Being sick is never a fun experience, but it can be an eye opening one. This past week I came down with a doozy of a cold. I had it all: headache, sore throat, high fever, body aches, runny nose, you name it! After spending 5 of the last 6 days wallowing in my own misery, now that I have nearly regained normal use of my senses I am once again able to truly appreciate the beauty and privilege of a fully healthy body. Being able to take a deep breath through my nose without restriction or immediately coughing is a truly relaxing and peaceful experience. Standing up to go to the bathroom after laying on the couch without my head feeling like it is being bombarded by Thor’s hammer is a liberating relief. Waking up in the morning feeling energized and refreshed is an exciting comparison to the previous morning which involved restlessness accompanied by my superman onesie being completely drenched in the sweat brought on by a 102 fever. All of this is to say that the lack of sickness (simply being back to my usual self) has brought a very high level of joy to my life.
I find this experience to be representative of many things in life. The old saying “you don’t know what you got till it’s gone” is so very true and unfortunately dismissed as “cliché” far too often. Learning to appreciate what you have in this very moment is the most powerful force in the world to achieving lasting happiness and contentment. Take a minute right now to stop reading and seriously think of all the amazing things you have to be happy for. If you are reading this, I can think of a few things that probably apply to you:
- You can see
- You can read
- You can breath
- You’re alive
- You have access to the internet
- And endless more….
These are all things that you have access to and use every day but probably rarely think about how absolutely incredible each of them actually are! Let’s take some time to really THINK about how AMAZING the process of simply being able to “see” something is:
Light from the Sun (a giant nuclear explosion) travels almost 95 MILLION miles to our planet, bounces off whatever is in front of you and then comes flying into your eye. That light then bends and is directed into the pupil (which gets larger and smaller as needed). Next the light travels through a lens that focuses the light and projects it onto our retina which has magical cells that convert light into electrical signals which then travel on a highway of about 1 MILLION nerve fibers to your brain.
Now let’s acknowledge how there are many people in this world who go on living their lives without this amazing magic trick that so many of us seem to take for granted.
Here’s another trick: Try to spend just 5 minutes out of your day today with your eyes closed (doesn’t count if you’re sleeping!!). And don’t just sit there when you do it either, actually try to go about your life without your sight and see how happy you are when you open your eyes back up.
Our existence is one of contrast. Without evil, we wouldn’t so easily recognize good; without white, there could be no black; and without sorrow, we can’t appreciate happiness.
All things that you have to be thankful for can be found missing at any moment, the theoretical meteor could hit earth at any time. You could wake up tomorrow with a scratch in your throat and long for the joy of having an unimpeded breathing tube; you could go to your car on the way to work and find it no longer starts; every single thing you do today can be an example of something to be grateful for when you think of what life would be like without it.
My recommendation to you is to frequently STOP, and just realize how absolutely amazing the simple things in life are. You only exist in this reality for a short amount of time so you shouldn’t spend all of it thinking about things that already happened or may / may not happen in the future. You’re in a matrix of sensory majesty at all times, don’t be afraid to stop your thoughts so you can experience it every once in a while.