A friend tells me about a lovely offering during the month of December.  I sign up, I am eager.  On day four, I fall behind.  I try to practice what I preach when working with my own students: there is no ‘behind’; take things in the way that works for you; it’s okay to work in another way from the one that’s suggested.  But what if what works is to ditch the effort completely?  What if what works is to leave something beautiful behind?  This is not always easy.  Sometimes, though, it’s necessary. 

I get the shingles vaccine and am prepared to feel a little off.  I am not prepared, however, to feel awful.  I am headachey and body-achey and prickly-skinned.  I lie on the sofa for two days.  My daughter makes me tea.  I take baths each afternoon because the evening is too far away.  On the third day, we take a short walk.  It begins to pass.  I know these awful aches are better than an actual case, and I try not to think ahead to the eventual second dose.  For now, comfy clothes, blankets, tea, a good book, and time.

I talk with my sisters on Zoom and it’s lovely to see their faces.  I’m feeling better by this point in the week, have managed a shower first thing in the morning, wear jeans instead of sweats.  It’s good to catch up, good to see and hear and listen, to gather, even in this way.

It’s a week of walking alongside (and holding space for) fellow list writers.  These women, these students, these writers fill me up every time.  They open their hearts to what I share, they hold it to the light, they are brave and game for anything.  Sometimes a prompt lands sideways for them but they pick it up and run with it.  They are all in and I love them for this.  They know it’s okay to work in whatever way feels best for them, and they do it.  They reflect back to me the reminder I need this week.

I leave something behind. I step fully into what is already here. I am shingles-free and at peace.

I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief…
For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
~ Wendell Berry ~

10 thoughts on “shingles-free

  1. Michelle –

    This is so lovely, giving yourself permission to not do what you signed up for. I have been struggling with not doing J5t this week. Each day I read your gentle prompts and even started on Monday to write my lists but I just wasn’t present and so by Wednesday, decided to save them for a special week in January. Thank you for all your generous work.

    And a big hug for being shingles-free.

    Diane ox

  2. Aw I’m glad you’re on the mend. I had a dodgy day after my covid booster but nothing like yours. Over the pond here you only get a shingles vaccine between the ages of 70 & 79 which seems odd to me.

  3. I am glad the worst is behind you now Michelle. One never knows how our body will react to a vaccine that, in the long run, is going to protect us. Like Karen above, I have not had mine yet either.
    Guess I should put that on the calendar for next year. Thanks for the reminder. I think :)
    Be well and enjoy the Holidays.

    1. Yes! Put it on the calendar, Betty!
      I’ve known two people who had shingles and they both said it’s truly awful (and with lingering symptoms for months).
      Happy Holidays to you and yours, Betty!!!

    1. I hear you; the ways our bodies respond are rough sometimes…but very good in the long run! I’ve known folks who had shingles and they said it was terrible (and had symptoms for months afterwards). Sooner than summer, pretty please :)

  4. Oh, Michelle! I had the same kind of reaction to the shingles vaccine! I’m grateful that you are feeling better (and for the tea and baths along the way)!


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