February is here and the ground hog, at least the one I listen to, Wiarton Willie has said that spring will come early this year.
I struggle to keep my optimism afloat as I look out the window today at the 2.5 feet of snow that fell overnight, cancelling school, busses and even closing my place of work!
Still, I like this better than the dull grey skies suffocating the world and clogging up my brain.
The snow is fluffy and white, and while I cannot get Youngest out of bed most school day, I am in awe of how quickly the opportunity to enjoy a day off school that is NOT a weekend will launch him from his bed! I predict backyard dog wrestling will be followed my me dog wrestling a snowball packed canine into a tub to de-snowballize her.
Everyone is home, except oldest, and half of us have showered and are dressed. Once the snow slows down it is all hands on shovels and the snowblower. Seven o'clock found me on the back deck in my pj's and boots, frantically shovelling a path for the dogs to get out to pee.....
They looked at me doubtfully and I actually had to pick them up and set them outside. No way they were going out there ---didn't matter how bad they had to go.
It is the perfect day to sit at the computer, knowing there is nowhere to go and nothing to do (except laundry and dinner)....but it is a free day...or so it feels,
Back to my the work at hand:
Balanced and healthy pleasure nurtures our soul. Through our flow of desire comes our zest for living. If we deny or suppress our desires, we can become anxious, depressed, emotionally uninvolved, or distant. List ways you might be judging or denying the natural flow of pleasure in your life and why.
Ouch! I think I covered this in my last post.
Reflecting on what makes me happy, I can identify the disconnect from nature I feel during this time of year. I don't like the cold. Don't ski, don't skate, snowboard---nothing outdoors in the winter.
So unless I go somewhere warm, which won't happen for another 6 weeks or so, my connection to nature is cut off ---which is a clear source of happiness.
Maybe I should try to go outside? Bundle up? Even 10 minutes?
Is there something I can do indoor that can help?
I remember, not too long ago, in a Zumba class at the gym (by not too long I mean probably a year ago? Ummm...longer than I thought) I remember being exhausted and sweaty--but finally my muscles had warmed up. I knew the steps, I felt the music and my body was singing with complete joy. I felt in my body and yet not of my body as it was my spirit that moved and soared and jumped and laughed and felt free. It was bliss.....
With work and home, I have not had a chance to get to the gym often. When I do go, it has been for yoga/Tai Chi/Pilates. No dance. Hmmm... I will think on this. Can I invite more dance into my life?
How much of this is my own doing? In going back to work, I have not asked for any extra support from the Spouse. Why? I know he is busy. Will he say no? Am I not asking because I enjoy playing the martyr here? Full on mom and working and managing the house? Ah the Superwoman comes out --my Inner Mean Girls have been slyly working their way back to the forefront. Comparison Queen and Superwoman. Woah.
Now that I call them out--their smug, self-congratulatory smiles tell it all. They have been distracting me...but I see them now. Time to put them back where they belong and call on my Inner Wisdom.
She is always there. Calm, waiting. She is not pushy or judgemental, but waits to be invited in.
We will have to have a chat, she and I. I need her now and the other two need to get back to their new jobs I assigned them after Inner Mean Girl Reform School.
Comparison Queen is really my Inspiration Queen - inspiring me to be brave and look at new opportunities that other people have embraced to find ways to encourage me forward.
My Superwoman needs to go back to my Cheerleader - reminding me I am amazing and talented and nothing is too overwhelming if I continue to look after myself first so that I can look after everyone else that I love.
BACK TO WORK LADIES!!
Connect to the physical sensations of what calm happiness feels like in your body. Compare that to how the body feels when it is anxious, sad, or worried. Write down your responses, noting your breathing patterns, muscle tension, and any visceral sense of contraction or ease.
I meditate, almost every day. So it is not all that hard to get recreate that feeling of peace in my body. I just have to remember to do so! Amy Ahlers, I read, sets a timer on her computer so that a tone goes off every 70 minutes. It reminds her to connect to her breathing...be present...reset.
I have tried this--not with the tone--but when I catch my monkey mind (so I hear it is called) running amok with "what ifs" or lengthy angry dialogue directed at people I will never confront.
Sometimes, it takes a while to reset. My shoulders are up around my ears, my chest is tight, my jaw clenched and my breathing shallow. Often my hands are shaking as I try to do three things at once and I can't seem to focus or even hear those around me.
The scary part it, I used to live like that. No wonder I crashed so hard.
I will initiate "the tone"---on my phone perhaps? Not sure yet. I imagine it would be frowned upon in a meeting to have a Tibetan bell mark the moment I need to stand and stretch and reconnect with the earth.
More thought is required. The idea is sound---the execution needs work.
What does it mean when all the parts of your life are flowing smoothly? What does that look like? How does it feel?
When things are flowing smoothly nothing FEELs as bad. It doesn't mean bad things don't happen; they just don't derail your day.
Days that things are in FLOW you recognize that you may be late due to traffic and decide to enjoy the song on the radio and the sunshine pouring through the window instead of struggling with your cel phone and raging at the drivers in front of you.
On FLOW days you see the love and affection in your dogs' wiggling bodies, not their determination to trip you as you struggle through the door with grocery bags, already late for starting dinner.
On FLOW days you see the value of taking 15 minutes for a hot soak in the tub.
On FLOW days you are exactly who you are supposed to be and where you are supposed to be without judgement.
On FLOW days you are imperfectly perfect.
On FLOW days you don't feel the need to talk just to contribute. You know your value.
On FLOW days you know there is no end--you have no where to "get"---you are not failing or flailing or falling or at fault.
On FLOW days --you are enough, exactly as you are.