Today is a bad day.
That used to be something that scared the shit out of me. For a long time I did everything in my power to resist days like this.
I have a chronic illness. It started suddenly one day, without warning, about 10 years ago.
It's been an incredible journey and I'm glad to say that most of my days now are good ones. Not great ones or even normal ones, but good ones, which I'm grateful for.
But not today.
I wondered when I started this writing challenge, how I would feel about writing if I had a bad day.
It can be really difficult to do anything other than try to survive and take it moment by moment. To mentally leave my body and wait for it to be over or become bearable again.
But we're all suffering. That's what it means to be human. The events in DC today were just another example of that. We're all suffering and trying to find a way out.
One thing my illness has shown me is that the more I resist my suffering, the more it comes for me. Or maybe it's the other way around, that my resistance causes the suffering.
The more desperately I cling to control and my ideas of how things ought to be, the more the universe shows me something else.
It's quite beautiful actually.
We as humans think we need to have it all figured out, to lay out the plan for our lives and make sure we have all our ducks in a row. But our imaginations are so much smaller than the possibilities our world holds for us. The experiences and sensations we could have. The lessons we can learn if we embrace them.
Suffering gives life its color. Beauty and joy only exist as a comparison after all. If we were always happy or always felt good, would we even see it that way? Would we even realize what we had or simply keep looking for something better?
I used to be an athlete. I didn't realize what an amazing and miraculous work of art my body was until it stopped functioning well.
But now my life has lots of color.
My bad days have given me a deep awareness of my physical self. I have spent countless hours where all I could manage was to simply exist, which has helped me to forge a closeness with myself that I could never know before.
Suffering feels as though it slows down time. Where the world feels like it's moving in slow motion and every sense is heightened.
I recently watched the movie Soul. In one part a character is experiencing life for the first time on Earth and is captivated by small things like a leaf drifting down through the wind or the sunlight on their skin.
My suffering has given me this gift. To find joy in seemingly insignificant moments.
The warmth of the sun on my face.
The coolness of fresh rain.
The taste of a tiny berry.
The softness of my dog's fur.
The comfort of a heavy blanket.
Most people experience these things and take them for granted. They simply slip by without noticing. Sometimes I do too, but less and less.
I cherish these moments and realize that because of my suffering I experience more beauty in my life than most. It's all around me everyday and for now, that's good enough.