Sunday, May 15, 2022

Self-Care is Work!

 



When I think self-care, I think of bubble baths and alone time, spa days and reading in the sunshine.

But self-care is a lot more work than that.

Self-care is eating what feels right to my body.
Self care is getting up and doing yoga; resting my brain or meditating at the end of the day.
Self-care is regulating my thoughts and my actions so that every moment, I feel the way I want to feel, physically and mentally.

Turns out, that kind of self-care is really hard for me. 

It's easy to stop at the end of the day and reward my hard work with a book. Or two. (just one more chapter, I swear!)
It's less easy to close the door, turn on the computer and do the next yoga lesson or dance class. And I love yoga and dance; it's simply a lot less effort to read a book. Especially at the end of the day.

But I have done it before. And I know how awesome it felt after. And more, these days, I know how blech I feel if I don't. (Sigh.)

So, if I want to feel better, feel happier, feel more flexible and strong and capable, then I gotta put some focus into my daily self-care routine. I gotta give my body and mind the same respect and attention I would give to my other work. Not as punishment or homework or something I HaVE to do, but because I will feel so much happier after I do it.

Self-care does equal happiness. (And if I say it enough, I will believe it.)

All Right. Let's get to work!


Saturday, April 16, 2022

Whoop, there it is!

Some years ago, I joined Threshold Choir. It is an international group who sings songs for those who are crossing a threshold, most often the sick and dying. Most of the songs are written by (very talented) members. 

Soon after I joined, there was an international gathering in California, so I signed up and attended. Members led workshops; we learned new songs; there were meetings and greetings. It was lovely. 

The next year, the gathering was in Chicago. Not only did I attend, I led a workshop and I presented a song I had written. And someone made a comment, congratulating me on bursting onto the Threshold Choir scene. 

A comment which confused me for a very long time.

Because from my point of view, there was nothing sudden about my presentations. They were the natural result of my interests, the work I had done over the years, and a cumulation of the emotional and spiritual journeys I had completed. And to condense everything I wanted to say into those two formats, I had worked and written and sang and rewritten and agonized and rehearsed. There was absolutely no bursting. No wishing and it suddenly appeared. Just lots of energy put into it. And lots of dithering.

But from anyone else's point of view, looking back on the timeline, yes, I certainly burst onto the scene saying "Here I am! This is me!"

I think that all of life is like that. It may seem like things appear suddenly, or happen out of the blue, when actually there is a chain of events that lead, one step at a time, to an outcome. The best representation of this for me is the rune Ingwaz - the rune of the seed.

A seed is planted. Granted, a thousand seeds are planted. A thousand random thoughts flow in and out: a new dress, what's it like to fly, could I do something like that, that sounds good for dinner, did she really say that, I should clean my room. The butterfly flaps its wings over and over and over. 

And one or two of those seeds are going to take root. I would really like a new dress. I might like to have a clean room. One air current catches another air current and becomes a little stronger. 

And then the seed is watered and the current joins other winds - oh, I like that dress. Nope I'd never wear that dress. Ooh, let's try that one! Ugh, I can't believe I bought that. Try as I might don't look good in that color. I'd love to wear that but I keep looking at these. I do NOT need another olive green shirt, I want a dress! (Did I say I was going to clean my room?) 

Water and sunlight and some weeding out of the things we don't want to bloom and then, one day, Whoop! there it is. The perfect dress. The amazing job. The lovely sunset. The number on the scale and the final draft and the best meditation and the right dance teacher and the clean room. The wind that rushes musically through the trees. Because we sorted and sifted and focused and and connected and allowed it to come into being. 

We see and hear and think of so many possibilities. And we're (hopefully) going to focus on what we like, on what brings us joy, on what feels good. On the manifestations, daydreams, yearnings, energy that brings a smile to our face and peace to our heart. And when I can take a moment every day to give some focus to what I really want in my world, it will appear - whether it's the energy to do the job, or the random decision that leads me to the right store - a rush of wind through the trees, a bloom that wasn't there the day before.

And so, at this time of the full moon and Easter, may we all have a little extra fertilizer for the seed that we really want to see bloom next. Let us take a moment to believe in it and to know that is waiting, just under the soil, for the perfect time to burst upon the scene.

I hope you are having a blessed day!

-Lila

Monday, November 15, 2021

The middle of November

 And now, we’re at the middle of November. Can you believe it? Already here. And the perception shifts. Because the middle of November means it’s almost Thanksgiving. And Thanksgiving means it’s a month until Christmas. And Christmas is a few days after the Solstice. And the Solstice…

…the Solstice is when the sun starts coming back. Woot!

And so, I do my best to enjoy every day. To be in it. Because if I want the happy, long, getting warmer and warmer days to last, I have to let these days last too. It goes so quickly, it seems. Summer to winter to summer again. I barely have time to make plans before the sun is in a new seasonal pattern.

I still prefer the warm.

But suddenly, the annoying cold is tempered by the future, the promise of warmth.

Yay November!


Friday, November 12, 2021

A gloomy day is just a gloomy day

 Ah, dear November. Thank you so much for helping me realize there is a difference between a gloomy day and a gloomy mood.

Today was a very good day. I enjoyed the work I did; I had interactions with humans (which is always nice); I snuggled and snoozed with my kitty; and I received some good news. 

But weather wise, today was what I used to call a miserable day. Low gray clouds. Drizzle all day long. Fog everywhere. Hard to find the beauty, for me, because everything seemed the same color. Even the cars all looked gray. And no sunshine anywhere. At all. (Sob, whimper, whine.)

I think, from my surprise at my inner joy, that I am used to letting the weather be the barometer for my feelings. If it's a gray "nasty" day, then I'm going to end up in a nasty mood. Sorry, folks. That's just the way it is. Blame the weather.

But I wasn't in a nasty mood. I was in a good mood. Which means that not even the weather can dictate how I feel. (Triumphant fist in the air.) Yay!

The weather gets to be what it's going to be. Mother Nature is who she is and the seasons want what they want.

And I get to be and feel whatever I want to be and feel. Regardless of the excessive heat, the gloomy skies, the glorious sunsets, or the picture perfect day. 

So bring on the gloom -- oh, no, actually don't. I can accept the gloomy wintery days and still prefer the sunshine. Bring on the sunshine. But I can quietly accept that there will be future gloom.

And I can feel happy.

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Veteran's Day

 Today is the day we express our thanks to those who served in the military. 

If you're like me, that means honoring people in your own family, including a sibling.

I love action movies. The "old fashioned" ones where there was more dialogue and less slow-mo. I was also into "space opera" fiction,  which usually meant a space military of some sort. One of my favorite characters is Gunnery Sargent Torin Kerr, brought to life by Tanya Huff who is, I believe, herself a vet.

The fights, the high level of suspense, the pathos of characters being cut down, the daring last minute escapes, and of course the witty one-liners. I loved them. 

But to think of my family members in similar situations... gunfire, hostile territory, fearing for their lives and the lives of their team... that is not so entertaining. And not something I would ever, ever want to do.

So thank you, veterans, for the work you do, at home and away. Thank you clerical and medical and spiritual and linguistical and technical and armed persons. Thank you for the boring and mundane as well as the action.

And thank you Universe for bringing my vets safely home.



 

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

that takes me back

November makes me feel like a little kid. 



The cold in the mornings means "I don wanna!" leave my nest of fuzzy warm blankets, because I can never slip into my fuzzy warm robe and slippers fast enough to escape a wisp of cold.

The agonizing decision about whether to keep my head warm or keep my hair free from the inevitable hat static. (The hair usually wins.)

The evening when I'm sure that I can get one more chapter in even though my eyes are drooping over the book. 

Which leads to even greater reluctance to get out of bed in the morning.

I grant you, this is often a cycle no matter the season (including the fuzz blankets.)

 But in November, I feel it more. Because with the cold, I have a reason to stay in bed, right? It's self care, really. Keeping warm and snuggly in my happy place, snoozing with good music and story running through my head.

If only I didn't like the people I was working with and for. 

Sigh. Sometimes Happiness means making the tough choices.


Monday, November 8, 2021

Thankful for my Gratitude Practice

 

Honestly, when I first tried the “gratitude practice,” I thought it was another form of thinking positive, counting your blessings, covering over the issues. And, in a way, the act of trying to find something to be grateful for highlighted the frustrations currently being felt.

But I have since realized that expressing my gratitude is about a)focusing on the things I want to maintain in my life and/or empowering what I wish to align with; and b) honoring the things I like.

Today, I found another reason for the Gratitude Practice.

Because sometimes things we like, the things we love, leave.

Person, a skill, scenery, an experience -- things change all the time. We can hope and expect there will be a tomorrow, but we don't always have a say in when a season changes, or when an opportunity creates a whole new path.

Gratitude is a way of showing someone or something how much they are appreciated while they are in my life. Gratitude helps there be no regrets, even when we wish we had more time.

There is so much to experience in this world, and since we have all agreed there are only 24 hours in a day (and in November only about 8 of those hours are lighted), we may not always have all the time we want for each love. So for me, gratitude is a way of honoring the time spent together before my focus shifts.

And I am grateful for that. I am grateful to me that I do that. Because when I die and my life flashes before my eyes, I want it to be full of joy, with a soaring soundtrack and beautiful scenes. And abundant gratitude.