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Listening To My Body’s Calls In Flares and Relapses

“I am looking after myself and good things are coming.”

I created this meditation “A Call To Rest” particularly for my community of people with MS. I hope it can be an ally to those who are experiencing a flare, exacerbation or relapse that is guiding them into a resting state, so that they might receive the nourishment of that rest with a sense of responding to an invitation for healing and renewal, rather than some kind of punishment.

The meditation uses the affirmation “I am looking after myself and good things are coming” and is intended as a meditation to lie down with as you surrender to the call to rest and recover.

I know from experience that when we have a flare, we can meet a whole variety of feelings and some of those are challenging ones. I know that especially in my early years with MS, having to take time off to rest – or even lying down for a fatigue-induced nap – felt as though I were opting out of life.  I felt conflicted and often resentful. I worried that I might sleep away my life, fail to achieve all I was capable of or miss out on important experiences in the outside world.

If you have these thoughts and feelings, know that you are not alone. Even when we know that we are receiving those calls to rest and recover from a flare, it is natural to feel conflicted.  Maybe we feel guilty because there are things we have to show up for in the outer world. Maybe we feel pressure. Or maybe we feel discouraged, as if life has abandoned us in some way and all the things we hoped to do, we won’t be able to.

One of the most powerful gifts of meditation is the way it creates some time and space for us to shift difficult feelings and align more with what is positive and life-affirming. In this meditation, I wanted to create space for you to feel that you can gradually let go of those feelings that are perhaps creating resistance and getting between you and nourishing and nurturing rest. The meditation is full of reminders that taking this rest will powerfully promote your healing and bring you back into the fullness of life with a more vivid presence.

“I am looking after myself and good things are coming”

The call to rest is an intelligent impulse from our body asking us to take some time for self-healing, recovery and renewal.  It is an invitation to invite more healing into our nervous system.

We are being called to gather into ourselves, to contain our energy for a while, rather than extend it out.  Deep rest gives us a chance to grow our energy back and to heal those parts of us that are asking for healing and to nourish those parts that are asking to be nourished.  

We are being asked to let world spin on its own for a while without ourselves having to extend or effort or over-engage.

We are invited to draw a sacred circle around ourselves and just allow ourselves to fall into rest and breathe there;  to give ourselves whatever we need to feel encouraged, secure and nourished.

It is a trustworthy call. 

Everybody in their lives, whether people with a medical condition or not, has a feeling sometimes of being on a kind of emergency or urgency button – that we have to do, do, do.  We finish one task, we have to start the next, and somehow if we stop all this doing and we do nothing at all , everything will fall apart like a house of cards collapsing. Sometimes it as if we think it is our little finger that is having to hold the entire world up.  And that if we put our finger down, the whole world will stop spinning.

As compelling as this feeling can be, it isn’t representing what is true.

How many times have people you’ve known had something happen them – maybe they’ve broken a limb or got the flu or something has happened in their personal lives they’ve had to attend to or, God forbid, they’ve taken a vacation…and they’ve realised that without them in fact the world rallies round, things get done. The world indeed continues to spin without them – that ancient world and planet we all live on which has been spinning and spinning since way before our time and even before humans were on the planet. 

“I am looking after myself and good things are coming”

One of the effects of MS to which I personally struggled to adapt for a long time was the quick fade, the sudden and total energy drain. It takes no prisoners. There is often no warning. It’s 100 to 0 in seconds. We hit the wall that fast. And it is so all or nothing. Like a super hero taking off their cape, like Delilah giving Samson a haircut, all your power seems to be  gone. All your your abilities have run away. You can’t “soldier on”. There is no “on”. 

But then I learned the magic.

I started to respond to all these calls from my body the way it was, not from an old non-MS body or a body I wished I had. I saw how the calls were coming not as a punishment but a priceless lesson. 

Deep, deep inside every one of us, is an inner nurturer, a caretaker who has all our best interests at heart, whose whole job is to look after us and allow us to thrive.  Who knows what we need in every moment and tuning into that support is a magical thing, but the first thing we have to do, is love and trust that part of us and love and trust the healing process so we can then collaborate with it, rather than working against it, so we are not pushing through when we are supposed to be resting up. 

Then, we are not adding to the stress on our system by giving ourselves all kind of doubt and self doubt  when in fact we could be welcoming all these openings into rest, nourishment and healing.

Here’s the thing. Every single person alive has limits to their sacred energy. All of us are meant to use our energy wisely and to support the things we deem worthwhile: the things that are meaningful to us. 

To prioritise, to turn away from what is a time-waster, to boundary-fence our time and choose our interactions is mastery-level action.

My illness more than anything, has encouraged me to do what is valuable in my heart’s assessment and not someone else’s opinion or rule.

I use relapses and flares to enrich my way of living .  When I come back from each relapse, I find myself refining the architecture of my time and space more deeply, I find myself doing things I’ve been putting off for too long and not doing other things that have been too long draining me  - and I feel so gloriously pleased with my choices.

Our energy is sacred. Our bodies remind us. They show us how to use it wisely. Because of my MS the important things get done and I have overcome a previous and tenacious  tendency towards perfectionism and its side-kick, procrastination.

As you lay down with this meditation, I invite you to welcome this special time and the sense that “I am looking after myself and good things are coming” with a big exhalation of breath.  Let’s make these times sacred for ourselves. When we hear this inner call,  the more we can hold this healing space for ourselves as sacred and precious, the more valuable it will be.  We are collaborating with our body’s rest and natural repair processes.

We are not just lying down in bed – we are entering a healing room. 

This is a call worth embracing.

A Call To Rest - Recovery Meditation

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