Archives for posts with tag: luxury self-care

Getting through these couple of work days is harder than I expected. The days drag. I feel distracted. There is a garden waiting for me at home that needs love. There is unpacking to do. There are things to put in their proper place – and proper places to be determined. The work day, yesterday, did eventually end.

I’d taken car yesterday, and will again today. My ankle is still aching and the bus stop is some distance away. On my way home, happily following a suggested route offered by a more experience colleague, I made a stop for some odds and ends but instead found myself wandering discontentedly through the aisles; I no longer cared about the errand, I just wanted to be at home. So, I went home.

I meant to do things. I meant to unpack more stuff. I meant to do some laundry. I meant to vacuum. Instead I made a mug of chicken broth and sat in the stillness, quiet and content. I watched the golden glow of late afternoon fade to twilight. I listened to the birds. I watered the container garden on the deck. Eventually, night fell. I went to bed. It was quiet a deliciously restful evening.

I spent much of that quiet time just soaking in the newness of this place, and continuing to get a feel for it. I still can’t quiet find my way around in the dark here, not yet. There is more to learn.

It’s an exciting time, now that the panic of having to move suddenly is behind me, and I’ve done that bit. So much chaos. I’m looking forward to the long weekend ahead, that begins tonight. Making this space my own is the fun part. Then, the journey ahead begins. I don’t know yet where it leads. I think of my Traveling Partner. It’s funny how much it matters to me that he also be able to find contentment in this space…but it does.

One more work shift… I think about work and I am immediately vaguely distracted feeling, already eager to return my thoughts to home. There is so much to do here! I’ve got keys to the apartment, though, until Friday. If I can get all the boxes unpacked, I can drop off the cardboard recycling in the big bin at the old apartment… handy. Living in a house means no more dumpsters. lol Every detail of getting settled in here is so prominent in my thoughts. It’s hard to recall now quite why I was so stressed out and angry about having to move… having moved, that bit is now in the past, and seems unfamiliar. I know I don’t like moving…but I really like moving in. lol

“Fireworks” burst into bloom as soon as I began watering her. We thrive when we are cared for.

It’s a good day to take care of the woman in the mirror. It’s a very good day to begin again.

When did you last spend an entire day caring for yourself, body, mind, and soul? The works. Like… a spa day for your whole being? Healthy, while also indulgent. Uninterrupted. Focused, and also relaxed. Purposeful, but not hurried. No pressure – your undivided attention on supporting the person in the mirror. I took a day for me, yesterday. It was strangely not at all as I planned it, but… wow. I needed that time. A day of relaxed self-care that was not also pock-marked with fretting about work in the background. A day of small favorite luxuries without any self-consciousness or doubt. A day of meditation, quiet, calm… and wow was it lovely, and soul-soothing, and magical. Well… not actually “magical”. There were verbs involved, and I did those, for me. 🙂

I had intended to enjoy the day at leisure, and this much I most definitely did do. I made a wee cherry clafoutis for my brunch, a delightful treat. I happily enjoyed more coffee than I generally allow myself, content that a late night could be followed by sleeping in. I queued up a good playlist (that I mostly didn’t listen to), and had my sketching supplies, a book I am reading, and a journal at hand. I ended up spending most of the afternoon and evening quietly meditating – not at all the plan, but as it turned out, precisely what I needed to care for me best.

It was late into the evening when the last coals of the fire in the fireplace dwindled away to nothing, and the room began to take on the night chill from a draft somewhere. That was when I realized I had passed something like 10 hours just chilling. No TV. Music only rarely. Not bothering to pick up my book. Writing a note about this or that now and then. Just relaxing with the woman in the mirror, feeling the feelings, letting the cognitive landscape shift and change, accepting the emotional weather – which changed often, and more rapidly than the icy landscape on the other side of the windows. I watched the birds. They watched me back. I sat warming my feet by the fire, and smiling, feeling content that for the moment, all is well (for me, here, right now). It was lovely. I soaked in it. Bathed in it. Wrapped myself in these all-to-brief sweet moments of calm. Savoring them for later recollections, on more difficult days.

Evening from my meditation cushion.

Evening from my meditation cushion.

I don’t remember going to bed. I know I did; I woke in my bed from a deep sound sleep, feeling well-rested, and well-cared-for. That’s a thing I didn’t understand years ago; our very human feelings of neglect, inattention, shabby treatment, and even having been dealt with cruelly or abusively, can be soothed greatly by how we treat ourselves. It doesn’t stop some other person who treats us badly from being who they are, or make circumstances different than they have been, but it has tended to allow me to heal more, faster, and more completely, and to bounce back from challenges more efficiently. Totally worth taking the time to invest in skilled self-care. I’m no expert (clearly). I’ll keep practicing. 🙂

Where are you today? Not generally, I mean actually right now, as you read this. Are you here, right now, engaged in this moment? Awake? Aware? Curiously present? It’s just a question about choices, about this limited precious time we each have, about what’s to be done with it.

Simple beauty. Simple moments. Awake, aware, alive.

Simple beauty. Simple moments. Awake, aware, alive.

This morning I sip my coffee, catch up with a friend, and read a chapter further in a book I am about half through so far. The morning began with meditation, and yoga, and proceeded to coffee – that’s all behind me now. Now I am simply here, in this moment, sipping my coffee and enjoying the quiet of morning. I am practicing being present.

As practices go, ‘being present in this moment’ is fairly simple in words, and rather nuanced in practice; the challenge is to be here, without launching a lot of self-directed criticism, becoming frustrated by some detail of housekeeping or task management, becoming distracted by social media, ruminating over past moments until I am emotionally invested in some other moment than this one, or progressing to wildly fantastic daydreaming that might become unnoticed assumptions or expectations lurking in the background of some future moment. I stay in this moment, and when I notice my mind wandering, or sense elements of internal dialogue that amount to ‘self harm’, I begin again. I stay in this moment. The practice resumes.

I sip my coffee. I feel the warmth of the mug, and the smoothness of the simple white porcelain. I taste the brew, the unique subtle bitterness, characteristic and not unpleasant, the robust and subtle flavors of wood smoke, nuts, moss, and chocolate of these particular beans. I hear the subdued noise of traffic on the not-so-distant streets, and the sound of the train on the other side of the park. I hear the many frequencies of my tinnitus, always there when I focus on it; I find myself thinking about setting a reminder to bring earplugs to the concert we’re going to tonight, and pull myself back to this moment, here, now. My fingers are chilly, and I feel a sense of ‘cold’ across my shoulders; the thermostat in the studio doesn’t increase the heat until… I hear the heater click on, as if on cue, and smile, enjoying the orderly sequence of events in this simple quiet moment. I sigh contentedly, feeling my lungs fill, then empty. I breathe. Relax. The rhythm of my fingers on the keyboard reflect the practice in this moment, tap-tap-tap, pause… tap-tap-tap, pause… Feeling it. Writing it. Staying here, now, with this moment.

I’ve been feeling spread a bit thin, more than a little stressed out, and right on the edge of being overwhelmed by life’s details during a busy time; I suck at busy. This morning I recharge, and reset, using this simple practice of being in this moment.I stretch. Breathe. Relax. I observe. I feel. I engage the subtle details all around me by really noticing them: the subtle shine of light bouncing off angles here and there, the temperature of the room changing, the quality of the light as day slowly breaks beyond the window, distant sounds and sounds nearby, the physical sensations of being human, the fleeting come and go of emotions and thoughts passing through my experience. I breathe. Relax. Smile. This is a first-rate moment, right here. 🙂

I feel myself really beginning to let go of the things that are not truly important to me personally, leaving behind only the things that matter most. Urgency that sources with someone else’s agenda is not by default any urgency for me, personally; it’s so easy to forget that, because emotions are powerful drivers of behavior (and cognition). The looming work day immediately feels less stressful, which is helpful; I don’t do my best work when I feel stressed out, unappreciated, or overburdened. I now find myself much more inclined to be eager and enthusiastic about getting through the day skillfully, not taking it so personally, and ready to get on with the evening on the other side. I also find it easier to recognize that it’s time to find something that suits me better, and meets more of my own needs.

I’m no expert on being in the moment, or on mindfulness generally – I practice what seems to work best for me, personally, and study. I try new practices, and keep at the ones that have good results [for me]. There are lots of resources for good mindfulness practices – some of them are listed in my reading list. Today is a good day to be a student. Today is a good day to begin again. Today is a good day for this moment, the one right here, however simple; it’s really the only one. Yes, there are verbs involved – and choices. What will you choose for this moment, today, now?

This weekend I didn’t chase anything, didn’t force anything, didn’t insist on anything, didn’t apply pressure to myself, my experience, or my time. I suppose I could have. I could have gotten very stressed out about finding just exactly the perfect finishing touch Giftmas gift for my traveling partner, and blown my weekend on an unhealthy bit of hysterics when inclement weather messed with my plans. I could have held on to an assortment of assumptions and expectations of the weekend, and found myself facing Sunday with bitter regret – for both the things that did not happen, and the behavior that did. I didn’t do those things.

Instead, I allowed the weekend to simply take its course, embracing events as they occurred, and making the proverbial lemonade where lemons seem to have been provided…although…sitting here sipping on a tangerine mocha, made with fresh-squeezed tangerine juice from tiny sweet juicy tangerines so perfectly ripe they were not going to keep over days of eating, it’s hard to taste lemons. I made a fire in my fireplace, last night. I made another today, and contentedly kept it going through the gray rainy afternoon; it crackles in the background now. It’s been a weekend of contentment and satisfaction. It’s been lovely in spite of the rain.

Welcome in my own experience.

Welcome in my own experience.

The weekend is almost over, and a new work week unfolds ahead of me – the last before the Giftmas holiday. I’ll be out of the office for a few days (the week of Giftmas), and for a few days the next week, too. I pause, for a moment very aware how badly I really need this rest. I recognize that I am tired on a number of levels. This was an emotional year with a lot of complexity and change, and there is much to consider about the year to come. For now, I am content with contentment and that is enough. I sip on my mocha, making a mental note to finishing putting away the laundry that finished up just before dinner. Dishes, too. A box by the front door is my reminder in the morning to take it to the recycling bin; it arrived late in they day, during the pouring rain, and I didn’t take it straight out as I ordinarily might.

I've been very busy relaxing.

I’ve been very busy relaxing.

The evening is a quiet one. The lifestyle, too, is a quiet one. I’m not sure I knew sooner that this is what would suit me so well, when I looked ahead from many years younger. The mundane details aren’t dull to live; it’s peculiarly difficult to describe the luxury of hot laundry pressed to my chest as I dash back to my apartment in the rain, or the deep-down relaxation of finishing yoga and relaxing with my feet near the fire… just… relaxing, head back, gazing into the lights of the Giftmas tree… or emoji smiles and kisses from a partner I know is busy with other things, but values me such that taking the time is worth it, throughout the day.

This is a quiet life, and rich in excitement, delight, pleasure, contentment, joy, wonder…and moments of pure humanity; the difficult bits provide perspective, and comparison – reminders not to take what is so good for granted, not even for a moment. So… I enjoy the quiet weekend wholly and without reservations or concern, or trying to make it something more… or something less. More and more I am finding poetry in the ordinary, and lifetimes of love in moments of joy. Yes, there are verbs involved, and practice. I’m okay with that; I’m okay right now.

Small details are meaningful when we take time to notice them; small pleasures can fulfill our needs when we take time to enjoy them.

Small details are meaningful when we take time to notice them; small pleasures can fulfill our needs when we take time to enjoy them.

I don’t think I’ll chase anything today. Living life is enough.

 

What a peculiar day. It’s nearly at an end. I began it well enough, waking from a very restful night, having slept in. I woke in very little pain. All very promising as beginnings go. Somehow, something just… wasn’t. It was strange. I sat a long while. Not exactly meditating. Not exactly daydreaming. No music. No coffee. I even ended up chatting with my traveling partner for some time before I ever had coffee.

I did have coffee, eventually. I shook off my ennui enough for that. The rain continues to fall. I enjoy the sound of it. I took my coffee on the couch, and just sat for some longish time, then a distracting email message reminded me of a practical task that needed to be handled. Once that was done, I found myself feeling grateful to my traveling partner for his help on all sorts of practical things I tend to muddle up because of my injury…which got me thinking about gratitude generally, and people who were ‘there for me’ long ago, at various points when I earnestly needed help… I thought, too, about who I am now, how I feel about those things now, and whether or not I also felt I had ‘said thank you’, shown my appreciation, or taken an opportunity to return the gesture at some other point. Am I the woman I most want to be?

I found myself enjoying some time on writing notes for holiday cards and letters to far away old friends, and thinking about how very precious our connections to each other really are. Time well spent.

I spent the afternoon wrapping up other practical details of life, after the nasty weather deterred me from driving in holiday traffic. Marveling at how people can be such dicks to each other, in the abstract is one thing – wasting part of the weekend being pummeled by it just didn’t seem the right choice today. I realized at that point that I might not be where I thought I was within myself. I got things done and headed home, thinking about the recent South Park episode (s19e10 PC Principal Final Justice) and wondering if the scenes of imminent family gun violence might have messed with my head more than I realized at the time. I later made an observation to my traveling partner that it might become a favorite episode, having done something amazing I had never been able to do for myself; it trivialized the threat of violence at the hands of a loved one in a comedic [for me] way – it rendered some of my chaos and damage harmless – a cartoon. That’s powerful. But… in that initial moment, the panic just at the edges of my consciousness was very real, and although it didn’t take me over, it is part of my experience.

Welcome in my own experience.

Welcome home.

At this point, I’m past all that. I took care of me with great tenderness and compassion. I’ve gone through some things, over the years. They’re behind me now. I did a load of laundry, had some dinner, and made a fire in the fireplace – the first since I moved in. It’s a lovely quiet evening, no music, no video, just the sound of the crackling fire, and the rain. It’s enough, and I am okay right now.