My friend Suzie is an amazingly strong woman that recently drove from Alaska to Florida. Living here in Florida while her husband is in Alaska, due to health reasons on her part. Her strength amazes me. Her courage astounds me. When she asked if she could write for 1000 voices of Compassion Speak, I didn’t even hesitate.
Gratitude, to me, is that rush of feeling, a hot liquid sensation and sense of triumph after the release of cramped abdominal muscles far south of the belly button and the relief, knowing I have made it to the white commode in time. In time for what, one might ask? In time to avoid a future that includes changing one’s clothes and hunting up a washcloth for a partial bath . Hurrying along on a walker is a harrowing experience of balance, pain, frustration, determination and acceptance of whatever outcome. It wouldn’t have been the first time for an “accident” and it won’t be the last. Gratitude is in the moment, in a bathroom. From the abyss of the couch cushions, my cell phone merrily played its country jazz text alert song repeatedly until a woman, near driven to insanity, finally located it, banished it into my friend’s safekeeping and it was delivered back into my hands. Gratitude was what I felt, affectionate amusement was what I saw in my friend Erin’s face. I was thankful to not have to purchase another, lose all the phone numbers I have collected, and briefly resolved to copy them all into an address book, the traditional paper way. This commitment will hopefully last, and be remembered, after a brief nap. I am not grateful for my useless swollen right foot. At least I have a right foot, but I would prefer a useful prosthetic piece of plastic just so long as I could go for a bicycle ride, although diving into the ocean wouldn’t be as easy. My left ankle now aches from the strain of trying to give the right one a respite. I wait, grateful, I suppose, that I am in snow and ice free Florida, not predictably dangerous Alaska where walking without twisting an ankle is a daily test. I failed that test numerous times, although not directly due to precipitous conditions. I have gratitude for owning this computer and using it as a vehicle of frustrated self expression. Creative whining. If my ankles were in good repair I wouldn’t be using this computer. If I weren’t thinking about gratitude, I would be doing what exactly? Unsure.
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I bet you think by the title this is going to be a long list. It’s not. Two things. Each count for Five.
We went on a family hike. We lost the map. We ran out of water. We got lost. I passed the time for my heart meds. Basically those all together qualify as a good reason to call 911 emergency number. Maggie and Jay were fine. Thisty and hungry but fine. Me? While on the phone with 911 my pulse was 185. I did some Vagel maneuvers and yes, there is a pile of poo from me out in the swamp. The time the Paramedics got there 115. Several hours later, Malabsorption issues struck again and my potassium had been plummeting. Trying this week to keep it up just by juicing. Those pills are so nasty and yucky and huge. I would eat a whole bunch of bananas a day to not take those things again.
Today we said goodbyye to our dog. Trooper crossed the Rainbow bridge at 915 this morning. We had him since he was eight months old and he has been a faithful sidekick. He saw Maggie as his puppy and Nobody messes with his puppy. He brought us much joy and happiness and even laughter.
Short and sweet but that is about all I have left in me right now.
Lately I have really felt like I am struggling. It has not been more pain per se. We have been busy but not that busy. I had had a hard time putting my finger on what was missing. What was I forgetting to do? What was I not attending to? It took me entirely too long to realize one simple thing. It was emotional overload.
People who feel everything so deeply need more than once a week spiritual self-care. I forget that. I feel like I should be able to be like everyone else and Sunday should be enough for me. I was getting really good at carving fifteen minutes a day out just for me. I still need to do that. I also need to figure out a way to incorporate more meditation, more nature more healing for my heart. It has only been in the last two years or so I have set up healthy boundaries. The problem I still struggle with is,being okay with those boundaries. I need to be okay with saying no. I have done it, which I know is good. It just still kills me to say no. I can’t help you right now. My desire to hug and hold everyone and squeeze them until all their broken parts are mashed back together is so strong. The answer is also not, to just not be there for people. That is a slow death in a different way.
It looks like then, I have to start scheduling time to ground myself and re-center myself. I can’t let myself think I am too busy for that. I need to remember that it is essential to life. As much as breathing air is essential to life. Some days it is my own emotional upheaval that I need to quite and soothe. Some days it is letting go of others emotions that I seem to absorb. This has been my inner struggle that I had a hard time putting my finger on. I know I need to do this stuff. I know boundaries are good. I know they are healthy. It is quieting the voice in my head that says, but if you can help you should. It is letting go of the guilt of saying no for my own mental and emotional health. It is being at peace with my own limits of how much I can help and how much emotional trauma I do absorb. I have no doubt I don’t absorb it. When you tell me something and I say that breaks my heart, I mean it. There is nothing worse for me then hearing a need and feeling helpless to help. Even knowing that some issues you have to workout yourself. Even knowing that sometimes the best help I can give is by just sitting there. Even knowing that sometimes the best thing is to say no. No because this is not something anyone can help you with. No Because sometimes you reach out when really you need to reach within.
Yesterday I took some steps to implementing small things in my life that will help with all this. I bought a smudging sage and some new crystals specific to helping with these issues. I am determined I will light the smudge stick at least, at least once a day. I am thinking instead of reading during my me time I need to sit outside with my smudge stick and crystals and feel the ground beneath me.
What are some ways you attend to your self-care? Are you including spiritual/emotional/mental care as well?