resistance is often futile


When getting sick, our body starts a battle of resistance.
This is a healthy and very beneficial resistance.

At the same time our mind is resisting the idea of not being 100% available.
I don’t know for sure whether this resistance of mind is contributing to a lot of stress
in which case this kind of resistance would contribute to feeling more sick,
or the opposite.

It seems to me that in case of small discomforts, the mind keeps the machine running just a bit harder than usual and that this higher gear enables us to be available as usual, without putting stress on all kinds of agendas. But being 110% available can not be continued for a long time. Perhaps more than 3-5 days could be considered unhealthy? Or is it from day 1?

Whether this consideration for agendas is an act of kindness, is an interesting question. In most cases it is a habit by convention, conforming to society. Often a rule well included in our own personal conventional thinking.

In the case that a small discomfort grows into a full blown disease, the resistance of the body is doing its tasks as good as it can. But the extra stress of convening to agendas and putting 110% will certainly bring our physical resistance to a less than optimal state. When the body signals fever and being tired, we should listen and first spend our free time resting, next stop being considerate to bosses and colleagues, even family, and give the body what it needs. If not, the disease could develop more rapidly and violently.

no surrender

The extra stress of feeling ill but not wanting to surrender makes me a very difficult person to live with. There is an anger, a conflict: agenda against body. The body always wins this battle. But the mind does not want to give up so soon. It does not realize that by resisting, the agendas could be disrupted suddenly and without any escape much more than when listening to the body. Mind does not see that the extra days of no surrender will not be very productive, meetings could probably even become counterproductive because resistance creates frustration and hidden anger. In stead of cancelling two days, it might well become an entire week without being productive.

When not surrendering, I recognize my father in my own self. The grumpy old man who doesn’t want to surrender to the situation, and by doing so forgets to discover the other side of discomfort.

the other side

People are often willing to help when someone is ill, except when there is an angry and grumpy old man trying to resist himself, who criticises whatever others are suggesting might help.

I have recognized this pattern last week in my own self. I have accepted the criticism of my daughters. Perhaps this is a step forward compared to that older angry man I often care for.

Perhaps, …. No, not perhaps, Certainly a change is needed. A change in habits and a change in personal conventions. But will I remember my recent experience and preliminary conclusions when next time I forget to surrender?

interesting questions

How do I recognize the difference between discomfort and disease?

When/Where do I draw the line? When should I stop resisting and favour surrender?

Should I stop resisting from the very beginning and cut back when feeling minor discomforts, and in doing so getting a reputation?

resisting the silent pressure by our societies

When people caught a bronchitis, back in 1925, they could/would take 1 month of leave to recuperate. They took it for their own benefit. The employer often disrupted paying a salary when sick.

These days we are not supposed to interrupt our agenda for “minor problems“. Take a pill and be happily productive. And of course, yes, we can work from home too. Making it even more difficult to take 2 days of rest. Often the employer has to continue paying salaries for a longer time, and always on the assumption of abuse of the system, looks down on all who take leave. Also on those with a real problem.

Where should society draw the line? Should the first two days of leave be unpaid, in order to cut abuse?
Or should there be a program to make workers, employees and employers aware of the consequences of unethical behaviour?


34 thoughts on “resistance is often futile

  1. This was a great post Bert. My husband and I have settled into Ohio, assisting elderly parents. For me, practicing patience will be one of my top priorities, dealing with a couple who are finding it very difficult to surrender to a failing body and mind. Surrender for me at this point most likely will mean giving in to the fact that reason and logic are not going to turn around their way of thinking. Compassion and patience look to be the way to approach this.

    • A most noble thing to do. But also listen to yourself when caring!
      I often care for my nearly blind and not very mobile father. Patience works most of the time. For compassion to work I have to see him as a peer, which in a father-son context is not always easy.

  2. Interesting…. I believe you have to listen to your body, just as you pay attention to your mind. Over time you can then tune in to what it is saying to you and if you are sick you should heed the messages.
    Over time you get to know if carrying on when you are under the weather is ok or if this time it’s not and rest is required….. Hope this helps

    • Thank you for your most welcome advise. I think in the western world we have entirely forgotten to listen, except to our own thoughts or opinions. Emotions, Intuition and body are neglected. Even worse, listening to someone else has also become something we forget to do. Even my doctor does not listen to me. I only go to him when I feel it is serious, but his only reaction was, “I hear nothing”. Then he prescribed antibiotics just in case, which meant one day later.
      The role of society in this not listening culture should not be underestimated. We are supposed to be always available, always good looking, always healthy, always desiring to go to restaurant, film, travel, … but only during weekends or holidays.
      The first week of my illness customers left me in peace, but they suppose after one week everything is gone. Of course it isn’t, although it is a lot better. And I don’t say no to them “They had to wait long enough already … ” you know, is coming from my conventional mind.

  3. The world of microbes is fascinating – it just gets really bad press whenever we get sick. Bert, I’m sorry to hear that you’ve been battling those nasty little buggers. Just remember there are trillions of the good ones helping you to run as the healthy machine you usually are. Smiles!

    • Thank you for your interesting comment. 🙂
      The antibiotics kill good and bad at the same time. I have no choice. Although it’s viral, the ever lurking Haemophylus Influenza would be too eager to occupy my sensitive lungs, as it already tried on day 3.
      I think everything is dead right now, but it takes some time for the body to repair the damage.

  4. Wonderful post full of reminders for me as there is much body talking at the moment in my world. Long ignored muscles are currently screaming since they have not had the opportunity to be given a voice at all in too many years (just started a quest to support flexibility as I age after YEARS of excellent pastry and being sedentary).

    I have often found that what I resist persists. However, the stretching I am doing at the moment is a workout that uses the muscle’s own resistance against itself while in motion to strengthen, lengthen and tone… not much external equipment needed. Also very interesting dynamic to contemplate.

    Enjoyed reading!

    (My main drug of choice at the moment to save and care for a sore and repairing body… sleep! I think John Luke would also approve :)).

    • Thank you for your caring comment. Strange how the ignored asks for attention. After being cured,I will also look after my weight a little more, and try doing some healthy body exercise. The garden usually provides enough opportunities, but not in winter. Sleep is often a very good medicine.

  5. Usually, I am actually pretty good at resting, at the first sign of illness, because I have learned from experience, that I do get well faster. Where my ability to surrender becomes interesting, is as in last summer’s prolonged illness. I had Walking Pneumonia but did not know that. I continued to go to yoga weekly, thinking it would facilitate my healing; and then, there was the need to buy groceries which I do weekly, in that larger city, about 40 miles north of where I live.

    I felt seriously, that I had wronged my fellow classmates, by continuing to go to yoga, with such an illness, once it was discovered 6 weeks after it began. Mostly, I did rest, I was assisted in doing that by my personal computer, which decided to also desert me in favor of some repairs (and seemed to hide the actual problem from the tech, until I began to recover from my illness).

    The Universe must love me a lot, to help me through; and give me no choice but to rest that way. Or so, I could interpret it. LOL.

    Since I am self-employed at home, I can’t comment on the larger societal issues you inquire about. I know that employees will abuse systems. I know that people should stay home when ill. I know that business continues to need staffing, even when we are ill. There seems to be a tug and push there that is hard to resolve, in favor of the highest good of all involved; but I do not lose heart, that a way to honor all of the needs exists.

    • Hi Deb, great to see you here!!!
      I remember you had walking pneumonia in summer. But I didn’t know you ignored it for 6 weeks. We always think we are strong enough to carry on till better times, don’t we?
      Resting is a bit difficult in here. Kids push me around during these Easter holidays.
      I had many plans of doing things together, and all that fell in the water. (in the cough to be more precise). But I don’t regret it. Being ill with the kids was/is also a great experience. And how they care!
      I’m also self employed, but within many corporate environments at the same time. So although i can make my own agenda up to certain limits, many visits and meetings outside are necessary. Tomorrow I have a phone conference to save one 100 mile trip.
      I should do like you and thank Universe for giving me the opportunities of being sick outside rush hour, when time permits to rest! Love and Light!

    • Hi Rahul, thx 4 ur encouraging comment. I heard about this book, about ‘that law’, but there is many a flaw in that theory. Not unlike karma being an incorrect concept in many other laws.
      There is however one thing I noticed related to this law: You will attract like minded people on whatever journey you are on. Nothing more, nothing less. So if you are an empathic, helpful and compassionate person, you will also meet many of those in your own life.

  6. I can relate – many years ago I caught all kinds of bronchitis and finally pneumonia after I was always working ‘a bit’ and not staying at home long enough. At this time I was an employed consultant and subject to challenging corporate goals (insane goals – pun intended) in terms of ‘billable hours’.
    Things become much better when I was able to say yes or no to every project request as a self-employed consultant.

  7. This post makes me ponder the question, “do we live to work, or work to live?”

    For me the answer is easy: I work to live. But I know many people disagree with my belief and philosophy. I was born with this belief system, I think. I have never thought or felt differently.

    Take care of yourself and get well soon!

    • I’m self employed. Very small self employed. A freelancer. The ultimate responsibility to self. But this makes things often more complicated. No work, no pay is (1). Many customers, many appointments is (2). Keeping the balance is the most difficult(3). Sometimes nothing to do, sometimes too much.
      It is just a bit easier to organize my time now and then, but this only counts for shorter breaks like 2 days.
      There are now 10 waiting customers on my schedule. I’m working on it, from home, bits and pieces, since Monday. One I visited yesterday, since it was so difficult to make this appointment in the first place. Still have to report on that one. I will do that tomorrow in the early hours of the morning.
      My last conflicts with employers where always about ‘working to live’ and not the opposite.
      I.T. is really going the wrong way completely. I will write a post on linkedIn about this very soon!

  8. I sensed you had some issue with this when I suggested perhaps soldiering on was not always the best approach. Of course, I do the same thing and do things grumpily and slip shod. I don’t know the answer to this but having lots of physical problems now at my age from soldiering on, maybe rest at the first sign of illness is a good idea. It is hard when working and with family and all and when one wants to be productive. Maybe a cost benefits analysis. Anyhow I do hope you feel REAL better, real soon!!

    • I today consulted my doctor by phone, I saw his colleague one week ago. He will put the prescriptions on his white board tomorrow morning. He says the animals inside my body are already dead, but my body needs to repair the damage, and that will take some time.
      I feel better every day. I feel like 85% today. Coughing is still tough, but that will last another 2 or even 3 weeks, doc said.

  9. I think we know when we need to take a break, but it’s the “silent pressure” of peers & bosses that makes us doubt our inner knowing… so, it seems to me, the question becomes do I have the courage to do what I know I need to do (as opposed to doing what others think I should do)?

    • I know some employers who would sedate their worker’s lungs so they wouldn’t cough for 6 hours then drown in their own sputum. 🙂 Sad but unfortunately true. Humans have become resources.

  10. I hope that you are back up to par now. Isn’t it amazing how our bodies work to resist unhealthy attacks on our immune system? Oh, and just an observation, it seems that men seem to have more of a harder time with this battle doesn’t it lol! Take care xx

    • Men do indeed have it harder. They are told from an early age to behave like a man. And although I do not follow that adagio, deep down there are remnants, difficult to find and hence hard to completely eradicate.
      We are indeed very lucky to have self repairing bodies.

      • I agree, men have it harder. The social expectation for men to be successful can be crushing. Women have their different issues but that’s another story I don’t want to address at this time.
        We’ve created a crazy world in which we live!

        • From a higher vantage point, perhaps the world evolved to the present state with everything in it just as it is. And ideas, opinions and ingrained beliefs are also prone to evolution.

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