Presence – What is Turning In You?

How the pages turn slowly in life

Image by Nina Matthews Photography via Flickr

It’s summer break already and that means more Mom-time for the kids,… and a few other things.  But if there’s more Mom-time for the kids, we all know what there is more of for Mom.  These things come together and equal more spending-money-time combined with less work-time.  This can’t be without consequence.

I’m thinking stress, memory-makers, lots of kissing marshmellow-cheeks and tears to show.  Always tears.  The kids cry of course but if I do, its all,

Mom!  Oh NO!  Mom!  Stop crying!  Agh.  I can’t stand it when you do that!

Lots of exclamation points are involved.  I’m thinking this summer will have some of that because some days are stressful and painful.  Others are just too beautiful to leave unstained with tears to sign my name by.  Get ready kids!

Tonight, this is what I have.

I am licking my finger and turning a page.  I feel the book as the page slowly fights the air to pass over.  I haven’t seen the other side yet but the way the page lifts up and toward me, I know that this part is significant in itself.  Lick my finger, press it down and sweep up.  Up and passing over, just.  The page is turning and so are we.

Question:  What is turning in your life?

Self-Care Tip #280 – Pay attention to what is turning in you.

Summarizing What You Say About Friendship With Yourself

Friendship

Image by Rickydavid via Flickr

In Summary:

Q1:  What does being “a friend to yourself” mean?

  • self-awareness
  • Acting on that self-awareness
  • Grieving who I wished I was
  • Valuing Me

Q2:  What helps?

  • Knowing where emotions and behaviors come from
  • No self-injury or aggression to others
  • Knowing God
  • Gratitude/self-inventory
  • Support from outside of Me
  • Personal check-points in place to offensively guard again self-sabotage

Q3:  What doesn’t help?

  • Perfectionism
  • Ingratitude
  • Untreated or treatment resistant brain illness
  • Stigma
  • misdirected efforts to feel empowered (such as, preoccupied thoughts = control)
  • isolation
  • habit

Q4:  What helps despite this?

  • Self-forgiveness
  • Realism/Without catastrophizing
  • Tenacity
  • Remembering what your self-care has done
  • Presence

Q5:  What is the relationship between biology and choice when it comes to understanding where emotions and behaviors come from?

  • Biological template determines function
  • Choice is there for using that template

Choosing Perspective

choose

Image by miki** via Flickr

Self-Care Tip #225 – If you can’t choose a better perspective on your own, it might be time to choose it via a medical route.

Feeling trapped?  Overextended?  Used and neglected by others?  It might be true.  But why do we get in these impossible places?

In the Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L’Engle, towards the end of the story we find ourselves in a room with Charles and It.  Charles is trapped by It.  He has disconnected from his own thoughts and has given himself over to the control of “It.”

Charles’ sister, Meg, comes in and reminds him about Love and that changed the perspective of everything.  It reminded Charles about why he wanted to choose for himself, to have his own thoughts, to love and receive love.  And then, with that, Charles was reconnected with himself again, whole and sharing space with Love.

The changing perspective turned what seemed an impossible bondage into freedom.

When we feel disconnected from our personal journey, impossibly overextended and trapped, remembering our freedom to choose, freedom because of Love can make all the difference.  The perspective shifts.  The impossible becomes possible.  Magic.

Sometimes, choosing is thwarted by brain disease.  When we can’t extricate ourselves, when guilt plagues us, when we feel like things are about us that really aren’t, when the emotion jarring us is inappropriate to the context – we need to use that as a cue to choose to get “free” via medical help.

Questions:  When have you felt trapped?  When you did feel trapped, how did you find your freedom?  Please tell me your story.

Write Your Letter To Get Self-Care Insight

Grafitti with social statement

Image via Wikipedia

Self-Care Tip #206 – Write your letter to get what you’re looking for from self-care.  Be a friend to yourself.

So why am I so interested in self-care?

I’m not sure who said this first, but I heard it from speaker and author Peter Rollins, and it rings true.  People write letters not necessarily to communicate to others but because they needed to hear the words themselves.

For example, the smooth Paublo Neruda wrote in his poem XVII (I do not love you…) as translated by Stephen Tapscott,

…I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way

than this: where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.

You may also remember this verse from the movie Patch Adams.  I think Paublo Neruda must have really wanted connection.  And so with me, I’ve been writing my own letters of sorts – every day about self-care.  What do you think about that?

The truth is, it’s not hard to see why I’d need that.

This leads us to victims.  We’ve all seen them, and probably been them at one point or another.  Parents who blamed their kids behaviors for their feelings.  Spouses who blamed their Other for their feelings.  Physicians, nurses, accountants, judges who blamed their colleagues, who blamed their employers – “Every day there is just so much work put on me.  The system’s corrupt.”

What I realized is that I was also living like a victim.  I wasn’t taking care of myself.  No one can give what she doesn’t have.  And I didn’t think I was responsible for this.  I actually thought at some conscious and including subconscious levels that all these other things in life were reason enough to suffer like me.  Many of us think this way – stress leads to poor treatment of ourselves.  It may, or it may not.  But all we can have any control in, is our own selves.

Love Letter

Image via Wikipedia

 

This was my ah-ha.  Self-care begins and ends with Me.  This became a passionate love-letter for me even though I’m still not above “victimhood.”

For us who were “ruined” by their circumstances, tired and loveless because someone cheated us, mad because of thoughtlessness – we were in need of Love.

 

No one is responsible for my emotions but “Me.”

Questions:  Why are you interested in self-care?  What letter have you been writing?  Please tell me your story.

Remember Love to Feel Bigger Than Your Self

A Mothers Love. The Hand of a Child.

Image by Steve Rhode via Flickr

Self-Care Tip #175 – Remember Love.

Yesterday was my son’s birthday and today we partied over him.

How old are you?

He looks at his fingers and sees how many come up before he answers,

Four.  I’m four!

Right now, he feels really big.  He blows his lid if anyone says otherwise.  And because he’s never been above the bottom twentieth percentile on the growth curve, and because he’s four years old and the youngest of three, and because he’s so small, when he says, “I’m big!” looking serious over, yet under you with his bottle cap eyes, it’s really hard to keep straight.  But more often I do …until he loudly says,

I love you the whole day, Mommy!  The whole day!  You are my friend!

Then it’s over for me.  I can’t stay off of him.  He’s just too beautiful.  His open forwardness humbles me and I remember that it’s Love that makes us great.  It’s Love that brings us to our knees.  It’s Love, more than this stack of years, inches and knowledge that makes my son bigger than me when I forget Love.  He doesn’t.  He’s just too small to.  Four years of Love is big.

Questions:  What has helped you remember Love lately?  What has made you feel bigger than your own self?  Please tell me your story.

Lament, Celebrate, Negotiate to Take Care of Yourself

xprojectmanagement.com

Self-Care Tip #146 – Negotiate to get friendly with yourself.

How do you fit in socially when you’re taking care of yourself?  To be social you need another person.  How does that socialization become compatible with self-care?

These were the questions my brilliant sister-in-law, Trixie Hidalgo asked.  It isn’t so apparent really and I get what she’s asking.  Self-care is not all about the self.  There is clearly an exchange.  We are getting something from our environment that in turn is taking from us.  That environment can be anything, such as music, movies, books, work, or interpersonal relationships.  We negotiate with that.  We agree to what we get and what we give contextually.

How does one person in wanting to define self-care for themselves harmonize the exchange?  It’s a reduction of laments and celebrations.  For example, in going to medical school I lost time, opportunity to be a young mother, and joined without directly asking to, the competitive world that is culturally considered masculine – to name a few.  Yet the celebrations, although never equal to the losses, and vice versa, I agreed to.  I made the exchange between myself and my social context.

The self-care skill comes in the experience of your own self-discovery.  How does one do this?  Look inside yourself over and over again.  Lament.  Celebrate.  Negotiate.

For You:  I’m dying to hear your responses.  I have a feeling that they will complete the post, as so often they do.  Please tell me how you reconcile the effort towards self-care with the inherent social context.

What Are You Getting From Pain?

For most people the aftermath of a punch in the face means a phone call to the police or a trip to A&E. But not Lucian Freud. His reaction to a nasty altercation with a taxi driver was to put the pain and anger aside and head to the studio to get his rather impressive black eye down on canvas.

guardian.co.uk – Lucian Freud

Self-Care Tip #136 – Get something other than anger from your pain.

Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away.

Say it however you want, everyone gets and everyone looses.  We could say, “Life,” if you prefer.  Or insert wherever you think good things come from and where they go.

Who hasn’t just gotten their fingers around something they wanted, realizing more and more each moment that they really wanted it, pleasure rising, gratitude and satisfaction driving itself deeper inside – just to find it somehow escaping their grasp?

Morris Venden, preached it.  He had a low, hound-dog voice, a face to match and severe social phobia he struggled with life-long that just added to his beauty.  He preached his own shared experiences with people.  People like me and you.

A man working a job he never liked finally retires and buys his little house to grow old in, a garden he could play with, and a year later finds the love of his life suddenly dead with cancer.   And it all turns to ash for him.

 

Early portraits by Lucian Freud

Your firstborn dies.

You were cruel in a debase way.

You develop mental illness.

Your divorce is ugly.

You father commits suicide.

You have a disabled child, and then another.

You’re paralyzed.

You prostituted yourself for drugs.

When I heard Venden give this talk the first time, I thought I got it.  Even now after years and after darkness, I think I get it.

Before one of his talks, when I was still in medical school, Venden asked me to sing this with him.

Angels never knew the joy that is mine, for the blood has never washed their sins away, tho they sing in Heaven there will come a time, when silently they’ll listen to me sing “Amazing Grace.”

We stood there on stage.  Me smiling too largely because that’s what I did in front of people.  He, uncomfortable, a little blunted and suited with a thick knotted tied, stood a few paces away.

And it’s a song holy angels cannot sing, ‘Amazing grace, how sweet the sound. ‘And it’s a song holy angels cannot sing. ‘I once was lost but now I’m found’

I looked at his droopy moustached face and his eyes were red and wet.

Holy is the Lord, the angels sing, All around the throne of God continually.  For me to join their song will be a natural thing.  But they just won’t know the words to “Love Lifted Me.”

This is what Morris Venden thought he was getting from pain.

What ever our pain-story is, was, and becomes, holding the anger is gripping the ash.  For Morris Venden, he took care of himself by finding this instead of anger – more knowledge of God’s love.  Moving his grip to that was his self-care.

Question:  What are you getting from your pain?  How do you do self-care when you lose?  Please tell me your story.