires. I am also honoring what my spirit requires, as what I experienced while recovering from pneumonia was powerfully spiritual.
When I was sick I was taken away from the world, when previously I had been extremely active in it. I had to let go. Many days in bed with little or no energy forced me into a state of being, rather than doing. There were no days or nights as the concept of time fizzled away and it all began to blur together. It felt like I was dying. I fought it at first, but at some point I had to let go.... let go of all that I wanted to be doing, all the plans I had made, let go of what my life had been before, and maybe even life itself.
There were things I experienced while in this state of being that were profound. Things inside, as well as out. I was curled up within a metaphorical cocoon and felt surrounded by the love of the universe, by the love of my Spirit Helpers, supported, wrapped, and held. It's difficult to describe any other way without going into too much detail, but it was a deeply sacred experience. I was being supported through the process, loved and cared for in a way that requires pure faith and complete abandon to be fully aware of it, and to realize what an incredible blessing I had been given.
Desire to do anything left me, even when I began to very slowly recover some physical strength. It was as if everything I was or thought I should be had been erased, cleared away, cleansed. It was an opportunity to start new. I listened for stirrings within as to what I wanted to do, even things that required little energy. Nothing called to me until a friend told me about a juried art exhibition for self portraits. At a time when I was no longer sure of who I was, I wondered what kind of self portrait would emerge.
In my bed, I painted. Even that exhausted me, so neither of the paintings I did are completely finished. That is okay. "Hibernation: Dreamtime in the Cave" came first, and then "Dreamtime in the Garden" followed. I entered them both into the show and the garden one got in.
When I looked back in my journal I saw I had written that I had had a dream about a Bear Dance, to honor the Spirit of Bear, just before I got sick. Around me at that time, before getting sick, I also saw words or images of Bear in different forms and places. Bear was with me in the cave as I hibernated too. It was all so sacred.
The only other thing I felt like doing was reading and delving more deeply into my spiritual path, the one I was called to. So I did, voraciously.
I've read about other people's periods of initiation and although everyone goes through something totally different, one thing is common: there is a letting go, a being taken away from life for a while that occurs and afterward, we are not the same. Things we thought we were have been cleared away and paths we were headed down may no longer feel right. What we are left with is what is true for us, whatever we discover that to be.
In one way that time was brutal, but in another it was really quite beautiful.
Peace and Blessings,