I've done the most amazing thing this week. It's so inspired me that here I am writing again even though I never seem to find time. I'm making time!! Yay! It's so great to find it possible. I am currently listening to a lecture for my study at the same time. Aren't we wonderful creatures (women...and perhaps some men) that we can manage to do two things at once. There's lots of stuff written out there about being focused on one thing at a time to do them well, but I'm giving this a shot because, well...I'm in the mood!
My amazing thing is dead simple really. I've been setting my phone alarm for 5.55am and dragging myself upright, striking a match to light a candle on the bedside table, then staring at the flame until the next alarm at 6.15 (set on buzz or vibrate cos I don't want this time to end to Bluegrass) then I blow out the candle and go back to 'sleep' until the next alarm at 6.30. This is what I call 'meditation practice'. I know, purists will scoff, but for me this is a good thing. Okay, on day three I could barely lift my head off the pillow due to very little shut-eye (can't remember why now, but you know, just another restless night), so I didn't actually light the candle until 6.45 but I still did it before getting up and showering for work. Four days running. I'm doing great and I'm going to keep going.
I can't really explain how this simple dedication is working, but somehow I feel better. Perhaps it's just that I'm being true to myself. I decided to do this thing and I'm doing it. I have announced it on the page where fellow students chat with me so there is a level of accountability which is quite a good motivator too. But really I just want to do this for me. Because I've been carrying a lot lately and I need to start being kinder to myself by upping my self-care routines. And surely stress management is a kind of self-care that is super important. How are you doing with that?
I was doing pretty crap at it really. It's not like I don't know what I can do to take better care of myself. It's just that sometimes I get a bit overwhelmed with life and when that happens I think about eating 'comfort' foods rather than doing things that are really going to do me some good. In many ways the things I choose to do make the load greater by overloading my digestive system and making me feel lethargic. So it really counts when I am doing one positive thing for myself. It's not exercise so it's not that hard to motivate myself on this one.
I'm not a morning person. I've always considered myself a bit of a night owl. But gosh, it's so lovely to be up early and enjoy the freshness of those first daylight hours. I know, I'm laying back down after my meditation for now, but I know that if I keep using my meditation 'muscle', it will get stronger and I'll be wanting to get up afterwards instead of collapsing in a heap. I know it's important to start with what I can do now.
In the past I've done crazy things like working out super hard on my first trip to a gym and not being able to even move the next day (never went back of course). Or pushing myself so hard on a group bush walk that I needed to be carried the last several hundred metres to my car. That, by the way, was absolutely, horribly embarrassing, because everyone else was way older than me! I was only in my late teens and thought I'd be just fine doing the Intermediate Bush Walk (having rarely walked further than the post box before that - but how hard could it be??). How wrong I was. My muscles all seized up with the uric acid or whatever was being released into my blood stream with all that vigorous exercise. It was not a bit pretty. I never went walking with that group again because I was just so humiliated. I was so sure they wouldn't want to have me back again. Sad really. I didn't like the leeches looping towards me on the rocks near the waterfall at lunchtime either. Bit off-putting.
Anyway, there it is. It's a tiny little practice to help me build my commitment to doing more and doing better. It's really down to this. You have to start where you are with what you can do now. Every little thing that takes me towards feeling better is a great thing and to be celebrated. That's how I feel tonight. Celebratory.
What are you doing to help yourself? Tell me about your little life successes...or your challenges. I'd love to hear from you.