The conjunctivitis that developed in my eye, was a body-mind connection wake-up call to tell me that I wasn't seeing straight!
Dis-ease prevention is all about getting to truly know all aspects of ourselves and therefore, getting to know our bodies. Healing of your physical body, your mental state and your spiritual state requires that you turn inward for clarity. The body is a reflection of ourselves. It has been said that our biology is our biography! The Body Window often delivers to us powerful messages about our inner condition, if we only listen.
My conjunctivitis was signaling to me…
‘March on. Do not tarry. To go forward is to move toward perfection. March on, and fear not the thorns, or the sharp stones on life's path.’ ~ Kalil Gibran
While I want to believe in the quote above, I worry about its meaning for all circumstances. In the one case I want to be moving forward. I want to be continually improving my surroundings and myself. Forward movement is important. In fact it is certain that we must move forward. Time itself dictates it so we might as well make the best of it.
In the other case, there is a time to reflect, to turn inward and to assimilate all that is or was. The day, in which I got a case of conjunctivitis, otherwise commonly known as “pink eye,” was such a time.
Conjunctivitis is painful. The lining of the eye, called the “conjunctiva” and the lining of the eyelids become red, swollen, itchy, irritated and perhaps exudes yellowish drainage. Hence, the common term, “pink eye.”
Storm over Bristlecone Pines, Mount Goliath, Colorado
I woke up one morning with a pink eye, and it felt like I may have scratched the eyeball somehow during my sleep. In the inner corner of my effected left eye, it felt like there was a large grain of sand in there, just scratching away at my eyeball. Surprisingly, the outer eye conjunctiva wasn’t all that red, just the inner part, towards my nose.
I knew that most cases of conjunctivitis are due to a virus. No antibiotic eye drops would make much of a difference if this were true. I had no way of knowing what was the cause of my pink eye.
An allergen or other irritants can also cause conjunctivitis. As far as I knew, I wasn’t exposed to any chemicals or other irritants and I have no know allergies. The only possibility was an eye infection due to a virus or bacteria.
I researched pink eye on the Internet and read that if the condition doesn’t resolve itself in 3-4 days, regardless of the cause, that one should seek a physician’s care. I decided to wait it out.
I took Ibuprofen for the pain in my eye. My eye pain seemed to morph into a headache by the end of the day and the anti-inflammatory helped.
I put a patch over my eye to keep it closed. This served a dual purpose. I found that my left pink eye was sensitive to light, and by keeping it closed, my eye felt better. I also found that with a closed eye, I wouldn’t blink, causing that ugly scratching feeling.
Warm compresses on my left eye, really seemed to soothe the eye. But my eyelids did get rather swollen at times, so I switched to cold compresses when that happened, which reduced the swelling. The cold also helped reduce the pain. I would even alternate between warm and cold.
I went to the drugstore and bought some over-the-counter eye drops, that were formulated to ease irritation and redness. I am not sure these helped at all.
Mostly, I decided that I would just cocoon for a few days and see what happened. This was all a perfect excuse to have some down time. I had few obligations and no work scheduled for a few days. I filled my two days with napping, reading, meditating and reflecting.
By the 4th day, my pink eye was decidedly better. By the 5th day, it was all but gone. Just as the Internet promised, it resolved on its own in 4-7 days.
Dr Christiane Northrup, a beloved holistic doctor for women, in her book, Women's Bodies Women's Wisdom states that "illness is the only form of mediation that Americans practice." This is so true! She is right on the money, although it is hard to accept that in light of my eye infection.
I am one who meditates regularly, but as is true of most everyone, sometimes life gets the better of me. As I reflected on my conjunctivitis, I had to ask myself, to what purpose does my pink eye serve??
My last weeks have been filled with changes. I attended an intense yoga teacher training and became a registered yoga teacher. The holidays had just finished. My mother passed away. It was the New Year. Pressure for goals and resolutions whirled through my head.
I had already started to teach yoga successfully to my family and friends. I was scheduled to teach yoga twice a week for my very large apartment complex. I wanted to quit my traditional nursing job. I was planning to volunteer at Yoga for the People, a non-profit organization in Denver, Colorado, serving the underprivileged. I was looking for a yoga therapy training, to continue my yoga for healing focus.
Need I say more?? Did I have enough swirling through my head?
I knew in my head that these goals represented where my heart wanted to go. Through all the busyness, I felt a certain peace. However, underneath it all, my intuition was painting a different picture. I felt in my heart, that despite all these lovely aspirations, and the desire to “march forward” as I quoted from Kalil Gibran, I was afraid. I was afraid to look forward. It was all moving too fast!
Oh my, I just said it! While my head was planning all the activity, my heart was saying, “Wait a minute! And just how do you feel about all this??” And the truth is told ~ the changes were fearful to me.
As my husband said, it all came too fast, and I “couldn’t see straight!” Of course, he was right.
It is interesting to me that my left eye was affected. The right side of the brain controls the left eye. Ah indeed, that right – feeling, dreaming, creative, quiet, feminine, intuitive – brain. I should have known! My head, once again, got ahead of my heart. (What a pun!)
My conjunctivitis was telling my story. My left eye was closing so that it could process, absorb, feel and be present to what had just occurred in my life. I couldn't see straight ahead and needed to slow down.
That wonderful, left eye, that painful pink eye! I blessed my left, pink eye with love! I thanked it for its message. I told my conjunctivitis that I got it! I got its message.
I decided to honor my pink eye and process for a while. I needed the cocooning for a while. I needed to lay low and absorb all that was whirling around and within me.
I needed to really feel all that was happening to me. I needed to honor the process and not move forward so fast or look so far into the future. I have always found that when I slow it down, that looking forward is less fearful. Small steps and small movements make the process less overwhelming. It is my nature to want to digest it all too fast.
Moonset at Sunrise, Sangre de Cristo Mountains, Colorado
Fortunately for me, my eye infection was a small slap in the face, a mere blip in the line of my life.
It is my belief that we can “meditate” in the form of illness for only so long. At some point in time we must listen to our body’s message, mobilize and make a change. We must eventually move forward toward a more healthy way of being.
All in all, my conclusion is encompassed in the following quote.
‘We tend to be unhappy when it seems that we are blocking ourselves from moving forward.’ ~ Author unknown
Our happiness does dictate that we move forward, that we have a goal, a reason for living, a purpose, a passion. Without that we become stuck. Without a purpose we will not get out of bed in the morning. Without a reason we become unhappy, ill and bitter. Disease Prevention demands that we keep moving. Our souls are all longing for connectedness. Our souls are all longing for a purpose and to be whole.
May you never have to suffer the pain of conjunctivitis or any other illness for that matter. May you always listen to your own body’s messages and create health and healing in your life! Try not to let your head get ahead of your heart!