Monday, November 7, 2011

Breathe. And. Breathe.

Day 6: Re-charge your batteries

What’s on your mind?

Writing is like telling your secrets……to everybody you know.

I’m taking a day off from being nice. Five days and I’ve had it. All this smiling, giving, encouraging, other-focusing is making me insane. It’s torment, it’s taxing. The odd thing is that I normally consider myself a generally kind person, so I honestly thought this challenge would be no big deal. If you could see me now, though, you would see me floor-pacing and hair-pulling and foot-stomping and fit-throwing. You would hear me whining I don’t want to be nice, I don’t want to be nice. I’m a two-year-old with gray hair and wrinkles.

So, instead of doing a kind deed for another today, I’ve decided to do a kind deed for myself. I’m feeling needy, and I’m going to honor that feeling. I do that sometimes-- honor my needs. That’s not an easy thing for women. We tend to feel that we are bad moms, wives, friends, co-workers, carpool captains, PTA presidents if we honor our own needs. I wasn’t always very good at listening to my vibes. I couldn’t even hear them. I had put them in the time-out chair and forgotten they were even there. With dinner and babies and nursing and Scouts and piano and Little League and the neighbor kids and teacher conferences and a husband who was on the road more than not, my own vibes had to just sit down and be quiet and wait their turn. The problem was, their turn never came.

My vibes are sort of needy. They’re not very patient. They didn’t like being stuck in that time-out chair. They rebelled. I gained weight. I gained a lot of weight. I would post a picture and show you how much weight, but I just can’t bring myself to do that. I was sick. If I saw you in the grocery store and you were sick, I would go home and be sick with the same thing. I couldn’t sleep. I totally sucked at sleeping. I yelled. I threw tantrums. I honestly don’t think I was a happy person. Don’t get me wrong. I loved my family. I loved my life. I was exactly where I wanted to be, doing what I wanted to be doing. But I had put some things to the side, and I was not very good at fueling the fire. I was giving to everyone but myself. And it showed.

So think me selfish if you must for taking a challenge break. I really don’t give a rip. I’ve learned that if I just take a brief second to breathe and re-energize, to feed my vibes, I am in a better spot to give to others. It’s sort of like on the planes when the flight attendants warn parents to put on their own oxygen masks first and then those of their children. A parent’s immediate response in time of danger is to save the child, but there’s not much saving going to happen if you’re dead yourself. And that’s how I feel when I ignore my own needs, emotionally dead. I’ve exhausted my oxygen source and have nothing left to give. So. To breathe.

You should know that I am not much a fan of the term mind, body, and spirit. It’s become, in my opinion, a marketing catchphrase, one of those God-awful terms that’s just flung around twenty-four-seven three-sixty-five and is more an annoyance than anything. As if. Whatever. But today I totally fed my mind, body, and spirit all in the same day. It was absolutely wonderful. It was the equivalent of chocolate nirvana, a new favorite shade of lipstick, a great sale on shoes, a really good, well, other things that are fun and soul-feeding but not terribly appropriate to include in this list. I fed them—mind, body, and spirit--all on the very same day. And it felt great.

I started my day with an extra long walk in the woods. Walking has been one of my absolute favorite ways to reduce stress since I was in college, and nature is my preferred path. My walk today was a good hour and spent mostly in prayer—except, of course, for that brief aside spent arguing myself on a point but, again, that was brief and came to not much consequence. I’m stubborn, but I do know when to let go. It was good, for a bit, to be off in my head. My head is one of my many happy places. I’m a thinker. Or at least I like to think I think. Mostly I might just be zoned out. This is why I try to avoid walking on bike paths. Those bikers scare the bejeezus out of me when they come up behind with a good loud LEFT! Let’s just say I’ve hit a few ditches.

I bought a book today. Next to my thoughts, books are number two on my happy place list. Even better, this book is about getting back to my true self, finding my own North Star. I get sidetracked sometimes. I let others decide what is good for me, what I want from my life, what I’m here to do. I forget that this information already exists inside of me and that I just need to listen and that my soul knows the answers to all of these questions better than any friend or sibling or coworker or Facebook quiz. Again, I have pumped-up on steroids vibes. They’re great at what they do. Sometimes I just get in a mood and bench them even if it means the game. So, I’m on my back deck enjoying an unusually warm and beautiful early November day with tea in hand and feet up, searching for my North Star, searching for my way. It was wonderful.

I just got off the phone with my sister. We have spent the past hour or so-ish talking about nutrition and all that is wrong with the American diet and how our food is making us sick and how we have an entire culture built around illness what with the insurance companies and hospitals and pharmaceuticals and medical supply companies and those annoying motorized grocery carts and how we should take all that money and energy and focus it instead on prevention, on nutrition education and fitness incentives and the like so that maybe we could actually participate in our own lives as we grow older. We talked about stuff like that while she did her best to talk me down from having a nice fat wedge of vegan double chocolate cake. Ironic. But so me. Nutrition is a huge passion of mine (as is eating). I will talk on the issue to anybody who stands in front of me for as long as they will stand there, then I will chase them down as they try to make their escape. I got off the phone exhilarated and motivated and inspired and minus that slice of double chocolate cake.

I think I’m good now. I’m rejuvenated, restored, rested, and ready to go. I’ve made enough deposits in the bank of my soul that I now have something to share. My two-year-old self has had its nap and afternoon snack and is ready, again, to play.

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