In Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, it is a noun meaning a severe form of malaria.
In the jungle on the Caribbean coast of Panama, I experienced all the symptoms of malaria at once.
Walking down the beach as the sun was setting on another day at the Tribal Gathering, I start feeling like icy ants are crawling up and down my arms.
I am so unfamiliar with getting sick that I forgot what chills feel like.
My energy level and blood pressure were in a competition to see which one could drop more quickly as I stumbled to my tent.
After being covered for 12 hours during a mostly sunny day on the Caribbean beach, my tent became a sweat lodge. I became the unwilling participant unsure of what I am getting into.
As soon as I laid down, I felt like I was engulfed in flames, chilly flames. A fever, extreme headaches, cold sweats, muscle pain, and intestinal pain flanked me all at once. Involuntary convulsions lead me into a fetal position. Cocooned in a small blanket, I was ready to break free and be a butterfly already.
I tried to breakthrough, but the “cold” air felt like a lightning strike to my skin. My cocoon became my home, my safety zone.
At least if I stay inside I won’t get worse.
It got worse anyway.
The fever increased, my brain felt like it was about to come out of my ears, and I started hallucinating.
In bed, I felt like this:
But in my head, I felt like this:
I was feverishly dancing through my thoughts, putting words and phrases together into a freestyle rap, that went on for an entirety. The beat I was rapping to was a sacred medicine ceremony going on outside of my tent, accompanied by the backup vocals of chanting.
Together, we made a whole album in one song.
Words and phrases would float through my head and the chosen ones would stream from my consciousness to the live audience in my head. Each word had its own story that it revealed to me. A story of the energetic meaning that is attached to the word, different ways of using it, the silly ironies of certain words, and the hidden knowledge that can be found in each word or phrase.
I gained a deeper understanding of the power that writing and poetry have on the conscious and subconscious. Fascinating fever phenomenon, huh?
Come back to reality, Tyler.
Unsure what reality actually is, I take a quick intermission from my live performance and realize that I feel like I am dying.
I feel like I am dying, yet I am having a blast!
Sleeping is impossible, every movement is painful, my brain is melting, and Mommy and Daddy are not here to take care of me, but I am still in a state of bliss.
is this really possible?
or am I just incredibly insane?
Luckily for you (and my sanity), it is possible. A sane man who is a neurologist and psychiatrist shares a similar perspective with me.
This is a quote from Viktor Frankl, a neurologist, psychiatrist, and sane man who survived the Holocaust and wrote a book about his experiences called “A Man’s Search For Meaning”.
Suffering is a choice that we make, and it expands to fill the space of our soul.
All suffering diminishes like a shadow when we shine light on it.
What fills the space where the suffering was once held?
Whatever you want. Remember, it’s your choice.
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” -Viktor Frankl