so i’ve had a bit of a rough time this past month. this may or may not be shocking to you assuming i mostly emote a rainbow brite likeness, but i have. it might have been winters death rattle or a particularly stressful time at work or a collection of small but collectively looming inconsequentials but whatever the root, it was whacking me in the face with its musty overcoat and putting me in bed at 8pm.
worse than the shameful for seniors bed time was my inability to openly discuss my blues with anyone, including jeremy, who often times would lay beside me, hand on my brow, looking on with patience and care and a bit of worry.
going through tough times is hard and almost harder (or more annoying?) when there isn’t a clear direction to point the blame. when your life is good but you feel like a poop-sicle the only person who can pull you from the trenches is you.
after landing on some strategies to save myself from myself, i thought i’d share. after all, what’s the point of going through anything alone if you can’t tell a story on the other side?
strategy number 1: no eating in front of the television. we already did away with cable almost two years ago which means no more commercials but doesn’t mean we’re immune to dvd/netflix marathons and zoning out in front of the boob tube has started to feel less like entertainment and more like escapism. plus, i’d rather BE buffy the vampire slayer than WATCH buffy the vampire slayer.
eating your food and looking at your food and thinking about your food has some definite benefits too, like awareness and conscious chewing and thankfulness for my husbands face looking at me while i learn how to eat without slopping pasta sauce down my front.
strategy number 2: meditate for 15 minutes every day. i hesitate to write this strategy down yet because i’m TERRIBLE at it. like so bad it’s embarrassing. the minute i close my eyes it’s like every thought i’ve ever had, am having, or will ever have comes crashing into mind like a battering ram without manners. i’m trying ‘mindfulness meditation’ which is the best kind for me because it allows these thoughts to continue naturally, the trick is to not hang on to any of them. it’s without a doubt the hardest thing i’ve ever attempted but i’m trying and i believe that it will have a positive effect on my life.
maybe this strategy could more accurately be called ‘try something every day you’re terrible at’ and maybe the lesson i’m learning isn’t meditation, but perseverance.
jeremy got me a cd from the library that has sounds of the ocean paired with wood instrument music which is more new age than it sounds if that’s possible. i light some candles and i sit on a cushion and i try to get through it without my brain exploding and i think there’s something to that. and maybe there’s something to sharing that too.
strategy number 3: eat less sugar. i don’t actually eat a lot of sugar anyways (apart from when i bake something and eat half as a test) so this strategy is an easy way to decrease my stress level. sugar is bad for you. especially refined. and it does crazy things to your internal stuff like spikes everything upwards quickly and throws it down a hill shortly after. those aren’t medical terms but you get the picture. i’ve been looking at lots of different stress reduction tips and this is on almost all of them.
also on those lists is drinking less coffee but i only have one cup a day and let’s not be dramatic.
strategy number 4: breathe deeply and drink more water. these are like caveman basics and yet i find it super trooper challenging to take a big, deep breath and remember to drink 8 glasses of water a day. jeremy suggested a deep breathing exercise not long ago and i physically could not which was worrisome and upsetting and might have been the proverbial straw on my imaginary camel's back. my breath would get stuck in my chest or my throat and i had no connection to it and the more i tried the more i felt like i was just gasping for air.
breath and water are everything. they're life. and not just as quoted on a lululemon bag, it’s the gospel gosh honest truth. breathing delivers oxygen to all the places it’s needed (everywhere) and water keeps our insides functioning smoothly and gladly and we are made of water and we are alive because we breathe. if all i do in a day is take some time to breathe deeply and drink plenty of water, i want to feel like a success because of that. i might even give myself a sticker.
jeremy is always telling me to breathe and drink water and i'm usually like WHAT DOES THAT HAVE TO DO WITH ANYTHING but it has EVERYTHING to do with EVERYTHING and jeremy is a wise teacher without even knowing it.
strategy number 5: less internet on the weekends. this past weekend i didn’t go on the internet once and it had a dramatic impact on how i felt. working in an office i stare at a computer most of my day and oddly, find myself back there when i get home not because i love the tranquil buzz of the monitor but because it’s habit and i’m bored. it’s tricky because my blog is online and i love writing on here, but writing while facebook and youtube and etsy and gmail are up and running is completely different than writing with no other windows up and no other intent than to write.
strategy number 6: less multi-tasking, more single-tasking. why do one thing when you can do three? because you aren’t doing any of those three things justice. you aren’t giving them your full attention or focus or mindfulness. multi-tasking stops being effective and starts being detrimental when you actually start to lose your ability to focus on one thing at a time like i feel i have. i can vacuum and feather dust and do the fox trot whilst juggling but i can’t read a book without looking to see where the chapter ends and wondering what i should wear to our 10th anniversary. that's a problem and i`m committed to trying to fix it. right after i sew a quilt and swing at this pinata.
strategy number 7: i don’t know what i’m talking about. i love these strategies. i love these strategies and i love that when i’m writing them and thinking about them i’m convincing myself they will work in helping me become more aware, happier, more connected to the inner me. i love these strategies because i’m attached to lists to help me get somewhere and i don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. so this seventh strategy is in place to remind myself that i know nothing and that my only real goal is to try with honesty and patience and a bit of good humour.
you have to go easy on yourself. allow gaps for mistakes. do some video tape yoga with your husband in the livingroom and crack up at the parts where the instructor chants. we’re not images of perfection in the boring sense of the word. what we are is glorious and flawed and collectively unsure of the giant everything that we don't know. or as leonard cohen tells us:
“there’s a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.”
yeah yeah – exactly.