Fitness Countdown 5: Miracles Do Happen!

Mar 15, 2008

Last week’s weigh-in: 141 lbs.

This week’s weigh-in: 135 lbs.!!! YESSSS!!!

You know that saying about life giving you lemons, and you, ever optimistic and resilient, going on to make lemonade with them?

Well, first of all, let me just say that I can hardly claim credit for the remarkable weight loss described above (and verifiable through the Butler County Health Department). My “lemons” came in the form of that horrid viral, flu-like scourge that’s been sweeping the land for the past few weeks. I was flattened for about a week myself, with bone-piercing chills, fever, cough, headache, muscle pain…not to mention those fleeting mental images of the planet’s craggy surface during prehistoric times, and of the scaly, lumbering reptiles that may even currently—but secretly—be burrowing around throughout Middle Earth. (Am I the only one who gets that, when consumed with fever? I’ll bet you hope so.)

Perhaps not surprisingly, under these disturbing conditions, the body itself admonished me not to eat at all, frankly warning that it would violently reject anything taken in at the time. So I took in nothing during the first full day of illness, strangely happy, even in my delirium, to have been cautioned so clearly without words…and to have understood.

Isn’t that something? Given the often hectic nature of my daily round, I had thought myself too busy to summon the periodic silence that’s key to caring for the body with full attention. Amazingly, the silence saw fit to seek me out instead, laying me flat out for days, maybe to ensure I got the point. I tried to listen carefully and respond well—to be a good friend, for a change, to this stricken, yet extraordinarily resourceful form housing both The Little Wolf and me.

That would be where the choice to “make lemonade” came in.

On the second afternoon, the fever waned, and with it, all visions of dinosaurs and the like. I was moved to begin drinking orange juice, and continued through the third day (a gallon in total—the “low acid” variety). After that, the body advised me it would accept a bit of solid food, but no more. So I had a bowl of vegetable-and-noodle soup, feeling no need to go happy on the idea beyond that. I supplemented it only with more orange juice (another half gallon—and hey, it doesn’t really seem like that much when you’re just lying about sipping it for 16 hours straight).

Over the next few days I ate modestly, and without craving, as the body—in its attempt to repair itself fully—continued to override the machinations of a frustrated Little Wolf. I reveled in the fact that I had been given a precious little season to enjoy, even in sickness, without her throwing our weight around. She couldn’t get to me, to force or to persuade; much more pressing operations were underway, and these would not brook interruption for tantrums, or for anything else.

I was grateful for so much in those sometimes-difficult days.  My gratitude led me, at long last, back to more regular meditation and prayer; to more silence for these pursuits. And to my surprise and delight, it led me back outdoors once I had regained my strength; I have been walking just over 3 miles daily for almost a week now!

I was shocked to learn how much weight I had lost on my peculiar little viral sojourn in the wilderness; I know—as you know—that my own efforts have not given me the edge in my Lenten pursuit of a new way of living and seeing. Indeed, in the long-run, if there is to be a victory, a basic transformation in how I approach the care of this human form, that victory will not be mine alone—and I will not mourn the fact for a moment.

Rather, I will continue to draw on my recent experience of leaving this realm in the silence and power of meditation and prayer. I will continue to celebrate returning to this realm as a being reborn, newly-equipped to act in accordance with my sounder nature, and not as a dull slave to an imperfect past. I will continue to leave, so that heart and mind might remain fertile ground for the kind of change that strengthens and heals, in all ways.

I will fail in this, at times, but will endeavor to make failure exceptional, and not part of the fabric of routine.

Holy Week begins this Sunday, Palm Sunday. I shall count and re-count my Lenten blessings as the week progresses. And I shall, of course, abide in the awareness that the promise of a new beginning lies at the very heart of the sacred Easter season to come.


Closing thoughts on this whirlwind adventure of a Lenten experience next week!