Inspired by Derek Sivers , this page includes a sample of what I’m thinking about and working on right now. Last updated March 9, 2021.
I’ve been writing about my illness for a while in these updates, and I finally reached the point where I could no longer work through it. I am now taking a leave from working, and hope to have time to heal and convalesce. I initially felt better, which I attributed to a new diet, a new medication and time to rest. However, I’ve had setbacks since then and I’m trying to get to more of a consistent pattern, but my specialist tells me to expect ups and downs and a recovery that takes many months.
I’ve had to put my ordinary life on pause before (like when I had cancer in my late teens and had to drop out of college in my second semester), but this interstitial time still feels strange. It brings with it relief but a sense of defeat, knowing that you could not press on, no matter how much effort you gave to putting mind over matter.
📚 How To Be Sick - Toni Bernhard: In reconciling these conflicted feelings, I’ve found this book to be incredibly helpful. Bernhard writes about dealing with ME/CFS from a Buddhist perspective. She details how her belief system helps her to navigate her illness, pain and limitations. Though I am not a Buddhist, I am familiar with the system of beliefs and even how a portion of those beliefs can be reconciled to a Christian outlook (through books such as Living Buddha, Living Christ by Thich Nhat Hahn). The concept that I have the most difficulty with is anatta or the doctrine of non-self. Buddhists consider this one of the three marks of existence (when you dive into Buddhism, get ready for a lot of lists). They believe there is no permanent self. However, I strongly believe in an imperishable soul. The existence of the soul is central to the Abrahamic faiths (and to Hinduism). Excepting this subject, I think the views in the book are valuable to those of different religious faiths.
Unlike Bernhard, I hope my situation is not essentially permanent. I would like to get back to some sense of normal. Deo volante, this is only intermission.
Like Alan Jacobs, I’m adopting hypomone (used frequently in the New Testament) as my word of the year.
Hypomone ὑπομονή Definition: 1. The capacity to hold out or bear up in the face of difficulty, patience, endurance, fortitude, steadfastness, perseverance. 2. The act or state of patient waiting for someone or something, expectation.