Archives for posts with tag: taking care of the woman in the mirror

I’m sipping the last of my second cup of coffee. It’s a Friday; I might have a third, later. I’m in pain, mostly managing it. I’ve felt the tiniest bit “under the weather” since yesterday, as if fighting off a head cold. I feel… tired. Bone-deep fatigue unrelieved by a good night’s sleep. Rested – still tired. I struggle to fully engage routine tasks. I don’t feel wholly alert. I struggle to resist distractions.

I find myself becoming annoyed with myself over my “lack of motivation” at the end of what has been a ridiculously busy work week. My inner dialogue begins to become aggressive and adversarial, and a tad “punishing” and disrespectful. I could take time to try to sort out where all that garbage and mess comes from… or I can take the break I so clearly need, and do a good job of that, instead. I mean, clearly I learned this self-abusive unproductive bullshit somewhere, but those sorts of ugly relationship dynamics are not a regular part of my everyday life now. I can just “let all that go”, and make a point to willfully treat myself with more kindness and understanding. To embrace my own “Big 5″ relationship values – even in my relationship with myself.

I’ve got a long weekend coming up. I feel my shoulders relax when I think about spending time in the studio painting. As I imagine the moment, and anticipate the feeling of “treating myself” to that creative time, I feel my shoulders relax, and a smile begin at the edge of my mouth. I imagine hiking my new favorite local trail, again, and doing some sketches there, and returning to canvas and paint at home. I imagine sleeping in, and waking slowly. I imagine waffles for brunch, and little breakfast sausages, piping hot, fat crackling and popping in the pan. I imagine putting my feet up with a new book, and sipping a glass of sherry as twilight becomes nightfall. I imagine spending quiet time with my Traveling Partner, and long leisure hours discussing one plan or project or another. Rest and art and love seem like good things to spend the weekend on…

…I straighten my posture, and look over this spreadsheet, feeling just a bit less beat down, and ready to finish this week… One more way to begin again. πŸ™‚

Today is a good day to “be there” for someone – even if that someone happens to be you. Actually… I’m a big fan of learning to “be there” for yourself. For you, as an individual, you know – as if you were one of your own dearest friends. I mean… why would you not treat yourself at least as well as you treat the person you love most in all the world? Or for sure at least as well as your treat your bestie – right?

It’s a busy Monday. I’m sipping my second coffee between work tasks. A moment of curiosity sends me to the stats page of my blog wondering which posts have grabbed attention, lately. I find myself reading this one, about managing anxiety, and “being there” for one another. I read it again, and consider how well I am living up to my own suggestion to “be there” for myself…

It rained this weekend, pretty much all weekend. I spent lovely hours hanging out with my Traveling Partner. I’m grateful to share life with this person I enjoy so very much; it’d be a long fucking pandemic in the company of a human being I don’t care for. Worth a moment of gratitude, and then some more after that. πŸ™‚

The autumn rain recently began quickly overflowing the rain gutters. One of the “perks” of homeownership, no doubt. I feel fortunate for the break in the rain yesterday morning, and the purposefulness of my partner getting to work cleaning the rain gutters out before the rain began again. Wow. I feel loved, and cared for. (Speaking of being cared for, he also reliably hits me up to take a break together at regular intervals during the work day, which I greatly appreciate – I’m the sort that forgets to take breaks. lol)

It’s a new day. Great chances to begin again. What will I do with that? (What will you do with that?) Will we change the world for the better in some small way? (We could… we should totally do that!)

One moment of many.

Time shrank, stretched, and snapped back, today. I got home feeling I had simultaneously done much more and much less than I had planned to do – more than I expected to get done, less than I urgently needed to get done, and certainly enough actually got done. Time can be peculiarly malleable, and sometimes I think I’ve almost got the hang of doing it at will. (That would be quite amazing.) πŸ™‚

At some point, I realized I needed a couple things from myself. I was feeling fairly pressed for time, pretty frazzled, and I was overwhelming myself with details, and small frustrations. When I started getting close to that very special moment – you know the one? That moment just at which not having some sort of horrific tantrum or untoward meltdown would just no longer be possible? That fairly strained moment of longing and regret-in-advance? (Is that just me?) I could see it there, just ahead of me… the snarled remark, perhaps, got my attention – and a moment of appreciation that although I’d spoken aloud, I was seated alone. I paused, and listened for just a precious second of limited time – really listened – to me – and I recognized unmet needs. Simply that. I heard me. I needed recognition that I’ve been sick. I needed better self-care. I needed to slow down a bit, really focus, and be patient with myself. I needed a healthy meal – a real, actual, cooked-with-care, meal, prepared from fresh ingredients that meet all of my dietary needs. (I’ve been sick, right? Cooking takes some effort, more than I could manage for a couple days, so it’s been… broth. lol Mostly just broth. And coffee. Tea. Fizzy water. Cold medicine.) I looked at the clock and acknowledged to myself how very human I am. I reset my expectations, and moved my workload around a bit. I reset the expectations of others, with consideration, with care, and as firmly as I know how to do graciously. I finished the day with a plan.

The commute was okay. Rainy. I was pre-occupied with my own thoughts, so less frustrated with the shenanigans of other, less skilled, drivers (I know they are less skilled, because… did you see that shit?? You did not. I did, though. lol). I picked up some healthy ingredients on the way home and made myself a small London broil (although I rarely eat beef, if I am at all a risk of anemia, or have recently been ill, it definitely perks me up to have it), some steamed broccoli, and homemade yam steak fries. I cooked. I enjoyed a solitary evening meal, listening to music, thinking my thoughts. First day back to work is tough on me after being sick, so I take things pretty easy this evening. I want to do more, and look at my “to do list” with a certain purposeful yearning, although I definitely do not have the energy for all that (or even most of it, or… yeah… none of it at all, actually, not tonight). An early night will be the thing, then. Maybe some quiet time reading? Meditation. I’ll write (hello!). I’ll meditate. I’ll call it a night.

Of course, the internet grabbed my attention pretty quickly – it was hard to tear myself away. A couple rounds of being annoyed with myself, followed by a reminder, again, of how human I am… the evening continues.

Self-care does not come naturally to me, in any way I can tell. I really work at it. I sometimes seriously suck at it, but it needs to be handled, and generally, it needs to be handled skillfully – or I am doing little more than hastening my own demise through neglect. :-\ So, tonight I practice self-care practices. Gentle verbs. Verbs that nurture. Verbs that heal. Verbs that soothe and tend and care for.

Tomorrow is soon enough to begin again on all the other verbs. πŸ™‚

I slept like crap last night. I mean… according to my fitness tracker I was at least recognizably making the attempt at sleep for more than 7 hours. That’s something. My sleep was fitful, restless, broken into small pieces interrupted by moments of wakefulness, and dreaming that I was awake. I woke wanting very much to continue sleeping, sometime around 7 am. I call that “sleeping in” today, and drag myself from my bed to face the day, which seems already very much in progress, being quite a bit past dawn.

I put on music first thing. I’m really hung up on a track I first heard yesterday. The words fit my playlist, Β “Sit down. Be Humble.” A reminder. A great groove. I start there. Sunday. A good day for contemplation and reminders to be the best human being I can. I dance into the kitchen and make coffee. Music carries me into the studio with my coffee. More reminders. Β It’s a morning for fun and love and… dancing? Who knew. πŸ™‚ The smile on my face feels like part of how my face is made, this morning. I move things around on my playlist to put the best beats and bass and yes, even reminders, at the top. Later will be soon enough for anything more structured or serious. Right now? Music, movement, and smiles. This is about feeling good. πŸ™‚

In case it hasn’t come up before… I am not a dancer. I’m also carry a few more pounds than I find comfortable (or aesthetically pleasing). I have physical limitations due to old injuries, and hell let’s acknowledge that aging has its say as well. Doesn’t matter. I’m not dancing for contest judges. I’m not dancing to show off. I’m not dancing to be good at anything or to demonstrate a skillful execution of some particular choreography. I simply like the way it feels to hear music and be moved. So this is all for me. It feels good to dance. It eases some of my arthritis pain. It slows the creeping inevitability of the passage of time. It is an experience. These are verbs I enjoy. πŸ™‚

I move on in the playlist as I head for coffee number two… favorites new and oldsongs that fill me with hope… and I dance on with the day, thinking about love.

Today is a good day to enjoy the moments that feel the best whenever they turn up. Savor the hell out of that delightful moment, right now, however brief. Save the recollection for later. Enjoy the experience as though it is the only moment. Wallow in it. Appreciate it fully. Be here, now. Then…

Begin again.

I woke rested this morning. I slept in. I opened my eyes slowly, thinking about love. My dreams were precious and lovely, sweet, and emotional. Tears slid down my face, not bad tears, just memories and perspective. I woke smiling. I remind myself that my emotions are not madness, nor are they a mistake. I feel. I am human.

I make coffee, and put on the stereo. I shuffled my playlist with great care recently (I occasionally do) and the song I start my mornings with is pretty close to being… a hymn. There just doesn’t happen to be a church involved. It’s just a beautiful song, and a reminder to self to be the best person I know how to be, as I start the day. It’s Saturday. I start the day with music and a smile.

Life isn’t perfect, for me either. All the practicing, all the growth, every moment of contentment reached, every moment of joy, and each new “level” unlocked, it’s still a very human experience. I struggle with my weight. I struggle not to take things personally in life. I struggle to love the woman in the mirror and the people all around me. I endure pain. I also learn and grow and love. It’s a very mixed experience, and very human. I practice. I fail. I begin again. I find myself, sometime further down the road, changed – and generally for the better (with all Β the practicing of practices that nurture and support growth and change). Clinging to expectations of this or that, or some very specific standard of beauty, success, intellect or achievement is a set up for heartbreak and failure on this whole other level, in comparison to letting go of attachment to the outcome, and simply doing and being the best of the human being I am able to be.

Anyway. I’m just saying… there’s some falling down. I follow it with getting back up. The journey is mine. The destination is mine. The goals are mine. It’s not about money for me. It’s about great art, great love, and being a genuine, kind, compassionate, reasoning human being capable of managing the intensity of deep emotion with wisdom and graciousness. It’s about healing ancient pain, and embracing love right now. The success, while also mine, gets results that benefit all of us. When we are our best selves, the entire world is transformed by it.

Emotion and reason. Practice. Begin again. Be the change you wish to see in yourself. You are enough. ❀