Getting Hold of my Senses
After my bout with Corona, I was “over it” but I suffered from headaches, fatigue, lack of taste, smell and more. What I learned in the process is priceless!
My coronavirus wasn’t done with me when it was “over.” Feeling hit by a train, racked with pain and shortness of breath, was pretty much gone after two weeks, but other symptoms remained. And as the weeks passed, some of those lingering symptoms actually worsened.
For the months that followed I dragged through life with fatigue, headaches, coughing, brain fog, memory loss, and an inability to taste or smell.
According to the doctor, my only hope was to wait it out. But according to my homeopath and functional medicine doctor there were certain foods, herbs and supplements that could help. I was taking all the right supplements, eating all the right foods, smelling the essential oils-or at least trying to smell them, drinking my green juices, and praying every day….I was doing everything I could think of to heal but was not feeling any better.
Then one day, while sharing my post-Covid saga, a friend suggested I consult an energy healer who had helped her with some complicated issues. I gladly scheduled an appointment, knowing I had nothing to lose except the $200 price of the visit, not covered by insurance, but I was hopeful that he would be able to bring me some relief.
Feeling dizzy, spacey and weak, I walked into his office, told the healer how I felt, and the first thing he said to me was, “I can see it.”
Holding a crystal, he put his hands near my head, located the “pain point,” and for nearly an hour massaged and manipulated my aura. The impact was nothing short of miraculous. I walked out of his office feeling clear headed, clear–lunged, pain free, and able to smell!
I was thrilled to be out of pain and feeling like myself again. I felt reborn! At dinner that night, I could not stop smiling and thanking God for the immense pleasure of tasting my food. With each bite I was raptured, prolonging each chew, savoring every flavor, and swaying in ecstasy. Albeit with a dimmer, it was like the lights, turned off for so long, were finally back on. But when you’re grown accustomed to the dark, a little light goes a long way. I was overflowing with gratitude.
The next morning, when I brushed my teeth, my minty toothpaste had no flavor. My lemon water was plain water. My coffee was tasteless hot liquid, and my fruit smoothie was a thick cold blob. Everything I ate went back to being just color, temperature and texture. And two days after that, my headaches returned, with a vengeance.
I reported the depressing change in my condition to the healer.
“Come back for another treatment,” he said. “You need more clearing.”
Once again, I went home feeling rejuvenated. I relished foods and fragrances with delight, singing songs of praise as I cherished the complex sweetness of dates stuffed with dark chocolate and the simple savory pleasure of a baked potato with olive oil and sea salt.
Eating didn’t have to be this pleasurable! As I swirled a scoop of fresh basil pesto around my mouth, it occurred to me that the human food experience could have been nothing more than dry tasteless pellets to ingest three times a day for sustenance. Instead, out of the Creator’s love for us and desire to give us pleasure, and a savvy way to comprehend His generosity and expansiveness, He gave us an abundance of foods in a rich assortment of colors, flavors, spices, textures and nutrients–all for our enjoyment! What a gift!
Later that night, sniffing my essential oils and thrilling at the ethereal distinctions between peppermint and eucalyptus, I thought about how expensive — yet worth it – were the visits to the healer. Any price pales next to the treasure of wellness and feeling good.
By the next morning, my ability to taste and smell disappeared again. Six days later, the dreadful headaches, brain fog and fatigue were back.
I returned to the healer two more times, and after both of those sessions, my taste and smell did not return at all, no matter the challenge I created for myself. Raw garlic, raw ginger, spirulina powder, mustard – all, no sensation. Nothing at all.
Dissatisfied with every tasteless bite I took, I felt locked out of the fullness of life, trapped behind a glass wall on the wrong side of tangible delight. From this despondent place of deprivation, I said to myself that if I could afford it, and if it worked, I would pay $200 a day to taste, and I would pay $200 a day to smell. And I would pay even more than that to be pain free. But even if I could afford them, these pleasures are not for sale.
Our senses are gifts from G-d, free and not for sale, at any price.
I chewed these thoughts like mental cud, over and over in my mind…going back and forth to the healer, chasing after my health, experiencing relief then watching it vanish, feelings of hopelessness, one homeopathic remedy after another, maybe this one will work, crying in pain, crying for my loss of pleasure, asking rabbis what to do. And praying for the basics – which began to feel not so basic at all — to come back to me.
Digesting these thoughts brought me to a satiety of gratitude that I hadn’t experienced before. Growing up with a blind and developmentally disabled older brother inscribed on my psyche from a young age that some people don’t get all their senses. And that if we do, we should cherish them and the enjoyment that comes with them. The illness and subsequent death of my father taught me how fleeting one’s health and vitality can be and that the best place to be in this world is in the present moment, extracting as much joy and gratitude as humanly possible. Having a chronic auto-immune condition of my own taught me first-hand how tenuous my own health is, and that I should never take for granted the seemingly basic gift of just feeling good, because that in and of itself, is a true luxury. The epiphany I tasted in that moment was palpable, and it left me with a provocative palate of aftertastes.
What I had previously called MY senses were never really MINE. They were but a gift on loan to me from the Creator. And try as I might to get MY taste and smell back, I couldn’t, because just like everything else that I might mistakenly think I possess, my senses are not rightfully mine either; they are God’s. Everything belongs to Him.
Even though I invested my time, energy, money and prayer into healing, I could not control the outcome. God has a Master Plan and an exact time for everything. I can’t rush His will or force reality to change. While I need to keep doing my part to heal, I also need to let go and faithfully accept God’s will with joy, trust and patience.
If I want something to change in my life, I need to change myself first. And if God is sending me a situation that I want to change, that means he is sending me an invitation to change myself. Discovering His will starts with asking questions like: What can I learn from what I am going through? How can I take what I see as “garbage” and use it like compost to fuel new growth? What is the next level up for me to which this situation is a stepping stone?
The more I focused on my lack of smell and taste and what was “wrong” with me, the more sad, hopeless and frustrated I felt. But when I shifted my perspective and chose to focus on my other senses and systems that were working right, I felt much happier, calmer and content. The choice of what I focus on is within my control, and with that awareness, I can control and overcome my emotions.
If G-d charged me for the basics, I couldn’t afford to live. Realizing how blessed I am to have so many abilities and favorable circumstances made me feel royally rich. To be healthy, free of pain, ambulatory, thinking, seeing, hearing, breathing, and able to connect with other people are exalted commodities, luxuries that are not for sale, and if they were, they would be unaffordable to sustain. Being born with something doesn’t make it mine forever. Realizing that every day I am given a capacity anew, or not, makes each day a unique opportunity to feel and appreciate God’s abundant gifts.
The fact that I can’t perceive smell or taste doesn’t mean the foods I eat don’t have smell or taste. I had started wondering whether my spices, perfumes and essential oils had lost their potency. I had to remind myself that it was not THEY that stopped smelling; rather, it was I.
And this birthed the realization that to think that “if I don’t smell it, the aroma is not there,” is like saying, “if I don’t understand it, then it doesn’t make sense.” Or, “if I don’t see or feel it, it doesn’t exist.” Just because I don’t understand why this is happening doesn’t mean that He is not right here doing this for a reason. And that’s ok.
That was my platter of gratitude, sprinkled with hints of humility and fresh notes of positivity. This mindset work is an acquired taste, but I’m getting used to it.