The whole heart of saying yes.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m a doer.  And a thinker.  And a dreamer.  And a bordering on compulsive multitasker.  So deciding that saying yes to life should be one of my 2014 Practices to Enact wasn’t really a stretch at all.

Life has gotten pretty crazy as of late, largely because I say yes.  To everything.  I say yes to my amazing queer book group, and the queer board game group that has emerged from it.  I say yes to volunteering at two different book related places, and yes to moving my shift at the library because it’s better for their schedule.  I say yes to planning – retreats, summer bike weeks, local food asset maps, you name it.  I say yes to BUYING MY HOUSE, even when it is thrust upon me, rather than a process I have actively chosen to begin at this particular moment in time because I am financially and socially stable.

I love saying yes.  But I have a problem.  I rarely say yes to myself, yes to sleep, yes to hours straight of reading a fabulous novel I picked up from the library, yes to watching a show on Netflix that only I want to.  I set aside a handful of minutes to sew together a couple of quilt squares or to work out at the YWCA, but it’s scheduled time, planned time, MANAGED time.  Not relaxation, truly.  Thus I am not doing justice to myself, or my practice to enact, for wholly saying yes to life necessarily must also mean saying yes to calm, to contemplation, to slowness at times.

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Rico and Daria will help me on my journey, I do believe. No time is as present as kitty time.
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Self care, day 2 & 3.

I’m still on the train, one way or another, but distraction comes easier than relaxation, it seems.

Yesterday’s self care involved a sojourn by Lake Nokomis, a place I visit not nearly as often as I might, considering its proximity.  I biked there from an unexpectedly lonely brunch, and found a perfect spot – half sun, half shade, tree to lean against.  Or so I thought.  A body board yoga class began not too long after I settled  in, and rather than finding a new space (and having to start my half hour over, so I told myself) I decided to try to relax through it, despite wanting to do the poses the instructor half shouted so as to reach her floating students.  So I sat, and left for work half an hour later somewhat more relaxed, but not as much as I’d have liked.

Today I drew.  As in, coloring without a coloring book.

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It was the first time in weeks for sure, perhaps even months, that I brought out my sketchbook without trying to accomplish anything particular.  More of this needs to happen, this non-guided, easy handed Crayola time, as self care and then some.

Self care, day 1.

Last week, I started seeing a therapist.  It’s been a decade since I last had therapy as part of my life, and considering my current chronically overscheduled self, not to mention my divorce (among other things), it was high time I started going again.  Yesterday was only session two, but I already have homework: intentional self care.  No screens, no friends, no multi-tasking, no direction.  Just a half hour minimum per day of doing something aimless for myself.

Much easier said than done.  While going on a walk, sitting by the river, or drinking a cup of tea are all things I do with some frequency, they are rarely alone and never aimless.  I go on a walk to a store with a friend, sit by the river or drink a cup of tea while reading a book (that I probably have some mild amount of guilt for reading if it’s fiction, because shouldn’t I always be reading things to expand my mind and better myself?).  Always, always, always multi-tasking.  Which is why the idea of relaxing for the sake of relaxing is unbearably difficult for me.

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And I found these along my walk! The black feathery thing is a hair clip.

So today was day 1 of my new, prescribed, hopefully someday to be a routine, self care.  I went on what ended up being a 40 minute walk around the neighborhood a few moments of which I found myself able to relax, breathe, and be.  Sure I spent the first five minutes talking myself out of needing to plan a route in advance.  Certainly I spent a good portion of the middle of my time planning the photo walk I am leading for work this evening.  But for at least a few moments I lost myself in myself, the sunshine, lovely gardens, and woodpecker drilling on a nearby tree enough to return me to the drifting contemplative revelry I have found on walks in years past.

So here’s to finding new practices that, no matter how difficult despite seeming simplicity, I will commit to in hopes of living a deep life of both joy and peace.