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I’m sitting at the bar next to two men, one of whom is clearly drunk.

“It’s his birthday,” I hear his less-drunk friend say to the group of young women who are stalking bar seats behind him.

I’ve come to the restaurant just shy of dinner service.  The bar is busy, but the dining room is not.  Yet.  It’s almost 5:30pm and I’ve just left the office.  It’s Saturday.  I try not to work on the weekends, though sometimes I fail.  But I needed to catch up, and I needed some peace of mind.  You do what you gotta do to be able to sleep at night.

A spot opens up at the end of the bar, and I jump on it.

“Do I smell bad?” the birthday boy asks me, joking, as I pack my belongings and begin moving to my new seat.

I laugh. “No.  But happy birthday.”

“When’s your birthday?”

Uh oh. I’m not trying to encourage drunk conversation.

“July,” I say in a pleasant way that encourages drunk conversation.

“Well, then. We almost share a birthday quarter.”  He pauses. “Hope you have a good night.”

Sometimes things work out as you hoped.

I settle in, nestling in the end seat against the wall so it feels like I’m with the masses and away from them at the same time.  I’m not typically chatty in a bar situation, so this works for me.

This is the first time this week I’m neither tired nor in desperate need of coffee nor in the middle of swirling chaos.  In the pre-dinner lull of this restaurant, it is the first time my head is clear and I feel unworried.  I order a drink.

It arrives looking beautiful yet unfussy, peach and gold and pink hued.  It tastes bitter, sweet, and smoky all at once.

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The woman bartender, who simultaneously has a “don’t mess with me” and sisterly way about her, gets busier as more people sit.  She is now tag-teaming the bar with her male counterpart.  He checks in on me occasionally.  I can tell he recognizes me from previous visits, but he doesn’t say this.  He speaks to me in a low voice he doesn’t use on the other customers.  It seems almost flirtatious, even though he’s probably 20 years younger than me.

I’m okay with this.

After I savor a couple of small plates, my sister-like bartender asks if I want dessert.

“You know what I would really like?  An order of those fish tacos.  That will be my dessert.”

She smiles.  “I think that sounds perfect.”

And it was.

xo, with goodness and grace.

 

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Self care is one of those buzzwords, like balance, that you hear about often but don’t necessarily know how it fits into everyday life.  It sounds good in theory, but reality may be a very different thing.

During these last 6 weeks of my self care project, I was surprised to see there were many things I do for myself on a regular basis.

I allow myself some kind of chocolate treat everyday, but I also mother myself by limiting the number I can have.  And if I have one sugary/rich/boozy meal, I try balance the other meals with something more nutritionally sound.

I walk a little bit everyday—whether cold or breezy or rainy or perfectly sunny—because fresh air is good for my sanity.

I take in my surroundings, realizing that today may be very different from tomorrow.  While I wait on the bus stop in the morning, I take note of how the clouds frame a backdrop to the apartment buildings above me and how the sun lights of all it perfectly.

I pay attention.

But, here’s the thing.  Self care is an inside job.  It’s not what you do, but how you show up.  During these 40+ days, I began to notice the conversations in my head, which weren’t always kind or loving.  In fact, they often involved berating myself for the things that I hadn’t done.  And that only stressed me out more.

Self care is to notice that everyday is a miracle.  And so are you.  Therefore, you must treat yourself like the precious thing that you are.  Kindness matters, and most of all it matters that you are kind to yourself.

I’m still working on this.

But for the moment, I do know that self care is…

…knowing when to walk in the rain and when it’s time to take a cab in the middle of a torrential downpour…

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…taking a moment at a work event to be in awe of the amazing views from the observation deck of the Empire State Building…

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…noticing the beauty that spring reveals…

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…acknowledging the incredible beauty around the corner…

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….and seeing the signs of love.  My chronicle of self care is concluding this week, but the journey continues.  And I know that it is leading to towards more love.

I mentioned in an earlier post the decorated eggs that were placed all over New York City.   This week, all of them were moved to Rockefeller Center.  Out of the 300 eggs, there were many nods to love.

This one was my favorite sign of love, from one of my favorite designers, Diane von Furstenburg.

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Because, love is life.  That’s what it’s all about.  Paying attention—and self care, however imperfect—has taught me that.  In this season of miracles and renewal, I hope you see the signs of love in your lives.

xo, with goodness and grace.

After I wrote my the last post on self care, I realized two things.

One: the time from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday this year is actually not 40 days, but a week longer.  So, we’re really looking at 47 days of self care, y’all.

The second thing I’ll save for next week.  I need time to ponder that lesson first.

But, you know how I see signs of love everywhere?  (And, by the way, I’m convinced so do you…you just may not know it yet.)  Well, they are slowly being mixed in with signs of magic.  Love and magic—isn’t that an awesome thought? That is how life should be.

Around Christmas time, I saw a stencil for sale in ABC Carpet & Home, a magical store with a quirky assortment of furniture, lighting, and other assorted things for the home.  The stencil itself was beautiful, all glittery and gold.  But its message made me smile.  It said, “In Pursuit of Magic”.  The creators’ mission is described on their website this way:

“In Pursuit of Magic: two female street artists on a crusade to elevate consciousness and amplify meaning in the world.”

How cool is that?  Every now and then, I see those words around the city, where someone has decided the spread the message of magic.

My week was kicked off when I saw this on a construction wall on Houston Street.

Magic - Wall

Seeing love and magic together, I trusted it was a sign of goodness to come.

Day 34:  Sometimes on your way home from work, you get sidelined at the counter at Murray’s Cheese and suddenly there’s a very urgent need to have cheese and wine for dinner.

Cheese-Wine Dinner

And so you do.  And it is comfort and happiness on a plate.

Day 35: Sunsets never get old for me. The most beautiful ones command attention, so I stopped and gave this one my full self.

Tuesday Sunset

Day 36:  I do my best to take a walk in the middle of every work day.  It gives me clarity and a break from what are often intense days.  On this day, I decided to go to a book signing not too far from the office.  I mean, it was Rob Lowe.  Every girl I knew was in love with him when I was a teenager.  I thought he was yummy.

“Thank you so much for braving this line today,” he said to me as he put pen to the page, signing his autograph.

“Oh, it’s my pleasure.  I mean, I had your poster on my wall.”   He looked up.  Full eye contact.

Momentarily mortified, I couldn’t believe I blurted that out.  Then he smiled and had a humbled expression like he was genuinely happy to hear that, not at all like someone who has heard this over and over again in the last 25 years.

“And I can’t wait to read your book,” I said, trying to clean it up.

Full, intense eye contact again, accompanied by a smile.  Then we said goodbye—and by the way, he still is very pretty!—and I was on my way.

Rob Lowe

Self care is embracing the past and finding that it can be even sweeter than you remembered.

Day 37: There is an outdoor exhibit on a stretch of Park Avenue in midtown, called the Park Avenue Paper Chase, featuring sculptures by the artist Alice Aycock. Made of aluminum and fiberglass, you cannot help but take notice, even if you are hurriedly walking by.  I took my time with each one, wanting to experience them.  I was fascinated by one in particular, all ruffles and lightness, even though it probably weighs a couple of tons.

Up close, it reminded me of a Georgia O’Keeffe painting.

Park Avenue Sculpture

Day 38:The Big Egg Hunt has taken New York by storm these past few weeks. Sponsored by Faberge, up to 300 eggs are hidden around the city.  Many are designed by famous artists.  They’ll be auctioned off at the end of the Easter season, with all proceeds benefitting a couple of charities.

My friend Judy let me know that there was one near the Brooklyn Bridge that she thought I’d want to see.  We ventured out one evening—because a pilgrimage of love is definitely self care—and I discovered that she was right.

Love Me Brooklyn

“You are like the heat-seeking missile when it comes to seeing love,” Judy said to me as we walked down the street after seeing the egg.  It was as if a parade of love accompanied us on our way to dinner.

One love-inspired wall of graffiti was so faint that my camera could barely pick it up. But still it revealed itself to me.

Signs of love are everywhere.

Day 39:  One of my favorite things to do is wander through Central Park, especially on a beautiful spring day.  I don’t have time to do it as much as I would like, so it feels like an indulgence when I do.  Now, the grassy side areas are all carpeted with flowers, and the trees are all just about to burst into an abundance of blooms.

No matter how many times I’m in the park, I always have to make my pilgrimage to Bethesda Fountain, topped by this angel of beauty.

Bethesda Fountain

She always gives me a sense of peace, and I leave knowing I can happily make my way through the rest of the day.

Day 40:  And then, magically, the week ended as it began, on a side street in Soho. I has taken myself out for a meal, then decided I needed to walk some of the food off.  Walking briskly, on the edge of my vision I spotted a small spot of white paint on the ground.  Stopping, I saw on closer inspection that some words were spelled out in its midst.

Magic - Brick

There it was again.  Magic was pursuing me, and I felt giddy at the unexpectedness of it.

Believe in magic and love and grace.  It’s just waiting to catch you by surprise.  Self care often lies in paying attention.

xo, with goodness and grace.

I always think it’s funny how people forget that spring is, in its volatile essence, basically a few months of unpredictable weather.  The day the calendar finally turns to spring, people start shedding their layers and take off their socks, no matter the temperature is actually still wintry.  It’s like a mass delusion, needing to believe that the season is perfect.

The earth is about blossom, and I like to think, so are we.  The promise of what is to come is enough to get me through the fickle weather.

And that is perfect to foster some self care.

Long walks in the rain continued.  Rain, in the right temperature, is magical.  And, you can still find random, faded signs of love.

Love is Telepathic

Day 27: I’m noticing that walking at this time of year is a big thing for me.  Maybe being indoors during the seemingly-perpetual winter has left me with a need to shake it off in search of what’s about to bloom.

After work, I felt an urge to go window shopping.  Browsing through stores without a purpose has made me happy since I was a child.  It’s a time to allow yourself to dream of who you want to be.

Vince Heels

The dream me would look chic in these shoes from Vince.  There is such joy in footwear.

Like these shoes I found in J Crew.  I instinctively knew I had to have them—falling in love makes you want to possess the object of your desire, now!—so I bought them.  (I later discovered that almost everyone I know has had the same reaction. And bought them.)  And the fancy earrings, I couldn’t resist.  Put them together, and you’ve got a great representation of me.  Fancy casual.

J Crew Vans

The dream me later went back to the store and bought the flat version of those Vince heels, so the practical me can be stylish and comfortable (and fancy casual) at the same time.

Day 28:  I wore my new earrings, made me feel a little glamorous, despite a very bad hair day. And, just resting my gaze on my new shoes brought me an irrational amount of joy.

Day 29:  Needing to have something every day can take the pleasure out of it for me.  That’s why I don’t have coffee every morning.  I have a cup when I want it, but I don’t like needing to have it to feel awake.  Life should be enough to feel awake, shouldn’t it?

Today was a coffee day.  And it was goooood.

Buvette Coffee

Simple pleasures can be self care, too.

Day 30:  Spring weather finally arrived!  I was juggling multiple projects and deadlines, and I didn’t have the time to go outside and enjoy the warmer temperatures.

I did it anyway.  Letting the sun warm your face at lunchtime is serious self care.

Sunshine

Day 31:  The week behind me and the rain falling again, I came home, scooped some homemade dough—because having cookie dough on hand at all times is 100% self care—and baked two chocolate chip cookies.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Snack in hand, I crawled in the bed and turned on Shark Tank. Two of my favorite (not-so) guilty pleasures made for the perfect evening.

Day 32: Finally, I’ve started spring cleaning my apartment, which is beginning to look like an episode of Hoarders.  I started by tackling the ridiculously tall stack of magazines accumulated over the last few months, and I brought over a new jar of Vanilla Almond Butter so I could take a couple of spoonfuls as a snack while I worked.

Let’s just say that most of the magazines are still there.  I got distracted by deliciousness.

Vanilla Almond Butter

Just writing that sentence made me go grab a spoonful.

Day 33:  Ah, Sunday mornings.  The act of hanging out, doing nothing but just being is sacred, beautiful and simply awesome.

Sunday Morning

On Sunday mornings, I usually clean out the fridge and concoct a unique meal for breakfast.  This morning, I just made a plate of a vegan, gluten-free (but delicious) biscuit, a handful of pecans and a bit of cheese. Randomness can be tasty.

I also found a heart-shaped package of goat cheese on the back of one of the shelves, which sadly was moldy.  It made me want to venture out and immediately buy a replacement.  I cut into it and revealed that the decaying cheese—decadently studded with chunks of dark chocolate—was still beautiful and full of loveliness.

Heart Goat Cheese

Such a great metaphor for life.  Our hearts may get worn from the harsh elements of life, but if we scrape away the dirt and the mold, the essential beauty of who we are remains.  Remembering this is the epitome of self care.

xo, with goodness and grace.

 

I decided this week would be good.

This was a week where I intended to see the good in everything.  And the week delivered.  These were days full of friends, flowers and food, with a little basketball thrown in for good measure.

Day 20:  Those of you who have followed this blog for some time know that I see signs of love everywhere.  I started seeing them last summer, though I do wonder if perhaps they were always there and I only recently opened my eyes—and my heart—to them.

One thing I’ve learned is that love is contagious.  My friends send me emails and texts with the signs of love they have seen.

I love this.  Sometimes self care is about letting other people show you the love.

Like this breakfast heart of coffee, from my friend Erica…

Erica's Coffee Heart

…and this wall of love from Corey.

Corey's Heart Wall

Signs of love are everywhere.

Day 21:  A bouquet of flowers is a beautiful way to brighten up a room.  For me, bouquet of flowers is pure happiness.

So I bought one.

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Day 22:  Meeting up with a couple of my friends after work, we ate dinner at BondSt, an old standby for them though I’d never been.  We caught up…and laughed, and laughed.

Laughter is self care.

And the food was clean and delicious, like this hamachi dish.

Bond St's Hamachi

After dinner, we made our way to the art studio of an artist we all love, which happens to be in the basement of a wine store/event space in Tribeca.  We walked into the middle of a dinner party and passed by this chef—with the most adorable dimples—who was finishing off some Baked Alaskas with a blowtorch.

New York Vinters Party Baked Alaska

How cool is that?  One of the reasons why I love New York is that you never know where you are going to end up or what you are going to see.

Day 23:  Some nights, you just want some comfort food.  This was the day I needed a burger and fries.  (Okay, so I took off the bun, but it still did the trick.)

The Shake Shack, and their new fresh-cut french fries, never fails to comfort when the need for it comes calling.

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Day 24: Two words always make me a little giddy with anticipation—March Madness.  I’ve loved college basketball ever since I fell in deep love with my team when I was a freshman. We were terrible, but I loved going to the games anyway.

Ending the work week with some of the most exciting games I’ve seen in the last couple of years was perfect and exciting.  Doing what you love is self care.

Day 25:  Oh, the weather.  The East Coast, along with much of the country, suffered through a long cold and snowy winter.  Now spring has been ushered in with its unpredictable temperatures and lots of rain.

I’m doing my best to embrace the day, no matter what the weather forecast.  On this day, it rained steadily and turned out to be colder than forecast.  So I Mary Poppins’d it, pulled out a winter hat and gloves out of my bag, then bundled up and took myself on a very long walk.  The streets were fairly quiet, so I had the chance to walk and clear my head in solitude.

It was awesome.

Day in the Rain

Day 26:  March Madness continues—it was a weekend of nail-biting games—along with a lot of cooking, which is probably my favorite thing to do even though I don’t always make the time for it.   I’d planned to clean out my closet, but self care beckoned and it send me to the kitchen instead.  Cooking brings me back to myself.

More than halfway through my 40 Days of Self Care, I’m developing an appreciation for the act of deliberately doing something good for myself every day. Some days that good is as simple as a point of view, but that can be as filled with grace as any dinner out.

I hope you find the good for yourself in the coming week.

xo, with goodness and grace.

Let me just say this: self care can be hard.  There was not one day this week when I didn’t want to stay in bed, all warm and cozy.  But still I got up and I showed up. Because, that too is self care.

Day 13: I left the office at a reasonable hour to see some friends I don’t see that often, including one who lives in another city and was in town for a few days. Getting to see girlfriends always means a fun night out.

The cocktails weren’t bad either.  A Manhattan always makes me feel so grown up.

Skylark Manhattan

And, it was St. Patrick’s Day.  The Empire State Building celebrated along with us. How lucky I am to get to see a view like that.

Empire Statue Bldg on St Patrick's Day

Day 14:  This day was just plain hard.  I wanted to do anything but what I was supposed to be doing.

I wanted to be frolicking on a beach with cute cabana boys bringing me lobster salads.  I wanted to be at the spa, knots untangled and mind de-stressed.  I wanted someone to send me on a private plane to Paris, and when we landed, I would start with a gluten, butter and cream-filled eating binge and end with a shopping spree at every designer store—and someone else would pay for it all.

Instead, I was at my desk needing to get through my massively long to-do list.  So I ate chocolate instead.   At 11:30 in the morning.

And it was good.

Marzipan Chocolate

Day 15:  This was the day that I said, I got nothing.  I felt like I had nothing left to give, even to myself.

And then I felt loved.  (Please see the previous post, Grace: Abundance.)

You are Beautiful

Day 16:  The princess in me wanted to sleep in, but instead I got up before the sun rose and I got on the bike.

I also sweat like I’d never sweated before.  It felt good to work out everything I’d been carrying all week.

SoulCycle

Day 17:  Going home and cleaning out the DVR and catching up on what happened in the world that week may sound like a self care fail.  But sometimes it’s all you need.

Day 18:  This was the day I took a three-hour nap.  Finally, I let myself get some much needed rest.

But, before I put myself down for nap time, I was moved to see a block in my neighborhood covered in inspiration written in sidewalk chalk.

Amazing

Beautiful

It was extraordinary to fall asleep with this inspiration for my dreams.

Day 19:  Sometimes it’s a challenge to make time for the things that interest me, but this day was spent, happily, at a food styling course.  I learned some fascinating tricks that I hope to use on this blog in future posts.

Afterwards, I took myself to ABC Cocina, one of my favorite places in Manhattan. Everything I’ve eaten there has been heavenly, especially this shaved brussels sprouts salad with a flurry of cheese and Marcona almonds.  This would convert anyone who thinks they hate brussels sprouts.

Brussels Sprout Salad-ABC Cocina

And these short rib tacos with habanero relish—they were savory, succulent, and scrumptious.

Short Rib Tacos-ABC Cocina

A perfect way to end the week.  Here’s to the next 7 days of caring well for ourselves.

xo, with goodness & grace.

My 40 days dedicated to self care continues through a week of schizophrenic  temperatures as a lead up to spring.  Here’s what happened, in pictures.

Day 6:  Ever come home from work with no idea what to eat for dinner?  And maybe you are so tired that you aren’t all that hungry anyway?  And, really, all you want is chocolate.

There are times when a girl has got to do what a girl has to do.

Chocolate

PS – See that Mo’s Cinnamon & Sugar Bar from Vosges?  It is outrageously delicious. I didn’t think that chocolate could be transformative, but if you ever have a worry, just eat a square of this and all will be right in the world again.  I’m just saying.

Day 7: In the midst of wintry cold days, this particular afternoon held the promise of warmth—happiness was in the air. I went for a long walk at lunchtime and saw that spring was about to sprout.

Spring Coming

Day 8: For me, a big part of self care is feeding myself well. But when I get busy, this is one of the first areas where I fall short.  This week, I did my best to nourish myself with home cooked meals.  On this day, as I began making a warm kale and brussels sprouts salad (topped with a poached egg!), the olive oil in the pan pooled into a heart.

Signs of love are everywhere, even in the kitchen.

Heart of Oil

Day 9: This week my heavy workload made me anxious and uptight, so I buckled down and stayed in the office late to get a handle on everything, with a goal of relieving my stress.  And honestly, I wanted to sleep well again.

These pigeons reminded me that when the work is done, you need to remember to find your flock and just hang.

Pigeons on a Wire

Day 10:  A day of work and a Friday night blow out at the hair salon behind me, and a weekend ahead of me, I walked through midtown.  Always remembering to look up, I loved the sight of the nearly full moon snuggled up to the Chrysler Building.

Full Moon Next to Chrysler

Day 11: Last October, I wrote about a Manifestation Yoga workshop I attended, led by the incomparable Jennifer Pastiloff. (If you don’t know her inspirational work, please check out her awesome blog here. )  I loved it so much that I signed up for another, held on a beautiful Saturday afternoon.

I took it as a sign that I was exactly where I was supposed to be as I walked towards the yoga studio and walked past this on the sidewalk. Because happiness—and community and connection—certainly lay ahead of me that afternoon.

The Way to Happy

Throughout the workshop, I marveled at how different I felt from the previous one. Then, it was as if I’d unearthed gigantic oceans of emotions I didn’t even know were crashing against the shoreline of my life.  It took some time to process that, and in some respects, I still haven’t grasped it all, at least consciously.

This time I felt lighter, different, changed somehow.

This year, I’d intended to finally allow myself to be the woman I’d always wanted to be.  This was the year I’d stop with the what-if and what could have been.  This year, I’d stop playing small.  I’d decided let love in, and that afternoon I was surprised to see that maybe, if only little by little, it was working.

Maybe I don’t have to try to be the woman I’d always wanted to be.  Maybe I’ve been her all along and I just didn’t know it.

Day 12: I am fortunate to have a close relationship with my parents.  We try to meet at least once a week over a meal.  This time, we went to Stella 34, a year-old restaurant in Macy’s Herald Square.  I don’t always expect much from department store restaurants, but this was an unexpected surprise.

When I told our server about my gluten sensitivity, he helpfully pointed out what dishes I could eat.  And when he offered us bread for the table, he also said he would bring rice crackers just for me.

Instead of saying, “I wish I had something to give you,” as I’ve gotten used to hearing, this server—this restaurant—actually did have something to give me.  I don’t expect every restaurant to have alternatives for every food allergy, but when one does have options, it makes me feel as if my needs matter.

I was also able to order gluten-free pasta.  After almost a year without pasta, this was a delicious reunion with an old friend.

Pasta

When you begin to take care of yourself, oftentimes, the world will reach out to care for you as well.

That is grace.  My wish is that you feel cared for this week as well.

xo, with goodness and grace.

Every year around this time I commit to giving something up in the spirit of Lent. I am not particularly religious, but I like the idea of ritual and of committing to something bigger than myself.  (For those who don’t know, Lent is the 40-day period prior to Easter where Christians give something up as a means of reflecting on and honoring Jesus.)

This year I struggled with what to give up.  Should it be cheese?  Sugar?  Potatoes? It all felt frivolous and not at all meaningful—and one more thing to beat myself up about.  Then, as I was out with some friends on the first day, I decided that I was going to be dedicated to taking care of myself, whatever that meant.

I started by posting a picture on Instagram of the pomegranate margarita I’d ordered with the hashtag #40daysofselfcare.  Because sometimes self care means having a cocktail with your friends.

Pomegranate Margarita

An old friend saw my picture and sent it to a radio station he works with in Charlotte, North Carolina.  They loved the idea so much that they wanted to talk to me on air about the rationale behind my 40 days of self care.  I hesitated on the inside, but said yes anyway, because self care sometimes means pushing yourself outside of the comfort zone.  The DJs were fun, kind and genuinely interested in what I had to say.  It was five minutes of fun, and I’m glad I did what I wouldn’t normally do.

Self care breaks through the boundaries you’ve set for yourself.

Day 2: I came home exhausted. PJs on and a snuggle with my pillows while I watched Scandal was all my tired self needed to feel cared for.  (By the way – are you guys watching Scandal?  If not, you must jump on the gladiator bus immediately!)

Day 3: I’m lucky enough to live in New York City, and every day I walk by some of the most majestic sites that people travel halfway across the globe to see.  Sometimes I don’t see them because I’m so focused on my thoughts.  And then I turn a corner and something snaps me out of my head and commands my attention.

Grand Central Terminal in all her full glory.  Self care is stopping and taking a moment to just look at the beauty around the corner.

GCT

Day 4: Taking photographs is something I’ve loved for as long as I can remember, but I rarely give myself the opportunity to spend the day snapping away.  I spent the early afternoon in the New York Public Library, which is not only a peaceful oasis in the middle of midtown Manhattan madness, but is stunningly grand in its architecture.

I found myself mesmerized by this ceiling in one of the rooms, full of beautiful chandeliers, bronze moldings and breathtaking murals.

NYPL Ceiling

As I sat and looked up, I remembered how important it is to fill yourself up with beauty and take in what’s around you.  I can’t wait to go back.

On Day 5, I rested.  And that was enough.

Join me in doing one nice thing for yourself every day.  Share below what you do to care for yourselves!

xo, with goodness and grace.

While on a staycation this week, the words of poet Mary Oliver have shown themselves to me seemingly everywhere I turned.  In random blogs I’ve stumbled upon, in magazines I’ve been meaning to read, and in books I’ve opened, one inspirational line after another were revealed.

Ironically, the words that keep playing in my head are not the ones I’ve seen in blog posts or magazines. But the words I kept seeing triggered my memory for other words that clearly wanted to be acknowledged by me, desperately needing me to hear them again:

Tell me, what is it you plan to do

With your one wild and precious life?

— Mary Oliver, The Summer Day

I’ve turned this question over and over in my head and haven’t been able to come up with an answer.

During my time off, I was plagued with a restlessness that I couldn’t quite shake. It was much needed time off, but something in me couldn’t quite let go.  As I struggled to relax, these words stayed with me, almost haunting me.

What finally came to me was that I didn’t need to know what my plan for my one wild and precious life is today.  It’s okay to not know.  My job – my real full-time job – is to live the question.  And as I began to let the words wash over me, I realized that it all starts with self-care. You cannot fully hear the answers to such a big question if you can’t even make time to floss.

So I’ve promised myself that I will spend the month of December better caring for myself, body and soul.  I know I won’t be able to stop the chaos, but I’m hoping to find some space to listen to the whispers that have been drowned out.

I am paying attention with wide eyes, open ears and a willing heart to answers as they present themselves.

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