Of Solar Flares and Other Things I Can’t Control

Chronic illness demands a lot from you. It demands nearly round the clock attention, a humming background of vigilance all day, every day. On the surface it may appear that you are baking a cake, or watching a TV show, or playing a board game. Deeper down you are noticing, noticing, noticing. Is this symptom new? Is this symptom a problem? Did I do something wrong? Do I need to adjust what I am doing now, or my plans for the week, or my plans for the rest of my life? Should I trust this bad day is temporary? Should I limit my dreams for my future so that I am not perpetually discontented with what I have? Should I keep dreaming because hope makes me happy? Do I need to act now, right now, right this very minute? Or do I have time to wait?

Should I let my noticing be more like meditation, letting myself feel, acknowledging the fear and anxiety and sadness as it moves through me and then away? Letting it float in and out as it will without trying to force happiness in and force unhappiness out? Should I cultivate peacefulness and patience in the face of uncertainty? Should I take a deep breath and also acknowledge how difficult that in itself can be?

Or should I fight? Should I punch and dig and scrounge and battle and end up muddied and exhausted but victorious?

Earlier in the week it felt as if I was being shocked all over, from thinnest top layer of skin, to deep within my muscles, to my bones. The shocks moved and traveled and paused and started again with an inconsistency that was close to maddening. It happens often. Not every day, but often enough.

The only force inside or outside of myself that seems to correlate with this sensation, the electrical shocks, the hive full of bees stinging, the sharp prickles and stabbings, seems to be solar storms. I have tracked food and activities and mood, the state of relationships with my children and my husband and creator forces, barometer graphs and humidity charts and political climate. When balls of gas suddenly explode from the sun, hurling energy towards earth that can disrupt radio towers and satellites, I feel this particular symptom.

So, should I dismiss this correlation as silly? Instead of scouring the heavens for answers, should I only scour the earth? Do I take all the energy I have and use it in looking for a different reason why, a different drug for relief, a different cause behind this debilitation? Do I notice and then do I fight? Should I act on my behalf, doing something, anything to try to make this better?

Or do I accept the energy coming in and out of my body, do I feel it without judging the waves of pain that come at irregular intervals, do I sit with as much calm as I can?

I am fairly certain that you cannot fight the sun.

Not without burning yourself up into a crisp.

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