Image of front cover of How to be SickI recently checked out How to be Sick: a Buddhist-inspired guide for the chronically ill and their caregivers by Toni Bernhard, and I found it so useful that I am purchasing a copy of my own. This book has been on my To-Read list for a few years, since before I began experiencing recalcitrant vertigo, and the time was definitely right for me to finally read it. My wife read it as well, and we both agree that you don’t have to be chronically ill to benefit from the straight-forward messages of Toni’s book.

I want to highlight one of the practices in How to be Sick called “weather practice.”  Its name is drawn from a line from a movie in which a meteorologist says to a weather reporter who demands a more accurate forecast, “It’s wind, man.  It blows all over the place.”  The Buddhist-inspired weather practice reminds us of the impermanence of what we are feeling in the present moment. It will pass, it will not last forever. This is one of the tools I used to soothe myself during a recent disastrous yoga class.  When I felt overwhelmed by nausea and despair, I reminded myself that the feelings would soon “blow by” and that I needn’t be afraid of feeling so terribly forever.

In the moment, I had trouble making that reassurance “stick,” and I slid repeatedly back into anguished inner wailing.  But then I’d invoke the practice and gain a few moments of reprieve from suffering. Again and again.  That’s why it’s called a practice!