At least, that is what my wise-woman self tells me.
Trust the process.
The process is not linear.
The process will not be understood by your monkey mind (which undoubtedly will want to dictate the process and will fail miserably).
The process may be met with all your defenses. The sudden need to sleep. The sudden need to hide into a book. The sudden need to shove mouthfuls of popcorn into your mouth while reading said book.
If your body says rest, rest. If you body says dig in, dig in. If your body says, “you are putting up your defenses” then stay curious.
Allow your partner to call you out (they always will). Allow your dreams to speak to you (make sure you’re listening).
Move. Shake. Walk. Dance. Tickle. Flail. Kick. Conga. [really wise self? Conga?]
Walk, relax, meditate in savasana.
Self-care, self-care, self-care. And then some more.
The sun will rise again. It didn’t disappear, it was just out of view. Relax into the orbit of your life.
“Sometimes the bee stings, and sometimes it makes honey.” Z, age 4, tiny Buddha (and recently stung by a bee for the first time.)
Watercolor pencil, pen and water
In not-at-all-surprising news, I got sick with a bad cold. (My last post was literally about how I need to practice more self-care.) Sigh.
I’m working on more rest, less doing in my daily life, so I figured practicing this while sick would be a good place to start. In fact, what better way to demand rest than to treat my cold like it’s a man-cold.
- Lie down in the bed under the covers and don’t move all night.
- Demand others tend to dinner. Preferably making your favorite comfort food.
- Declare yourself off-limits for childcare duty.
It’s that simple and here’s the crazy thing: it basically worked! Childcare tasks were the hardest to shake because the child finds me wildly entertaining and demands me as her playmate. (#onlychildproblems.) I fixed that by suggesting she and daddy play “science” which they both love because they make volcanoes explode and get messy, so win-win.
At bedtime my husband did get a tad snippy: “you WILL be helping with bedtime routine right?!” I said yes, assuming that’s how it goes the next time he gets sick.
Who knew it was that easy? Ask and ye shall receive!
Why is it that when you know your scale is broken you still always assume everyone else’s scale is broken and ha ha don’t they know the only accurate reading is visible only to you in the privacy of your bathroom?
Which is to say that I bought a new scale. Guess what. MY OLD SCALE LIED. Of course it did! I knew it did but I wanted to believe otherwise. Perhaps the snug feeling in my shorts *wasn’t* just my weight “rearranging itself.” That isn’t even a thing! Weight doesn’t one day go, “Hey Herald come with me to this belly region so we can try out a new view! You know, hanging outside the top of this lady’s shorts!”
What does this have to do with anything? Well, it seems that this week is all about slaying. Not slaying as in “Beyonce is slaying on the red carpet.” Slaying as in, time to slay all the damn illusions and lies you have been telling yourself for too long.
Think you are losing weight even though your damn scale is five pounds off? SLAY.
Think you are totally cool with and have come to peace and understanding about ——>INSERT LIFE ISSUE THAT SUCKS<—???
Think that while yes those confederate monuments are gross and racist and vile you never really considered that WE LITERALLY WALK AROUND WITH MONUMENTS CELEBRATING SLAVERY AND WHITE SUPREMACY IN THE SAME WAY AS IF GERMANY HAD KEPT UP A BUNCH OF HITLER STATUES AND YELLED AT PEOPLE WHO WERE LIKE UM THOSE ME UNCOMFORTABLE???
How did I not see all this?!
That’s right, the word of the week is slay.
Slay those illusions and falsehoods. Because the truth–that is something you can work with.
The scale speaks the truth and now you can accept reality and decide maybe not to eat the large Costco bag of Veggie Straws by the fistful.
Life is hard and painful and yet…it’s only when you face the pain that you can release it. (Phew doesn’t that feel better?)
Anyway, you totally got this. Go slay some dragons. Excuse me while I got throw out that old, lying scoundrel of a bathroom scale.
Such an odd but lovely morning. I made scones but forgot the salt. Oh well. They were still pretty satisfying. But then my kid asked if I forgot the sugar. Goodness no I did not forget the sugar — these are scones not muffins, child!
And then we were late for the annual July 4th parade, but decided to celebrate instead with slurpees. I think I liked this better than the parade. It doesn’t even have a marching band. (The parade, not the 7-11!)
And then on our sticky slog home we were rewarded with a cardinal and grasshopper sighting. Can you get over the size of this grasshopper? They say everything’s bigger in Texas, but it seems to be true for Florida too.
Taking it slow, savoring the gifts. (And even those saltless scones).
“The night comes and we give ourselves permission to dissolve into the rest of darkness. We let go of all the valleys and rivers we wish to cross and our dreams for some distant future.” -Sarah Blondin, Live Awake.
I meditated bathed in moonlight. I was brought to tears by a deeply moving meditation about learning to surrender. It was just what my soul needed.
Sometimes we need to dig into the closet. What is in there that scares us?
I’ve read that the Chinese New Year’s FIRE ROOSTER brings with it the energy of tidying up, letting go, and being fastidious.
Recently I fully embraced the rooster energy and decided to spontaneously empty and organize our walk-in closet. To the untrained eye the room was full of assorted piles of crap. Not so! I had fastidiously sorted each and every last content into items in need of repair (buttons sewn on, stains removed); items to donate–with sub-categories including the items to take to the domestic violence shelter thrift store (clothes mostly) and items to donate to a home for young mothers in foster care (for them, only the nicest household items, some children’s clothes and toys and don’t ask why those things were even in my closet in the first place.). And then was the pile of trash. The pile of random mementos that needed to put tucked away. The pile of clothes that no longer fit but maybe if I lose those last ten pounds? The pile of office supplies (why were they in there….?) You get the idea.
SO. MANY. PILES.
A week later and the project is complete, including the addition of a new plush rug inside the closet that my daughter and I gleefully rolled around on, all the while absorbing the beauty of the clean and orderly closet!
I thought my Fire Rooster energy had run its course. It turns out, no so fast.
Alas, it seems there were other dark spaces that had slow and steadily collected items out of view. Left in the dark but ready for light to be shined upon them.
You may have noticed I haven’t been posting as much recently. Mostly this is because I have been doing a lot of artwork, and also keeping busy with my little project #100daysofhope (mostly on instagram).
You could say I’ve been consumed by my art. Every spare moment I seem to be in front of the watercolors. I’ve been posting them on Instagram…and then something started to happen.
Within the span of days several people asked to purchase prints I had made. Did I have a store?
I think the best way to describe what happened next would be paralysis.
I know, it makes zero sense. This is awesome, people want to buy my artwork! How wonderful!
Yes, yes yes. But it meant getting my act together. It meant collecting and properly scanning and uploading and editing and printing and….and….all the excuses you can imagine. Know what it really meant?
It meant shining a light on my creative work. IT MEANT VULNERABILITY.The universe was giving me so many nudges, it was ridiculous. And then my sister called. She urged me for the thousandth time to setup a damn online shop. And after I told her about the inquiries she jokingly and lovingly scolded me, WHAT? Sarah get your butt in gear!
I was a tad defensive. Do you know how busy I am? Blah blah blah. Well, in talking to her, I decided to cut work early yesterday and at least get started on the project.
So yesterday afternoon, dragging my feet still, I slowly assembled the artwork until every last piece was laying on my bed.
My jaw dropped. There was SO MUCH ARTWORK. I had created all this? All this time it had been tucked away in the dark, in need of fastidious sorting and cataloguing.
And it needed light.
At this point in the afternoon I realized I needed to make a call. I left a message for my sister and I told her she would not believe how much artwork it turns out that I had! (Oh, I think she knew.) I thanked her for the nudge. The loving nudge to push the baby bird out of the nest. The bird who was more than ready to fly.
I’m sorting, scanning and fastidiously editing and preparing to print the artwork. I will gleefully-and fearfully-share with you when they are posted online for sale. And if I drag my heals, you officially have permission to nudge this baby bird once again.
What about you? What is hiding in your closet, in the dark, in need of light and air? Are there things you need to let go of? Are there things that need to be seen? Who can hold you accountable and gently push you out of the nest? The fire rooster calls!
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I have a confession.
It turns out i am a human. Who is flawed. And (gulp) imperfect.
There’s something about the holidays that just leaves me feeling raw and vulnerable. I am sure I am alone in this. I am sure no other flawed, imperfect human struggles this time of year!
Let me tell you about my judgment spiral. Wait, let me back up. I need you to know first of all that I am INFJ. That is a meyers-briggs personality assessment because I freaking love any time of psychology/self-help/woo-woo assessment.
You will notice there is a J at the end. J is for judgment. As in, I am a judge-y Judy. My husband-the-scientist is an INFP–“P” stands for perceiving. Which means conversations like this occur (as it did last night):
Me: It isn’t always bad to be judge-y. Sometimes you need to make a judgement about something!
Husband: Do you?
Me: (Horrified) You are joking when you say that right? YOU HAVE TO BE KIDDING ME!
Husband: No I am not joking. [editor’s note: He wasn’t joking. I KNOW RIGHT??]
Me: Oh, I just judged you for NOT JUDGING. Damnit I have a problem!
Now let’s back up one week. Let me set the scene.
Our babysitter was here watching our kiddo during the final week of the world’s longest break because I had to work (for real) and my husband had to work or else he would go certified stir-crazy (also true).
The sitter came and watched our kid in our house. Our messy, grimy, needs-deep-cleaning-so-bad-I-can-taste-it house. Our sitter–a self-professed “OCD neat freak” — was likely breaking out in hives all week after being forced to be in the grime. Of course that was what I was imagining.
Every morning before she came I cleaned like a madwoman, cursed about whoever didn’t put their shoes away, decided my husband and child were the World’s Messiest Human Beings, and generally felt my stress level go up ten notches.
Dear people, this was because I was worried about what my 22-year-old babysitter thought of my messy house. Yes. A young woman who has no children, no spouse, no full-time job. WHAT THE ACTUAL :!@#IE?!
Oh, might I add that I assumed she was judging me. It is also possible she showed up, shrugged her shoulders, and carried on without a thought. Either way, why do I care?
Well, I care because at the end of the day I am ashamed of my dirty house. ASHAMED. I mean that is a powerful word right? And why am I ashamed? Because my dear, loving mother kept the most immaculate, clean, neat, tidy house you can imagine. My dear mother who would care for everyone in our house from the moment she arose to the end of the day, 11pm at night, sitting and folding laundry while finally doing something for herself: watching some tv. WHILE FOLDING LAUNDRY.
Guess what I do. Are you ready for this? I work all day, and after putting my kid to bed, sit and watch tv. WITHOUT FOLDING LAUNDRY. I let it pile up like nobody’s business. Or, I sit and write (like now!) rather than clean, or I sit and paint rather than clean.
As I type this I hear my mom in my ear. Tears well in my eyes as I type this: Sarah, you are being so hard on yourself. She also adds, with a chuckle, that housekeeping has never exactly been my strong suit. (She would also be correct. I have always preferred writing, painting, and day-dreaming to sock-matching . My daughter, who very much likes her socks to match, will sometimes come over and say quite-seriously: “Mommy, good job! Your socks match today!”)
Yeah, I might have a self-compassion problem. In fact, I do, according to self-compassion.org! (An actual website with an actual quiz.) Yes, it turns out there is a quiz for it. Because the universe has impeccable timing, Brené Brown’s “The Gifts of Imperfection” arrived yesterday, and I flipped directly to the self-compassion chapter which had a link to that website listed.
http://self-compassion.org/. Drum roll for the results….
Yeah…I’d say that maybe the word for 2017 will be self-compassion.
Me: HI, MY NAME IS SARAH.
Everyone else: HI SARAH!
Me: I AM A HUMAN! I AM IMPERFECT, LIKE ALL THE OTHER HUMANS!
Everyone else: WELCOME TO HUMANS-ANONYMOUS, SARAH!
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