This week’s rituals for living challenge set to me by my planner was all about fiber and good fats (yawn!).. since that is already on my agenda, I decided not to be slack and randomly picked another. Goodbye screen time- I had just listened to a podcast on this very subject. Quickly following, I received a Mindlove email (how do they always know?) about tackling new habits. You’d think I would take a hint..
Somewhat later I pulled a card from the moon deck (more on this later) – clarity. It was about paying attention to the big picture and seeing things from a clearer perspective. The accompanying ritual was short – spend 30 or so minutes at the start of the day tech free and drink a glass of warm lemon water to cleanse.. then see what having that extra time brings. I was sporadic at best in keeping to this.
Then, my seasonal self care intro box landed (don’t judge – I love it with a love that knows no bounds) with a theme of manifest. I quickly wrote down quiet and simplicity. I realized the universe was not letting this one go.. so I started tacking these on to other established habits. I hear this is the best way to be successful.
I added the lemon water onto the morning fat cat feeding – they require a certain amount of belly rubbing before I am released from my duties so I figured I could fit it in then. My sleep/wake reminders are on my phone so I just bag it after I cut them off before I start my meditation. It’s a bit of cheating on the tech but I need my three alarms. By the time I do the go coffee packing and head out for the drive (and a podcast), I have clocked in at least the 30 minutes.
I also moved my messenger and Facebook off of my home screen, squelching the at a glance siren song of the notification counter.. I live in the idea of getting rid of one or both one day. This gives me more quality time to do the things I like to do.. read, cat snuggle, hang out with the husband. I do miss the cat memes though.
My voluptuous polar bear sized beautiful baby boy has taught me so much these past few months. He is the most chill cat that I have ever had and even though he has been sick for over nine months with no clear diagnosis, he really gives no ducks.
He still enjoys his day to day.. belly rubbing, sofa scratching, water sports in the kitchen floor, and of course most of all – sleeping. He doesn’t over tax himself and when he feels like I am not appreciating the moment (or him) enough, he gives me a sharp bite in the soft meat between my toes and brings me back to center.. total kitty zen.
One thing I am learning is that I have to pay better attention to what my body is telling me. I also need to learn to let go a bit and better embrace my new normal. I tend to, even now, overdo things. I spread myself thin and then when I can’t do, I feel lesser or worse.. resentful. This had spilled over most often into my relationships.
These days I have stepped back quite a bit. I spend most of my time at home. I reach out less often because, frankly, I am still spending most of my time trying to figure this out. Yes, I have lost contact and most have dropped away but I can’t feel bad about that. I am doing what is needed to heal.
I spend good days with those I love and the not so taking care of myself as best I can so I can have more good days. When I find myself troubled with something that needs to be set free, I have a little ritual of letting go.
I light a candle, often one with a soothing scent if I have one on hand.. and let’s face it, I am a bit of a candle whore so that’s usually not a problem. I write what it is on a peace of paper (or a bay leaf from the kitchen – very cleansing) and hold it to my heart. Sometimes I do this sitting by my hearth where I keep a place for my ancestors to seek guidance. Often I just hold it in my mind with just a simple “I choose to no longer hold space for this”, and then I set it aflame. This is the burning away of that which is no longer needed.
I may return the ashes to the earth of the garden and let the wind peacefully carry them away. If at anytime it sneaks back into my thoughts, I acknowledge it and set the thought aside. I have already released this, no point in holding on to it or bringing it back. I can only do my best, and right now I am healing and making space for better things.
*just a note – this was one of the first things I had written on my diagnosis.. my chart truly reads cranky old crone. While this blog is not specifically on this topic, it is still a part of my journey. It is what led me to this path of living mindfully and authentically. For those of you who are, like me, struggling with a life of chronic pain – you are strong, you are beautiful, and I see you.
I’ve read that it’s often called the unseen disorder – fibromyalgia.. difficult to diagnose, unseen symptoms, and a stigma of disbelief. I have only recently been diagnosed after two years of misses, multiple tests, and an escalation in pain carrying over ten years. It was my husband that insisted I finally get checked out. Process of elimination, I was told.. my diagnosis was left on my voicemail. Harsh as the delivery method sounds, I was glad to have a name to put with the face. Soon after, I would revisit my rheumatologist for a game plan.. and meanwhile, since I didn’t know much about it, I put on my big girl panties and started researching.
Once I passed my “what fresh hell is this” stage – there isn’t a lot of positive vibe out there, I realized something.. those of us living with this, WE are the unseen. We often wear a mask to push through the pain, and when we are lucky to have days where we feel almost normal, we carry that stigma of disbelief. We are perceived as being okay at best.. faking the extent of what we feel at worst. There are no definitive tests as of yet that we can hold up and say to the universe “see, my pain is real!” So much misinformation exists. It’s hard to keep your chin up in such circumstances, but I am trying. I wish I had the answers. I am at least blessed with a supportive husband and I have a doctor who is working with me. I can hold my head up and speak from the depths and say my pain exists.. and I support those like me who need to be seen.
I had been sliding carelessly (okay – sometimes ardently) into a life of negative. I would like to say the devil made me and outside influences contributed but the truth of it is this – we make our own decisions.
I had become over critical, judgmental, a speaker of ill words.. and I had pushed the work needed on myself to the side. I thought somewhere in the unaware that I was helping people to heal.. or that was the initial idea. At any time I could have stopped cuddling up to my egotistical mean girl and been better.
There was no a-ha moment, by the way.. no “you are being a total ass” sign being held up by the universe. I came about the realization almost immediately and should have stepped away from all parties then. I almost did.. but for the need to be there. Misguided though it was but the road to hell and all that..
Awareness evolved slowly as I started this new journey of self. I had recently been diagnosed and this in turn led me to reconsider my authenticity.. when had I lost myself? It is/was way too late but I got there, or more so that I am getting there. Okay – I am working on it.. this process of self (re-discovery)? I hope you know I have deep regret.
I started with simplifying things.. pretty much dropping everyone and everything that wasn’t working for me that I feasibly could. I still am, just a bit more slowly now as I feel my way around.. away from what stressors and unhealthy associations I can.
Right now I am focused on shaping my new normal and what is going to work best in my life moving forward.. in my relationships, in my spiritual, and in my day to day. I am wiping my slate clean(ish) and embracing this softer new.. yet again the fool, only this time by my own choice.
Years ago I went to New Orleans.. everything changed. I put my hand on Marie Laveau’s tomb and asked for movement. I received it. At the time I was there with my closest, it felt like home and we met many people.. some we would work with and some we would leave. Eventually we would leave each other to embrace diverging paths. As always, life does its thing.
I would have found myself there again this year, seeking that feeling of home, but I never made it.. a course on Baba Yaga who is ever with me calling. My body was/is just too tired. The city, however, still seems to be bringing me movement as I woke to revisit my old spiritual writings and in the end wiping them clean. My spiritual seems to be evolving.. softer.. simpler. I wanted to start this fresh, or as fresh as possible.. addressing the old and clearing way as a new journey seems to be emerging.