Calibrate the forces in your life

Calibration

Calibration (Photo credit: Kyle McDonald)

I’ve taken this week off, mostly at least. Besides a couple half-days, I’m living the non-income life, otherwise known as “vacation.” In any sort of self-employment, that’s what vacation is – a carefully calibrated force with another opposing, calibrated to keep me from mutating. All for the price of income.

It was getting close there, and just in time, after the significance of making wrong change and missing signatures finally broke through, I found myself here. Vacation. #gratitude.

But what does one do, “relaxing?”

Yesterday, someone asked what Adam and Eve did before the fall. I loved that question. What did they do all day? Reminded me about my thought-thumbing through what a heaven or eternity would be like. Where’s the delicious tension from living this way, dynamic and traveling persons? I’m very interested to know what will keep my attention for eternity.

Anyhow, vacation is like what one patient described as counting the days, either with anxiety or happy anticipation, of when you will be going back to work. I would say that it’s an exercise in calibrating the forces in ones life, before she mutates.

I remember as a little girl, with tangled hair in my eyes and muddied toes, hearing, “At the end of someone’s life, no one ever says they wished they worked more.” It scared me. I sensed the intent behind these words to threaten whoever was out there working and not spending time with their family. I was scared for them and at the same time for myself. This has replayed many times in my mind since then, in shifting sounds and shapes as my thoughts took on the years and experience of what family time offers/takes verses work time. And then finally one day, I said to my sister, “When I’m in the dying stage, I don’t think I will agree with that. I can’t imagine ever not wanting to work more.”

When one gets to do something as fun as work in psychiatry, with heroes and see magic and watch what all that does to their own person in a process no less than what a dreamers canvas would display – they don’t ask for less. They will always want more, and so will I. This is not a qualifying statement of how much of my family I want in my life at all. One of the major problems with the original scare is that it is based on assuming either-or, either work or family. That’s ignorant, same as my fear.

So tonight, after a pajama day cleaning out the toy room, kids and movie time, my flow was interrupted by thoughts of patients’ narratives and personalities, and I missed them. Vacation, against that, makes for a pretty relaxing time. #gratitude.

Self-Care Tip – Calibrate the forces in your life. Be a friend to yourself.

Questions: How do you relax? Do you enjoy your work? What will you still want more of when you are in the dying process? Please tell us your story.

Down With Guilt!

Down with guilt, I say!  Let that mighty tree be felled and burnt and each season that brings up new creepers into life again – let them be taken down!  Guilt!  How many times it has weakened us.  A sickness, that ebbs the energy and confuses the mind.  Often unrelated to deed or intent, in comes the uninvited guest.  As in Mansfield Park, guilt is our own Henry Crawford courting Fanny Price.  He may dress well – in church attire, in a business suit, or in a child who thinks she should spend more time with grandma.

Like lucifer’s apple, guilt brings knowledge that can’t be trusted.  Swallow it and you’ll be looking for fig leaves.  See if any good will come of guilt.  I dare you.  See when you plant it, what will grow.  See when you hide it, how you are tethered.  Let it educate you and notice that you grow smaller.

Today a friend asked me how things were.  I remembered yesterdays.  Wonderful with sunny emotions.  A collection of connected moments.  I wanted to say something about them.  I was looking in at a shop window.  Chocolates on the shelves behind the glass.  But remembering today, I was denied.

I yelled from my darkened face.  And then I yelled again.  That was the morning.  Then the kids went to school and I went to work.  What a way to walk.  I thought of this and out popped:

I yelled at the kids which I hated, but I don’t hate myself.

It even surprised me.  Saying that to my friend, let me realize that today wasn’t an all-or-none parenting moment.  Many earlier days that began much the same weren’t so forgiving.  And because I didn’t forgive myself so easy, I didn’t forgive others so easy.  The anger chases it’s ratty tail, you know until Guilt tires him out.

Because I didn’t spend the day guilty, the afternoon and evening had a chance.  Down with guilt!  Up with new chances!  Hooray!

Self Care Tip #68 – Take the new chance!  Be a friend to yourself.

Question:  How have new chances redeemed you?  Please tell me your story.