I am fifteen…
Feeling ill makes me aware that as humans we are fragile. I might have the flu. My stomach hurts and nose is running. I have a cough and am so tired.
I’m staying home from school to nurture myself. I stay in bed, rest, read, watch TV and eat soup. I comfort and lovingly nurture my human body. I feel vulnerable being in my human body today.
I enjoy watching soap operas, ‘Another World’, is my favorite. I can watch it all summer long. Then go back to school until Thanksgiving, watch it again and have not missed a thing. But it’s still fun to watch soap operas even if they move as slow as molasses. I like to look at what the actresses are wearing and see how they’re doing their hair.
It’s fun to be home from school even though I do not feel well. I can think, reflect, breathe and ponder all sorts of things about myself and the world. I wonder, does my mind control my body or does my body control my mind? When my body does not feel good, it affects how my mind works. It affects the way I feel and think about everything. Today even if I had a wonderful outfit like the girls on the soap opera and a make-up artist had done my face, I would still feel awful. If I had everything in the world that I wanted right now, I would still feel bad.
I ponder, does my body control me or do I control my body? It sure seems as if today, it’s controlling me. This cold, cough and flu will pass. This sick tired feeling will be gone in a few days. I’ll be feeling good again soon. I’ll be back in school, attending ballet class and seeing my friends. But these days of bed and cuddling are enjoyable. Perhaps, illness is God’s way of saying be still, slow down, think and come into self, while contemplating your humanness and the frailty of being human.
I’m getting extra attention from the housekeeper and even my mother and my father. Extra attention feels good. I look forward to the time when I’ll have a house of my own and can stay at home all day doing what I really want to do.
Snuggling down under my covers, pulling the comforter up around my chin, I am me and happily to myself. It feels so good. Even though I’m not at school learning, I am accomplishing lots. Learning and figuring things out about myself and the world. I do lots of thinking when I’m home sick. Time to think on your own is just as important as going to school and learning whatever they’re teaching. I like to read books they don’t even talk about at school. I like to read books by John Steinbeck. None of my teachers have ever mentioned him and he’s one of my favorite authors. School doesn’t teach me many things that I want to learn. Perhaps at times, school can be an interruption to education. It feels great to be learning on my own. I love to learn on my own.
As a child I was ill much of the time. From the age of twelve until about the age of fifteen, I had an abundance of colds, respiratory problems and flu symptoms. Perhaps I became ill to avoid going to school. I withdrew to avoid facing more feelings of not being good enough while feeling bored. This may not have been a conscious decision, but it is how it manifested itself in my body.
I stayed home from school lots, so I could be to myself and that time benefited me greatly. I spent much time thinking. I did not feel that I fit into school. I was bored and felt uncomfortable there. My experiences with the school system were, for the majority of the time, negative. I was glad to be out of the school system. I feel that most of my learning, growth and awareness happened separate from what we call our ‘educational system’. My true talents and abilities were not discovered, developed or enhanced by this system. Actually, the schools and teachers that I experienced contributed to my insecurity and the feeling that I did not fit into the world. They also made me think learning was drudgery, when on my own I think learning is exciting.
If mother mentioned that her decorator was going to be at our house the next day, the next morning, I woke up with a stomach ache. I loved to follow our interior designer around the house asking her question after question. She was interesting and taught me much. I eventually worked in the interior design field.
My creativity was not developed by the school system. I did not fit in and felt left out. I believe the purpose of education along with teaching the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic is to open up an individual to their unique gifts and talents – to teach them to think, reason and to be inquisitive. I felt stress while in the classrooms by the way the teachers interacted with me. Therefore my body and mind were in ‘shut down’ mode. I suffered different levels of trauma most every day that I was at school. I was trying to survive, forget trying to enjoy the experience of learning. My brain was operating at half-mast most of the time I was there. When I was in school, I felt like I was in a kind of prison. Life and colors were dimmed. The world appeared gray. I most always hated being there.
When I was away from the school atmosphere and away from my parents, I could learn, think, read and enjoy doing so. When alone, I was out of stress and could explore and stretch my mind. I was able to read, ponder and work on my school projects more effectively. I read constantly. I loved to read and would have book after book beside my bed.
During a prolonged illness, a history teacher gave me homework on chapters with papers to write. I loved working at home. I put so much energy, effort and pleasure into this project. I was sincerely learning the information and excited about what I was learning. Sitting home alone in my room, I worked diligently on this project. Away from the school environment and able to be alone during the day, where it was quiet and peaceful, I could learn quickly and enjoy the process.
After I completed the project, handed it in and the teacher reviewed it, he was very pleased. He told my parents that I had done excellent work and that I was a very intelligent student. Now, if I would only apply myself at school. Therefore, for all my hard work, what I got was in trouble by my parents because I did not apply myself at school. I was blamed for not fitting in.
No one ever looked at themselves or the almighty educational system. It never occurred to anyone that the school was the problem and not me. How did we get so in entrenched in the idea that people needed to fit into some system and then when they don’t, it is their fault and not the system created?
A person is more open and receptive when they are relaxed and comfortable in their environment. The educational system might want to focus on this concept. A happy and relaxed student will be open to learning and developing their talents and skills. It might be well advised to incorporate into the school curriculum ways to teach individuals how to relax, to enjoy learning and about real life. Learning is fun and should be experienced as such. Perhaps classes about tools to lead the individual to emotional peace are just as important as anything else they are taught.
Education is not just about making children fit into a ‘system’ or to obey ‘teacher’s rules’. It is for the development of the individual as unique. Each one of us has incredible talents and skills just waiting to be unleashed. I understand that learning discipline, arriving on time, and following rules are part of learning.
Freedom equals creativity – control stifles creativity. Much of the time, our most talented pupils have their uniqueness delayed or even thwarted all together by the system that we now have in place.
Many individuals who have created what has given the most to our world did not fit into our school system. Some of our most talented and brilliant – our inventors and artists were labeled ‘learning disabled’ by the standards of the system we have created. So perhaps, it is time to truly recognize that our systems in the world need to be as ever changing as our own beliefs about ourselves need to be.
Being different is great. Individuality is what it’s all about.
Sometimes an illness is far more than just healing the body. It is for healing and freeing the mind to create the time and space to relax, think, change and grow.
The educational system should be a place of honoring the individual for being individual. Individual creativity is what will heal the world.
“Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.” Albert Einstein
A book for awareness and healing…