The Good Work of Being Sick

I have a real hard time being sick.
Outside of the feeling bad part,
which of course I don't like and can get annoying,
I just have a hard time slowing down
to let my body rest and heal.

You see, I'm a do-er. A worker bee. A project addict.
And you can be sure that if I'm not working,
I'm reading, learning, writing, cooking, planning, thinking, arting, doing doing doing doing doing...

Of course, the irony is that this is what I'm always telling friends, patients, clients...
"slow down"   "self-care"   "listen to your body"   "do no-thing"   "rest is so important to healing"...

and, I'm a nurse... so I know this...
I'm just used to being on the advising, nurturing side of sick and caregiving,
telling others that some of their greatest truths will come to light
when they just listen to their bodies.
Pretty wise of me, right?

So when it comes to a week like this one,
I have a hard time.
And I get a little stubborn.
Sick, quiet time makes me antsy, I start to feel a little vulnerable...
even though I *know* it is part of the greater plan as well.

I'll sneak in new tasks or activities to do, that I wouldn't normally do,
as if that doesn't count or something...
just to avoid the endless hours of laying around that my body wants.

But today, my hubs said that I needed to just do nothing, veg out, watch movies,
sleep, stay parked on the couch, maybe do a drawing.

So I gave in some, and let myself sink into a slow day of recovery
and decided to take a crack at a portrait with some oil pastels, just for kicks.
It had been a long time...

I had a lot of fun pushing color around for this one.
The best part is that as I sat down to doodle her out, I decided to flip on netflix and put a documentary on... the first one to pop up, as if in sync with my intention, was on Alice Neel , a portrait artist of the 20th century.
She was amazing. Completely utterly devoted to painting, and to capturing the uniqueness of her subjects within the portraits. She lived a life of poverty and little recognition until the end... and she captured the most beautiful expressions, rawness and vulnerability in her portraits. Her devotion to her work was so strong she kept right on working until she died when she was 85, despite illness.
Then, I pressed play on another documentary - this time about Matisse, his relationship with a nun, and what he considered to be his greatest work. It's called A Model for Matisse: The Story of the Vence Chapel.

Have you heard of this, or seen it??? The documentary was wonderful... truly a love story of the purest kind, though Sister Jacques-Marie preferred to refer to their relationship as one of deep gratitude and affection.

When drawing figures in the plans for the chapel, she asked why he did so many,
and he told her he had to draw a subject over and over with his eyes closed 
until he felt he possessed it inside of him. *swoon*

When asked if he believed in God, he replied, "Yes, when I work." ((((yes))))

Matisse spent the very last years of his life creating this chapel, his final artwork,
a place of aesthetic beauty and holy worship.

An ultimate display of both sacred altar and artistic installation.
This speaks to me so deeply.

And the chapel...

So, though I do believe I work too much most of the time,
and finding balance is a work-in-progress (the irony of that phrase is not beyond me either!),
I am beginning to be able to see with greater clarity
the work that is good work, for me,
for my connection to Creative Source,
the work that speaks to my soul
and guides my energy.

And to differentiate this from the less important tasks of my life
that can be put aside when my body needs a true rest.

And I feel better...