When I was a teenager, I volunteered with my church. I was a religious teacher to young kids and helped during mass. Life was pretty busy, with school and my part time job too. I was tired. Or so I thought.
When chatting with my religious leader one day, I mentioned how tired I was at the time. She looked at me and smiled. Her next statement to me was spoken slowly, deliberately and with love. She told me that she had once heard that we create more exhaustion for ourselves by thinking about how tired we are. We often wake up thinking about how little sleep we got or how many times we woke up or the daunting day ahead. It’s phrases like this that cause us to focus immediately on how tired we are versus waking up and simply beginning our day. Or waking up and telling ourselves that we are not, in fact, tired but alive and full of life. Mind over matter, perhaps?
I thought about that a lot over the following weeks and implemented the thought each morning. While I noticed a difference, life happens and the morning thought became less frequent for me. The message itself has always remained with me though and I find myself remembering that moment, sitting across the dark wooden desk from her, in her office on the second floor, the creaky chair underneath me and the smell that is distinctly church filling my nose. The sweet smile on her face, the one that was genuine and kind and always reached her eyes.
I never thought I’d been so tired the first weeks of having a newborn. I never thought I’d been so tired the days after chemo. I never thought I’d been so tired the last few weeks of work, life and radiation.
Yesterday, and again today, are different. I woke up feeling good. Was I tired? Yes. Did I enjoy an afternoon coffee? Sure did. But I didn’t feel the utter exhaustion of the last few weeks. I was told the fatigue would last a few weeks and I’m sure to some degree that it will. And I’m sure herceptin will wear me out like it normally does. But today I feel good. I feel slightly less tired. I feel slightly less fatigued, both in my body and my soul. I feel a little more free.
Perhaps it really is simply mind over matter.