“You” Are The Best Gift

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Self-Care Tip #123 <–> Take care of yourself.

Before I was found by my man, my brother Vance Johnson used to tell me, “Become the woman whom the kind of man you hope to marry some day would want.”  It was one more thing that helped keep my focus off of searching for boyfun-friends and on to living my life.

Of course it doesn’t end when we get what we want.  When we stop growing, we stop living – as Sarah said in the blog-post, “You Are Enough.”  Regardless of where we are in life, we are responsible for being the person that the people we want in our life want to be with.

Many of us deteriorate under the guise of service, employment, obligation, parenting, care-giving or whatever reason.  We neglect ourselves and then give that battered up self to our hopes and to the people we love.

Don’t be misled.  If asked, those very people we are serving would say, “Just take care of yourself.”  If you don’t believe it, reverse it.  What do you want to say to the over-extended people you love?

Jennifer who is a stay at home mom, tells me that she feels so guilty when she takes time to go for a run.  She laughs, saying her husband wants her to go.  He comes home and tells her, “Go!  I’ll watch the kids.”  Yet she still feels bad.  She thinks about her husband’s long day at work and the kids moods, their needs, what she could do for them, and she can barely force herself to leave.  Once she does, she says she always feels great about herself and them, and comes home having more than she did before to offer.

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Taking care of ourselves, is giving the best gift to the people we love.  “Me.”  Taking care of ourselves might be the most selfless thing we could do.  It keeps us connected to our life journey, which by definition includes keeping us connected to the very people we love.

Keep on!

Question:  Where are you in your journey?  Taking care of yourself, connected, disconnected?  How does it affect those you love?  Please tell me your story.

What’s Happening in Your Space?

Almost finished a triathlon today.  If it wasn’t for that chafing because I forgot my biking shorts, I think I would have.  I was wearing surfer shorts.  I will never poke at people who whine about chafing.  They’re right!  It hurts!  Enough for me to cut my run in half twice.  And I walked.   People I saw afterward kept saying “At least you finished!”  I felt like I had to confess but then I’d want to explain so I left it all out which I know in itself is a little lie if there is any such thing as a little lie, so I’m atoning by confessing to you.  There.  (Breath.)

The truth is, even though I cut across lawn, and walked the cross walk, and broke all sorts of athlete-codes of honor, I had such a wonderful time.  With all my abbreviating, I caught up with my brother, Vance Johnson, and his 10% body fat.  He’s always been sensitive, so he kindly slowed to walk me down the last stretch.  We don’t get to spend enough time together and even a few moments like that are golden!  We were laughing and strolling and probably looking too pleased to be appropriate for the last 40 yards of a long race.  So, of course it took us both a few extra seconds to realize what the woman had yelled as her large frame thundered by.  “If you aren’t going to race, get off the road!”  It was extra shocking because it was like a parallel universe suddenly collided ours.  We were happy.  I with my swollen inner thigh, and Vance with his little sister as audience.  It was over-cast, perfect weather for the day.  The beach was a few yards to our right.  Everything else was San Diego green.  Then, Pow!  “Get off the road!”

At first, I was ticked.  “Listen …,” I said in my mind.  Not nice.  But then I saw my brother.  How could I be angry?

There were many scenarios of this woman’s life that a carousel flashed on the screen in my mind.  Maybe none of them were true. Maybe she was simply an avid committed athlete who found us people soiling her turf.  Whatever the situation was, she was finishing the race and looked like she’d done well for her potential.  She hadn’t cut lawn and street.  She wasn’t walking.  She was running or galloping or something.  But she wasn’t happy about any of it.  Looking back, she might see us as the reason her mood soured.  Regardless the reason or the date and time of onset, she was sour.

It was only a few moments really that my thoughts stayed on her.  Vance had moved on to another subject and I didn’t want to miss it.  Reflecting now though, of course I’m struck by the perspective of success and failure.  A race is a perfect stage for demonstrating something with a beginning, middle and ending.  Sounds like a shortened version of life.

I’m not sure who first said that there is only one beginning and one ending to life.  “It’s the journey that matters.”  Probably God.  Someone who is timeless and infinite would get that.  Today He blessed us with that.  I can’t count on myself to have it the next time.  God knows I’ve been the one screaming something like, “Get off the road!” enough times before.  But next time, I hope I remember what God gave Vance and me today.  I hope I will succeed as happily as I did today when I lost the race.

Self Care Tip #65 – Get into the in-between spaces in your life and go for the joy!  Be a friend to yourself.

Question:  What have you been finding in your own space?  What do you think?

If you’d like to read more blog posts on the journey, read here.