Just For Me

A poem on the Center for Mindful Self-Compassion Website. It just lists “Anon” under the title.

Thank you Anon. This is beautiful and powerful.

What if a poem were just for me?

What if I were audience enough because I am,

Because this person here is alive, is flesh,

Is conscious, has feelings, counts?

What if this one person mattered not just for what

She can do in the world

But because she is part of the world

And has a soft and tender heart?

What if that heart mattered,

if kindness to this one mattered?

What if she were not distinct from all others,

But instead connected to others in her sense of being distinct, of being alone,

Of being uniquely isolated, the one piece removed from the picture—

All the while vulnerable under, deep under, the layers of sedimentary defense.

Oh let me hide

Let me be ultimately great,

Ultimately shy,

Remove me, then I don’t have to…

be…

But I am.

Through all the antics of distinctness from others, or not-really-there-ness, I remain

No matter what my disguise—

Genius, idiot, gloriousness, scum—

Underneath, it’s still just me, still here,

Still warm and breathing and human

With another chance simply to say hi, and recognize my tenderness

And be just a little bit kind to this one as well,

Because she counts, too.

Rest #Tinyhearts

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The Underappreciation of Rest in Our Society by Joshua Becker of Becoming Minimalist:

Rest has become confused with laziness. We live in a society that praises those who work 60hrs/week and makes faulty assumptions about those who work 40. We have confused rest with laziness. And while too much rest may indeed be an indicator of sloth, the regular practice of finding rest is not.

Read the whole article here. Lots of great stuff!

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When Breath Meets Busy by Courtney Carver of Be More with Less:

The more I worked, the more work I had. For awhile, I thrived on busyness. Then I resented it…Eventually my busyness became unproductive in every possible way.

Read the whole article here. It includes a five-minute antidode to busyness.

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Busy Be Gone by me. 🙂 A two-minute video about being a recovering busy-aholic.

Read about the beginning of this series here.

Hearthstones

I love my little clay hearts that you see on this blog and sometimes on my Facebook page header. My sister-in-law gave them to me a long time ago; she is a School Sisters of Notre Dame nun and she got them while on a retreat. They come in a purple, velvet bag and are called Hearthstones.

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The heart-shaped clay tiles are called hearthstones because when the words heart and earth merge the word becomes hearth, a place to experience safety, warmth, intimacy, story telling, and healing. Hearthstones invite us to reconnect with what has heart and meaning in our lives and to rekindle spiritual values vital to sustaining life on planet earth.

They are described as tools of spiritual healing that invite personal, communal and planetary transformation by returning us to the center of wisdom and spiritual energy – the heart.

My sister-in-law selects one each day and carries it in her pocket and uses it during her devotional time. I’ve used mine in a lot of different ways, but my favorite thing to do has been to give them away to people. Since I can’t physically give them away to you, I decided I’d post a picture of a different heart each day in February. Some days I’ll include a quote or two or three…other days maybe a brief meditation of sorts. You are a very warm and supportive group. I so appreciate you, and hope to give a little something back in this way.
 
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Wise Women Share Thoughts on Self-Compassion

selfcompassionsaturdayUnderneath virtually all of our suffering lies a lack of self-compassion. When Jill Salahub, author of the blog, A Thousand Shades of Gray, realized this, she began the series, Self-Compassion Saturdays. She interviews women bloggers (artists, writers, coaches, and a psychologist—me) all about self-compassion: what it means, what it looks like, and what they still want to learn. Jill is putting together an e-book based on these interviews. Be sure to subscribe to her blog so you don’t miss it when it’s complete!

I’ve shared highlights of each interview on my Psychology Today blog . Sorry to make you click over–search engines (and Psychology Today) don’t like it if you put the same content two places. Click here to read the full post. Thanks!

Every Word Handwritten

I gave away all my scrapbook things. We’re talking everything. New albums. Paper. Pens. Stickers. Funky scissors and rulers. It was really difficult, but it was time. My fine motor skills have gotten worse, and scrapbooking greatly exacerbates my pain.

I’ve been a serious album maker for many years. I got my first stash when our son was a baby. I went to a Creative Memories show and came home with $200 worth of supplies. Back then (well, even now) that was a lot of money. I came in the house and Greg said, “You’d better use that stuff.” I stayed up late that night making my first scrapbook of our son. Since then I’ve made holiday albums, sports albums, ABC albums, quilt albums, heritage albums, everyday happenings albums, anniversary albums, celebration albums… So much time and detail. Every word handwritten. (Link to a cool song that is loosely related)

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One of my favorite memories is walking into our family room and finding my then 10-year-old son and all his neighborhood friends (who all went to school together), gathered around looking at his Kindergarten album. Yes, I have an entire album just for Kindergarten!

It’s been a week and a half since I gave everything away, and I’m still a little sad. Greg has been super nice. I think some guys wouldn’t understand how hard this was. But he did. He also told me, though, that this was a way of taking care of myself.

I found a unique group of young women to give my things to–the “Groovy Girls Collective.” They describe themselves as “a community gathering place devoted to supporting, educating, and mentoring women of all ages, nurturing collaborative creators both locally and worldwide.”  (I may be giving up something, but if it has a world-wide impact, that’s OK with me.) One of my neighbors’ daughters is involved, and I contacted her, who said they would definitely like some scrapbook supplies. Here’s a few pictures from their Facebook page.

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Visiting an animal shelter.

Visiting an animal shelter.

A lemonade stand.

A lemonade stand.

Although I’m sad, I’m also excited, as I can already tell these young women are having lots of fun and great things are happening. Maybe some of these pictures will end up in a scrapbook one day.

50 is the new 60

30-40-50-60-thirties-forties-fifties-old-birthday-ecardI don’t mean to sound negative, but I’m tired of hearing that 40 is the new 30, and 50 is the new 40.

I’m 51 and I feel like 60.

I exercise. I eat fairly well. I take my Centrum Silver one-a-day vitamin. But anyone with chronic health problems will tell you,  the everyday struggles can age you.

I wanted to write a whole post about this, but I lost steam. So instead, I’m rereading some of my own blog. Here are a few posts on taking care of yourself when you’re in pain, or just not feeling well for whatever reason.

Tiny Dreams A reminder to those of us struggling with chronic pain or illness of the need to adjust our expectations (dreams) to fit our current reality. Very short post, with some really nice comments.

People tell you to dream big

but maybe it’s the tiny dreams that matter.

Sometimes my dream

is just to make it through the day.

Coping with Chronic Illness…Compassionately My interview with author of How to Be Sick, Toni Bernhard (be sure and read the whole interview; Toni is awesome):

I always tell people that the single most important thing they can do is to be kind to themselves. I look at it this way. We control so little in our lives, but the one thing we can control is how we treat ourselves. I see no reason for us not to be as kind and gentle with ourselves as we can be. It’s not our fault that we have health problems. We’re in bodies and they get sick and injured. It will happen to everyone. This is how it’s happening to us. I’ve had so many people write to me and say the single most important thing they got out of my book was to give up the self-blame and forgive themselves for being sick or in pain. Many people have said they didn’t even realize they hadn’t forgiven themselves until they read How to Be Sick. Those emails always touch me so much — just to know I’ve been of help to them.

Leaving Judgment Behind A post about a story I told to my husband, who then told it to someone at work, and how it made a difference.

My influence may be less direct, but no less meaningful. And maybe it’s not about producing a quantity of work…maybe its about being as compassionate as I can be, to myself and others, and seeing where that leads me.

A Horse with No Name A quirky little post where I lament that there’s no colored ribbon or bracelet for people without a firm diagnosis.

I’m thinking about all the people who aren’t sure what’s wrong with them. They’ve been to specialists, had all the tests, and carried their MRIs down many a hallway.  I  wish there was a ribbon for people like us. I even went to a paint store to look at paint chips, in hopes of finding the perfect color name for our ribbon. The best one I found was “Mysterious Mauve.” It’s a subtle mix between gray and purple. Beautiful.

Today, know that I believe you. I know you’re not crazy. Doctors do the best they can, but they’re human, too. They make mistakes. They don’t have all the answers. They don’t always have a name for what we have, but that doesn’t make it not real. As Toni said in her interview, “The single most important thing we can do is to be kind to ourselves.”

And maybe 60 isn’t so bad; with age comes wisdom.

I “hang out” the most on Facebook. I’d love it if you join me! You can click here or over on the side (no one ever sees it over there).

 

80+ Self-Care Ideas

277221852_476e8916f0_z Here is an amazing list of self-care activities. Feel free to add any  other ideas in the comment section.

Maybe we can get the list up to 100!

(P.S. There are 49 comments with LOTS more great ideas!)

If you haven’t already, I’d love it if you joined me on 

Facebook, where I share lots of other self-care ideas. Thanks!

You might also like: 25 Women Writers Share Their Best Self-Compassion Tips

Here’s the list:

going for a photo walk

going to the forest

a bath at the end of the day

going for bike rides

finding overgrown grass and putting my bare feet and it

lying in the grass on the hill and staring up at the sky

cooking a meal for myself and being really present

getting up early and reading inspirational books

journaling

walking with my dogs

nature

going places–getting a change of scenery

trying new things in general

guided meditation

listening to books and music

face-to-face conversations with people

gratitude journal

better diet

trying to live more authentically

not skipping sleep to get things done

trying to multitask less

scheduling time to myself every day

reading blogs from people who are honest

reading for pleasure

resting with my cat a few feet away

yoga

running

getting my hair done

getting a manicure

baking

hiding

knitting

spinning

online classes

just for fun novels

crafting

being able to set limits for myself

asking for what I need

taking time for slow contemplative morning coffee

cuddling with my cats

taking my vitamins

burning candles

waking up naturally–no alarm clock

eating when I feel like it–not by the clock

eating a fresh bagel at a local shop while doing a crossword puzzle

chocolate

daily stretching

good movies

getting massages

working with a life coach

prayer

paying attention to my breathing

gathering flowers from my garden

planting flowers in my garden for later gathering

art journaling

stealing a few moments to lie on my bed when the afternoon sun is streaming in through the window

coffee at coffee shops

centering prayer

mindfulness

forgiveness of others so I don’t carry that stuff around

simplifying

a glass of wine at the end of the day

fresh air

eclectic playlists

live music

bookclub

support groups

creating a comfortable house that truly is my home

cuddling with my puppies

taking myself out to eat

move my body–dance, exercise, run

dress up in the way I want to feel

taking action

laughter

tears

hot shower

giving back with my time

being a tourist in my own city

lunch dates with good friends

green smoothies

take painkillers when I need to instead of holding out and suffering

learn to be with and accept my feelings

have adventures and drive to new places

spend less time on the Internet

read the newspaper on Sundays at a café

read poetry or inspiring quotes

volunteering

attending church

Don’t forget to add any other ideas in the comments.

You might also like this article: 7 Types of Self-Care Activities for Coping with Stress

If you haven’t already, I’d love it if you joined me on Facebook. Thanks!

Photo via Flickr, CC