Whenever we touch nature we get clean. People who have got dirty through too much civilization take a walk in the woods, or a bath in the sea. Entering the unconscious, entering yourself through dreams, is touching nature from the inside and this is the same thing, things are put right again.”
How am I ever to apologize to myself sufficiently?”
— Virginia Woolf, Selected Diaries
I took off from work today to act be an “emotional support sibling” for my youngest sister. I can’t say why (it’s not my story to tell) but I will say that I enjoy the hell out of helping her whenever I can.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the way every (or at least a vast majority) of our acts of kindness come tinged with self-interest. I used to feel bad about it but, hell, if helping someone else makes me feel good too isn’t that just twice the reason why we should be kind? Knowing this, accepting this, has not only made compassion feel even better but has freed me from the pressure to always put myself first.
Helping others is putting myself first.
“The point of ‘doing nothing’ is to clean up our inner lives. There is so much that happens to us every day, so many excitements, regrets, suggestions and emotions that we should—if we are living consciously—spend at least an hour a day processing events. Most of us manage—at best—a few minutes—and thereby let the marrow of life escape us. We do so not because we are forgetful or bad, but because our societies protect us from our responsibilities to ourselves through their cult of activity. We are granted every excuse not to undertake the truly difficult labour of leading more conscious, more searching and more intensely felt lives.
The next time we feel extremely lazy, we should imagine that perhaps a deep part of us is preparing to give birth to a big thought. As with a pregnancy, there is no point hurrying the process. We need to lie still and let the idea gestate—sure that it may one day prove its worth. We may need to risk being accused of gross laziness in order one day to put in motion projects and initiatives we can feel proud of. ”
I can hear the fireworks going off around the neighborhood again. I guess it’s that time of year. I haven’t been sleeping well lately and between the sudden summer heat and the nightly displays of patriotism, I’m sure I won’t sleep well again until August…
I’ve decided not to go into work tomorrow since we have the walkthrough and it’s easier to stay home than to rush home for the dog beforehand. I want to stay up late since I know I don’t have to get up early but I’m trying to be mindful of what my body needs and to practice self-care while my stress levels are so high. I’m leading by example and by need. The stress is affecting our health and it would be a shame to end up in the ER or to rack up any medical bills before the big day.
So, it’s back to basics. We’re going to bed on time, drinking lots of water, meditating, and going for walks. We’re eating meals, eliminating snacks, and getting away from the T.V. more. We’re holding each other accountable to prevent procrastination and guilt. We’re looking out for each other, being patient with ourselves, and accepting what is out of our control.
I got to spend the day on my own doing all the nothing I wanted. Last week I read a post from Eclectic Alli where she mentioned giving herself a much needed whole day of rest per week to help cope with her chronic illness. I was inspired.
So, I finished my book and started another one. I watched a few shows and wrote a few words on this draft and that, and when I was ready I got up, reorganized some cabinets in the kitchen and showered. That was it and that was enough.
I’ve had plenty of lazy days before but this was the first time I didn’t feel guilty about it. This was the first time I gave myself permission and acknowledged the reason. I too have a chronic illness, and chronic pain and chronic fatigue have been kicking my ass lately.
It’s good for my body and for my piece of mind to make room to recuperate regularly. I just wish it was easier to allow.