The more we just expect and rely on something to be there, to happen, to work, the bigger the repercussions when it does not. We base our beliefs and our lives around these truths. We base our routines, our habits and our lives on these fundamental assumptions. We do so many things we would never dream of doing if we did not trust these basic truths.
I was living in my hometown when a significant earthquake struck. It devastated so much of our city. The basic premise that the ground was still had been shaken to its core. This is one of the most basic principles of life. The ground is stable is the foundation for so much of our society. Pipes in the ground and buildings on top, shaken and smashed to pieces. The hurt to people and property, the disruption and pain caused, the cost and adjustment to everyday life were huge. It left mental scars and a deep mistrust of all things. I mean if we could not trust that core belief then what could we believe in.
Simple acts we took for granted were tainted with one eye constantly on heavy or potentially falling objects above you and safe places to dash to if another shake came along. Life was a series of short moments, scanning new spaces for safe places and new risks.
Putting this into anatomical terms, we have so many subconscious mechanisms that we believe should just work. We do not give these a second thought or recognition. These are not the small things like my muscles being sore after a run. This is only frustrating because I might have to wait a day or two for them to heal. I mean we should marvel at bodies actual ability to heal in the first place. What if that stopped. Every scratch a permanent mark. A broken leg, forever.
These seldom acknowledged systems and processes are the real miracles to behold. We rely on them and just accept them as truth. We only appreciate them when they have been taken from us and then again when we return to “normal”. Like having a cold, with joints aching, shivering and sleeping a lot. Then again after, when we can move easily and feel like we have so much energy.
My experience recently was after a 3 month round of antibiotics for my skin. It had no noticeable impact when I was on them but boy did I when I came off them. Abdominal pain and my bowels shut down on me for about two weeks. Excreting waste is one of those fundamental understandings. Stuff goes in one end, we process it and take the goodies the body needs, then it goes out the other. But what happens when it doesn’t. We know roughly how often we need to go and we don’t think about it much more than that.
When my bowels shut down on me I lasted several days before being iI was in so much pain I knew this wasn’t right. The GP (local doctor) recognised it was the antibiotics and prescribed Laxsol to get me going again. This put me in a situation of really not trusting my body as I swung from constipation to diarrhoea. I couldn’t trust it was going to come out and I couldn’t trust I was going to stay in. Abdominal pains were a very confusing time. Hours spent on the toilet unsure and with no result or being caught out and having to rush quickly. Life became a series of short sprints, constantly scanning for the nearest toilet and remembering where the last one was, just in case.
Our bodies, our world, our lives are miraculous things. It is too overwhelming if we consider everything tiny that is going on at any moment. To allow space to focus on the important things, like a sabre tooth tiger or our next meal, our mind parks certain truths as constant. We need to be mindful that these are only mental constructs and sometimes the world, our bodies, our lives have other ideas. At other times we live with our own constants that are different from the rest.
A personal example of this for me is that others can go for a swim or take a shower with no second thought. The water will just bead right off and dry. The skin will be supple and protect them from anything outside. For me, I think about how long I need to allow to get ready again afterwards and it fills me with dread to go without my moisturiser. I am scared of drying out, making movement painful and revealing to the world my flakey, dry, non-moisturised appearance I work so hard to hide.
I am in the middle of a flare-up. Currently, I feel as if I am on a knife edge of falling into a really bad flare up or coming up the other side and being back to “normal” in a day or two. It is scary how much I miss “normal” feeling skin. It is also scary how quickly I forget to appreciate “normal” feeling skin (or as close as I get) when it returns for a few days. I must remember these moments though, and also believe it is just around the corner again.
So appreciate the small things, the miracles between moments and spaces, because they are not actually the small things. They are the big things, the mortar that makes everything work. Please also be mindful that everybody has their own version of constants, and others may be different from your own.
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