It isn't often that we can truly take the time to take care of ourselves. I know that now, as a single parent, there are less moments of solitude, less time for exercise, and less nutritional value in whatever I'm throwing down my throat while I'm running from play practice to piano lessons. Add all of this to the fact that I work at a psychiatric facility and am somewhat of an empath, and you might imagine that my body and the energies therein can get pretty toxic. I tend to suck it up like a sponge and have to figure out where to put the "stuff" I absorb. I bought a big Native American basket that sits on my porch. My goal was to symbolically empty myself before I entered the door of my home each day. But most days, my hands are so full juggling keys, my purse, my cell phone and the kids' clutter, the basket just becomes a pretty fixture without much of a function. After working seven months straight without any real "down" time, I decided to take a week for myself and heal my soul.
Now you have to put this into perspective. I left Pennsylvania on November 25, 2011. I arrived in Florida on November 28. My birthday is November 30. Last year at this time, there was a lot of change and transition and excitement. Thank goodness I had a very special friend to help me process it one day at a time. But this year was the first anniversary and there was so much more emotion. Again, I found myself caught between feeling the thrill of success that I survived one year, and the reality and the sadness that I now had a year between me and what used to be my normal. I found myself wishing I could go back to the life I once lived and somehow make it all better, but knew deep down inside with great agony that it would never truly be the same. It was now I who had changed. And that message came: "You cannot move onto the next chapter if you're too busy re-reading the previous one." It was time to move forward, but in order to do so, I had to get healthy - really healthy again. For 11 straight days, I took care of me - for the first time in my life and I logged everything I did so that I had record of it. Now that I've begun such a good habit, I plan to continue, even after I head back to work tomorrow.
In 11 days I:
Enjoyed a non-traditional Thanksgiving with dear friends, painting irreverent Turkey Hand T-shirts, watching the Macy's Day Parade and the American Kennel Club Dog show; going to Golden Corral for Thanksgiving Dinner and checking out a movie - not too shabby for my first Thanksgiving away from "home". Reconnected with the Bestie. Had my life choices affirmed by a Georgia boy "redneck". Attended a drum circle. Exchanged Veggie Tales quotations with a coworker via text: Good Belly Laugh. Native American flute music and Dreamlite stars on the ceiling.
Worked against my spirit of fear and helped my daughter perform Youth Sunday. Performed a liturgical dance with my youngest. Acted as Cantor. Helped put up the church Christmas tree. Watched Ravens football at Beef O'Brady's with friends. Wrote my first blog in three years.
Slept in. Ate my favorite breakfast: salmon cream cheese on a bagel with Pumpkin Coffee from Dunkin Donuts - yummo! Went walking in my favorite park. Listened to Adele while I walked. Saw a bank full of turtles and Koi in the pond. Absorbed nature. Yoga and meditation. Made plans to help someone. Made plans to spend time with someone.
Pampered myself. Took a hot bath and relaxed. Pampered myself some more. Made tuna on toast. Music, cleaning, laundry = accomplishment. Hot tea. Swai fillets broiled with linguine parmesan.
Sat with an elderly gentleman - Bestie's dad. Listened to his stories. Tried to help him through his Dementia-related anxiety. Encouraged him to eat. He didn't fight. I joined him: Chunky Chicken Noodle Soup with an accidental overdose of After Death Hot Sauce. Cooled it down with sour cream - good stuff.
Restarted my favorite book and Spiritual/Metaphysical guide:Sacred Contracts by Carolyn Myss. Started a journal with it. Whoa the awakenings! Went walking with Zoe. Was invited to dinner: Spaghetti and Meatballs. (Notice how much I enjoy food?)
10 loads of laundry and cleaning. Re-organized closets. Donated three garbage bags of clothes to Good Will. Got a puppy. Had Oma's turkey chowder for lunch. Visited with the Bestie. Relished my daughters. Hugs and kisses before bedtime. Native American flute music and stars.
Bought new yarn. Started crocheting a blanket for the Bestie for Christmas. Took a long drive - mind wandering, wondering what is the next step and decided I don't need an answer right now. Cuddled with the puppy. Fell asleep. Received birthday present from my mom: new purse, Mary Kay cleansers, foot scrubs and lotions, lip glosses and new earrings. My mom is the best.
Had a spa day to try out my new stuff. Got all prettied up. Went to a Pottery Studio with the Bestie.
Did some glazing on her pieces. Bestie treated me to Mexican for my Birthday. Listened to Ellen play guitar with her friends as an audience. Knitted a sweater for the puppy. Met the Bestie for a Birthday shot. Home to sleep: Native American flute music and stars.
Happy Birthday to me! Slept in. Mexican leftovers for lunch. Sang karaoke. Visited Native American store. Bought Medicine Wheel book and a Walnut turtle bookmark. Had a Mango Boba Tea. Subway - eat fresh. Bought yarn and dog treats. Worked on the Bestie's blanket. Showered with the products - I'm loving my new beauty regimen. Had a Karaoke Birthday party with my Bestie and crew. Rocked five songs. Received phenomenal presents: Turtle Diva T-shirt and perfume. Native American flute music and stars.
Woke up the next day - stiff as can be. Pinched something in my neck. Lay in bed with my favorite book and my crochet and figured out how to hold my arms up without pain. Popped some ibuprofen and a fluid pill and by nightime, I was back on my feet. Went shopping with the Bestie. Bought expensive shampoo and didn't regret it. Found a heartstone at House of Claddaugh. Was surprised with a Crab Fest at the Bestie's house - four dozen blue crabs to be exact. Returned back home to crochet and read. Native American flute music and stars.
Woke up to a big fresh pot of coffee and my book and my journal with a mission to finish. Performed a smudging ceremony to center myself. Accomplished my mission and finished the book - I had been promising myself to finish the book and its accompanying exercises for over 18 months now. Unraveled the mystery of who I am and how my purpose in life serves and will serve those who I meet along the way. Beautified myself one more time, feeling stronger and happier than ever. Went to the grocery store and was disrespected by the clerk. Instead of recoiling into my Victim role, I addressed her with confidence: huge victory over victimhood. Went to the Bestie's to watch the Ravens. Ate some leftover crabs. Had another victory against victimhood when I returned home. Processed it all and gave thanks for the opportunity to change my life in this way. Typed this blog to share it with you. Native American flute music and stars.