self-care

The Unexpected Delight

After morning yoga.
After I’ve rearranged the furniture.
I’ve cleared out space
mental and physical.

I welcome the movement, the sighs, the popping joints, 
the twists, the surprising strength.
The mental games that try to
take me away from the moment.

When I arrive in my mind and body, 
I find soul full awareness.

I am grateful for this body.
For the time carved out just for me.
There is no shame
as my strong thighs hold me upright.

The meanness of cultural norms in
what a pose should look like
what a body should look like.
I honorably greet both ends of the spectrum
and invite a small smile to my lips as I inhale
and clear out the mental clutter once more.

The morning birds are making loud short bursts 
even through the soft rain.
They too must meet their needs
and feed that hunger.

It feeds my soul and theirs 
to find a shared delight at another
glorious day to be on this earth.
To occupy the same space.
Breathe the same air
and each feel free in our own way.

Free from shame.
Free from stiffness and aches.
Feeling strong and in flight as I move my body
just like the little birds outside my window. 
We may not see the sun today
but we each welcome its arrival when it greets us once again.
Connection · shared stories

Our wild and unruly thoughts are not the whole story

We are all hurting. If there’s one thing we share in common, it’s that we all experience pain and/or suffering.

Our thoughts can hold us hostage and sabotage our present moment. For example, when I got my new job, my husband suggested, “Let’s spend some time celebrating!”  In an instant my mind shifted into forward thinking.  There’s childcare needs, a new wardrobe to purchase, and a general fear of the unknown.  That moment to celebrate was ever so brief.  Sweet but not fully experienced, not completely felt.  In hindsight, perhaps I should have taken a moment to savor the excitement and opportunity and let a feeling of gratitude set in.

It’s over too quickly and we can’t get it back. I had a similar experience when my 19-year old cat Max died.  My mom and I never followed through on our plan to memorialize him.  We were in a state of grief and I had to take care of my toddler.  We didn’t get the chance to properly mourn him.  As a result we suffered on our own and grieved alone.  Instead of holding each other, we kept it inside.  A few years have passed since then.  And I don’t know if we will ever be in that space again.

Our thoughts can run wild if we let them. They can rob us from the rich and healing experience of being fully present:  to how we are feeling or what is happening in this moment.  Now I try to pause when I notice my mind going rampant or rehashing the same story over and over.  I take a deep breath and think, “I’ve already spent enough time, space and energy on this.”  I soften and I take a moment to notice my surroundings.  “How is this story, forward or past thinking distracting me from the NOW?  Is it causing me undo stress?”  Of course, it is.

Then I ask the question, “How do I want to feel instead?”  Usually I want to feel relaxed, present and connected to my family.

And the final question, “What can I do to make that feeling a reality?”  Usually it’s taking a few box breaths or utilizing one of my self-care tools.  I’m a work in progress.  There are days when I forget my tools and I get lost in thought and distraction.  I lose my grounding and connection to myself and the present moment.  I’ve accepted the fact that I’m continuing to learn and re-learn what works for me, and I will always continue to do so.

Now it’s your turn. How do your thoughts affect you?  Are they distracting you from what’s going on right now?  Are they causing you undo stress?  If so, how do you want to feel instead?  And what can you do to make that feeling come true?

I send you peace.