Taking time for self care is not always something I have been great at. I struggle with that every-fixed sense of guilt and shame when I am not doing and so I run myself ragged taking on all of the “things”. I’m sure many of you can relate - we forget to “be” and focus on the “do” and the “go”. But at what cost? In the last few months, my plate has been overflowing - some good, exciting and empowering AND some draining, overwhelming and if I am being honest, incongruent to my true goals, intentions and dreams.
A week ago, my mom came to visit and as much as I was ruminating about everything I still “had” to get done”, I stressed about how to make sure she had a “good time”. I made several agendas for her to look at and scheduled time to get all of those other nagging things done. But after she sat, patiently letting me talk to her about all of this her first night, she simply said, “I am not here because I have to do anything. I am here to be with you.” And as uncomfortable as the idea was, I put the agendas away and tried to just be. And what’s worse? When I told her about the things that I “needed” to do, she used my OWN psychology against me, replying, “What’s the worst that would happen if you didn’t do that this week.” And as the student became the teacher, I took a deep breath, and let those pressures go - or, I guess, more realistically, attempted to dislodge the feeling of urgency so strongly tied to them.
This past week, I worked on listening to my body and being in the moment. We worked out together, we cleaned the house, went out for happy hour, tried a few new things, sat up talking, and binge watched Grace & Frankie on Netflix. The day never started with a set plan. I even let myself sleep in without using my alarm (which is a big deal for me). And after the first couple of days of fighting the voice of resistance, shame and guilt, it got easier. The voices were there but they lessened. And eventually, they started clearing up and giving away to the voice of curiosity, reflection and exploration.
Taking time out to clean up the house or make food together, I started to think about how much I’ve felt out of touch with those tasks of building and truly living in your space. I rush through my house with anxiety and distress, going from one thing to the next and resent the work that a home needs to stay open, empowering and supportive.
We got out and went to fun events, like building the wall-hanging fern (pictured) or Enfoque which was a celebration event for Costa Rican culture where I was reminded about how much I like to create - whether its art, curiosity and connections.
Throughout our many late-night conversations, I realized how much my time in these 6 months has changed me and how, while it is easy to fall into patterns of over-performing, lined with safety and comfort, that it is not what I want, need or deserve in my life.
In this time, beyond just spending quality time with my mom, I reset myself back to my goals, intentions and dreams - something I know many of you have heard me talk about in regards to your own lives. And it is not a shameful thing to admit (though many of us would rather not) when we lose our way. It’s like meditation. Our brain wonders. Our mind is layered with art experiences, shame, core beliefs, misplaced boundaries, and more. Of course it is hard to stay true to your goals, intentions and dreams. We will wonder. The important thing, as I was reminded this week, is to invite the opportunity to reset. Stay in the discomfort of not “doing” for a bit and check in with yourself about who you want to be, where you want to go and the why behind it all. And when you do, assess the things in your life and find the courage to make the hard choices that need to be made in our to refocus your energy and attention.
And just remember, those choices may not be easy. I have a really fancy degree in working through this “stuff” and no matter what I tell myself, the fear is present. The battle between appeasing and pleasing others versus following your true path is tumultuous but that does not mean it is not worth it. It is just about being courageous enough to keep taking steps forward.