Monday, June 26, 2017

A case of the Mondays.

I'm being gentle with myself this morning.  Sometimes that's the best option.

I feel empty and tired and sad.  I don't know why.  Feelings don't always have identifiable sources.  I do know that it will pass, and I will do my best to simply wait it out.


Sunday, June 25, 2017

Present Presence.

Oh good grief.  I've fallen for the oldest trick in the brain book.

I've been in a bit of a funk all weekend, and as I laid in bed this morning (until well after 9am, mind you) it finally dawned on my why.  It goes like this: I've been in a space of making decisions about where I'd like to be in a year, two years, five years.  Decisions are great!  Planning, wahoo!  Goals, fantastic!  I've been hyper-focused on all these things that I'm going to do.  Going to do.  And of my present?  Um.  Whoops.

So, time to bring it on back.  I don't think there's anything wrong with looking toward the future occasionally.  After all, how to we point our rudders in the right direction without looking off toward the horizon from time to time?  (Yeah, I watched Moana yesterday.)  But our energies need to be firmly rooted in the now to actually feel good about life.

I've got my plans in place.  I know what I need to do each and every day to bring those plans to fruition.  So I need to focus on doing those things well and with fidelity, and also on improving my life in the now, not in the future.  Thanks for the reminder, brain.  I should probably go clean some stuff.


Saturday, June 24, 2017

Black Lives Matter.

Hello dear friends.  There will be no ponies today.  Today I'd like to address the trauma involved in people of color witnessing other people of color being killed - why pull punches?  murdered - for little or nothing more than the fact that they are people of color. 

On June 16th the officer who murdered Philando Castile was found "not guilty."  In the wake of this verdict, new footage from the night of the incident was released showing his fiance and daughter moments after the shooting had taken place.  Watching these videos is severely triggering people, particularly people who live in fear of dying or losing loved ones in this way.

So I'd like to address it, but as a white person who has no personal experience with this specific trauma I'm not really qualified to do so.

Instead, here are some of the articles I've found written by people of color about this trauma and the self care that it requires.  I hope they are helpful.

Of note: while none of the articles I'm linking to contain images or videos of violence, some do contain links to such images and videos.  Please use caution if you are being triggered by this content.

Self Care for People of Color after Psychological Trauma

The Little Understood Mental Health Effects of Racial Trauma

5 Self-Care Practices People Of Color Can Use While Coping With Trauma

Why We Need Self-Care In The Face Of Race-Based Trauma

Black Health Matters

When black death goes viral, it can trigger PTSD-like trauma


What can white people like me do to support people of color when these horrific events occur?




Friday, June 23, 2017

Decided.

Friends.  They're great aren't they?  My friend Beth convinced me to read a book that I *never* would have read otherwise.  It's called "You're a Badass," and it's a self help book.  And it's got a ton of nonsense in it, but it also has some high points.  And I believe it was pivotal in my ever-growing epiphany.  Thanks Beth!

Specifically, the book discusses the difference between wanting to do something and deciding to do something.  And it made me realize that when I decide to do something - really, truly decide that it is going to happen - it happens.  Every time.  Maybe not exactly how I envisioned or planned it, but I roll with the punches along the way and I get the intended outcome.

Let's take, for example, finishing college.  I went to college straight out of high school because I was told that I must, and not for any other reason really.  I was pretty profoundly ill both physically and mentally, and I didn't know why I was there, so it's not surprising that I spent five years more or less just dicking around and screwing up my GPA.  And then, right around when I determined that my second major wasn't going to pan out, I finally decided to Be In College.  I stopped skipping class.  I started doing the reading before the lecture.  I took detailed notes in class and copied them back over with a color coded system every night.  And I wound up with a 3.8 in my new major and graduated with honors.  That is the power of decision (and, of course, better health).

My most recent decision is to go to Hawaii.  And guess what folks?  I've got tickets.  It's happening.

When is the last time you made a real decision?  What do you want to do that you need to actually decide on?


Thursday, June 22, 2017

Grown up, or something.

The epiphany that I had during my staycation keeps evolving.  All good epiphanies do this; it's part of their magic.  As you may recall, the initial epiphany was that I am tired of my own bullshit.  Its evolution is getting into the nitty-gritty.  Exactly what bullshit, Melissa?

Well, I've started making a list of what I'm calling "low-level sh*t."  (Apparently this epiphany curses.) As in, things I do that drag me down.  It includes things like "not replacing burnt out lightbulbs" and "letting trash accumulate in the car."  Certainly there are bigger things, but you get the picture.  It's the things we all do every day, or maybe fail to do, that keep us from living our best lives.  I intend to quit that noise.

What is your low-level sh*t?  What would it take for you to quit it?


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Abundant Summer.

Happy First Day of Summer!  Or, you know, Winter for any southern hemisphere friends.

For a few weeks now I've been studying and thinking about the Hindu goddess Lakshmi.  She is the goddess of abundance, beauty, and all-around enough-ness.  And she has done her work on me.

From time to time I get to feeling like I'm deprived in some way.  So today what I'd like to do is not so much humble-brag as remind myself not to be ungrateful, and to appreciate how much I actually have.  My life is absolutely overflowing with abundance that shows itself in seemingly countless ways:
  • A loving partner
  • An inspiring mentee / ward / teen best friend
  • Dear, super-fun friends
  • A rad sister
  • A house
  • A Netflix account
  • A Pandora account
  • A Spotify account
  • An unlimited yoga subscription
  • A car
  • A gym membership
  • A good job
  • Health insurance
  • More than enough food
  • More than enough clothes and shoes
  • So many books I haven't read
Y'all.  Even if that were the whole list, which it isn't, my life is demonstrably SWEET.  What this means is that any sense of lack is not a lack of love, company, objects, things to do, or places to do them, but instead a lack in my perception.  Which means that I have the power to change it.  That doesn't mean that changing it is easy, but I do believe that it is possible.

Are you taking any abundance for granted, or are you appreciating it to the fullest?

 

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Rites of Spring Cleaning

Yesterday my mind was fogged, but I was also restless.  So I did the only thing I could do: I cleaned.  I cleaned my yoga room with more intensity, in fact, than I may have ever cleaned a room before.  I swept.  I vacuumed.  I cleaned the windows.  I got on my hands and knees to scrub the baseboards.  I climbed a ladder.  I moved furniture.

When people ask me whether I enjoy cleaning, I always answer with an emphatic "no."  But honestly, I think I do.  I don't enjoy chores that must be done over and over again, but I do really get something out of cleaning the hell out of a space and then seeing it sparkle.  I am never more content than when I'm in a totally clean room.

So naturally I want to do this to every room in my house.  Given enough time, I will.

Are you more comfortable when things are clean?  What barriers do you face in keeping them that way?


Monday, June 19, 2017

(Mani)Cured.

On Saturday I engaged in one of the more typical self care rituals we see promoted in magazines and lisicles: I got a manicure.  For the first time since 2010.

The event itself was whatever.  Outside of a good massage, which is more like therapy, I don't get much out of "being pampered."  Frankly it makes me a little uncomfortable.  Having my nails look nice, on the other hand, is rather lovely.  It makes me feel like maybe I have myself together just a little bit more than usual.

I go back to work today after the staycation.  I'm a little nervous, but nothing compared to what I would have been not long ago - finding the right balance of medication and yoga sure is miraculous.  I also think the nails are helping.  Really!  It may sound funny, but I feel more confident typing when my hands look more, I dunno, professional?  Looks are so unimportant in the greater scheme of things, but they can also be used to our advantage to make uncomfortable situations less so.

I'm thinking that a manicure may become one of my seasonal rituals, like changing the A/C filters and washing my car.  Looking at my sparkling gold nails brings me a fair amount of joy for a relatively small amount of money.  And I deserve a little more sparkle in my life.

Do you need a taste of the shine that a manicure could provide?


Sunday, June 18, 2017

Staycation Recap - a not very long somewhat strange trip.

It was good to wake up in my own bed this morning.  My bed is, in case you were wondering, the most comfortable bed on earth.  Really.  Come try it sometime.  (Then get on out.  It's my bed.  You can't have it.)

I went into my staycation with the dual intentions of taking a break from my everyday life and getting some clarity.  I believe that I accomplished both of these things.  I went places and ate things that I haven't experienced before, which is always good for the brain.  And I did get some clarity, as follows: I am so tired of my own bullshit.  I am tired of the excuses that I make.  I am tired of not taking the best possible care of myself and then being disappointed by the results.  I am tired of spending money on foolishness and then not having the financial situation I want.  I am tired of it all, and I am resolved to be better.

Here's another piece that feels related.  Since I was a child, my default reaction to a challenge has been "I can't do that."  Granted, there are plenty of things that I believe I can do.  But there are so many things that I haven't ever tried, failing at them before I begin.  Lately though, an interesting thing has happened in yoga.  I see a new pose that looks daunting and I think, "I wonder if I can do that?"  And I try.  And as my therapist pointed out to me yesterday, there's an important second piece to this.  When I try and discover that I can't, what I think is I can't yet.  With a fair degree of certainty - faith, some might say - that I will be able to if I keep working.

Here's the extra beautiful part: it's not just in yoga.  I'm starting to feel this way about life in general.  It's what they call an "off the mat" experience.  Ha!  How cheeseball!  How magnificent!

I won't go into details about how I plan to live my life differently henceforth.  I'm not going to talk about it.  I'm just going to do it.

Have you had a break that's lent you some clarity?  Do you need one?



Saturday, June 17, 2017

Staycation Conclusion

Home again home again.  I have returned to my not-so-humble abode and found it much as I left it.  I'm glad that I spent some time away, and I'm glad to be back.  I have some reflecting to do on what I have gleaned.  But that will happen tomorrow.