Thursday, May 29, 2014

Love Thyself

Loving myself is one of the most important things I've learned how to do.  Not a narcissistic wow I'm awesome and perfect kind of love, but the kind of love that allows me to take care of myself when things get rough. The kind of love that says, I know you're down, I know you're hurting, maybe you messed up or are feeling sorry for yourself, but that’s okay, I love and accept you anyway.
There are times when life just beats you down. Sometimes there is a friend or family member who will call, or visit. Or someone who cares will do something nice like bring you food or get you out of the house, but no one will sit by your side and make you get out of bed, make you go on with your life. There is no one who can repair your hurts or take away your anguish.
I have developed a tactic to get me through these times. For me there is no other answer than the old adage “one day at a time.” When I am in a slump for any extended period of time there comes a day when I know it’s time to move on. So I decide I am going to do one thing, just one thing today just for me. I am going to do it consciously, and I am going to do it right.  There is nothing overwhelming about one little thing, I can approach this with confidence even on my worst days.
Sometimes it’s making a meal. Going into the kitchen to bake bread, and make homemade soup. I will think about what I am doing, I will be thankful for having good food to make and the time to prepare it. I will take in smells, and notice the rhythm of slicing and dicing. I will force out every other thought other than the enjoyment I get from preparing a good meal for myself and my family.
Or maybe I need to get out side, I’ll put on my favorite tennis shoes put my hair up and walk out the door. If it’s cold I’ll take note of how the brisk air braces my skin, how it makes me feel alive. If it’s warm I’ll notice how the sun on my face relaxes my whole body. And then I’ll run. I’ll run if the pain is the angry and aggressive kind, and as I run I will listen to the rhythm of my feet hitting the ground, feel my heart beating in my chest, pumping my blood through my body.  I will be thankful. Thankful that although there are so many things I have no power over, I do have a healthy strong body and the power to move myself forward.
Or I’ll walk. I'll walk if the pain is the meandering and contemplative kind.  I’ll wander down the road and notice the sounds of the birds and the river. I'll stop and breathe in the fresh air and be thankful that I can just wander in peace.
I have come through many tough times this way. Doing just one thing a day, not thinking about insurmountable obstacles or worries of the future or pain of the past, just to be present with myself, and conscious of task I have chosen for that moment.

Whatever it is that you do, to love and care for yourself will work. Paint, yoga, meditate, run, walk, bike, cook, spend time with your cat or dog, it doesn't matter as long as it is done only for you. And that it’s done with intent. The intention being self care. There is something inside each of us that no one else other than ourselves knows how to care for. You are the expert, and you hold the key to healing your heart.

As an afterthought, I realise that I am only capable of caring for others as much as I am able to care for myself. So in order to give true love and grace to the people I care for in my life, I must give it to myself first. 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Power Of Emotion

I have heard of a condition referred to as being a  “sensitive” I don’t know if this is a real condition, or learned behavior or what, but I do know I know people who seem to more strongly affected by the emotions of those around them than others. I also believe we are all affected to some extent by the moods and emotions of the people around us.
I know for myself I am strongly repelled by anger, aggression, and drama. I’m usually a friendly open person but when I encounter situations where there are high levels of anger or aggression I clam up and exit the situation or avoid people who emote those things regularly.
On the other hand, I am strongly compelled by the emotions of genuine pain or hurt; I feel it deeply and am drawn to try to sooth those people. Weather I have known them for years or hardly at all it doesn't matter, something pulls me to want to comfort them. That being said these aren't’ the people who emote depression, chronic insecurity or hopelessness, those people seem to suck the air out of a room, and drain the energy of those close to them. I don’t have the fortitude to spend very long with this type of person.
Then there all the people who emote joy, and happiness, they have a light that seems to attract others. These people are easy to recognize, you are drawn to them, being around them just feels good. I think there are fewer of this type of person, the ones who are just naturally full of optimism an joy.
It gets me reflecting about how we emote, and the effect it has on those around us. Because it will have an effect, regardless of whether we want it to.  Our emotions aren't just a private internal experience; we emanate them. They can be seen and felt by others, some people will be more keenly aware of them than others.  

For some it easy to be light and joy, that’s just who they are, but for the rest of us I believe it is a daily struggle to be aware of what we are attracting or repelling with our emotions. I think the full range of emotions are healthy and should be felt to their full extent, but to linger too long on the negative spectrum will draw unwanted experiences and people into our lives.