Category Archives: Food
I am at the point in my life (my life with less drama) where I can begin to make my days my own. It is quite uncomfortable still, because I have a long history of being reactive and working my life around others. But the plain truth of it is, I am more free and able right now to create my own routine and have the freedom to keep up my routine without guilt or huge catastrophe.
Coming into one’s own routine is a real exercise though. I have been trying for ages to come to a clear realization of what I do every day that is really me, that I personally find really necessary, both the work and the play… I think that is why I began, a little while ago, keeping track of what I was doing day to day (filling in my calendar as I went, instead of only filling in my calendar and trying to stay strictly to that that ‘regimen’). I deserve to acknowledge what my activities are, haphazard or not, and pick out what my genuine needs are desires are and make sure I have those in there somewhere throughout each week so that I don’t feel like I am pushing myself too hard for too long with work, and depriving myself serially of ‘fun’.
Taking a close look at those calendar-documented days though has been super hard to do. Not wanting to really face (my perceptions of) how…disorganized, or unskilled I am at conducting my life. Once I began really dealing with my relationships and codependence issues I became also self-conscious of how inundated my life is with those feelings, thoughts, habits, actions that ooze codependence, indecision, fear, reactiveness, exasperation, victimhood, resentment, procrastination. Those things are written all over my days, weeks, months, years… Not easy to sift through.
But if I do sift through them, I find a desire to make my time my own. To break through a barrier of feeling like I am always running from time like it is a tidal wave coming up from behind, or running to finish dozens of things so that I can catch up to a moment in my life where I am supposed to be.
In my mornings I need to wak up to something nice. (This is the little poster I put beside my bed yesterday.)
In the mornings I also need to settle into my own headspace by exercising, coming into my body somehow. As a result of my childhood and of being in relationships with unsettled people and addicts my reaction to waking is usually a traumatic one. My mind races almost immediately…Maybe trying to escape something, maybe trying to anticipate something, maybe, regretting something from the day before…I don’t know. But it is not relaxing to wake up.
So, lately I have allowed myself to cater to that awareness that getting into my body with exercise is going to reduce the anxiety that is triggered through that morning mental rollercoaster ride.
Even after less than 10 minutes of yoga or stretches or walking it is like I can feel my ‘feet fall gently back to the ground’ and I get some traction for my day. Even just a little feels good.
Ideally I “Om” for 3 minutes at 8am (at the same time as some friends who also do the same wherever they are). And ideally I do a 15 minute meditation. I have had a difficult time sticking to these lately because I pressure myself mentally “You have already taken the time to be happy and exercise! How much more time do you need for yourself..!?” That is the voice of my mother, the disregard of my father, the neediness of some of my addict exes that I am still, for some reason, kind of jarred by.
Then eating is my next big, most amazing thing. I have really established an entitlement to regular breakfasts and good ones. My favorite things. Berries. Most often I have my smoothie (1/2 banana, raspberries & blueberries or strawberries or cranberries, or any berries…hehe…and peanut butter and ground flax, and sometimes greens, and maybe a date or two, and almond milk or coconut milk or cashew milk). This has gotten me through many hours of intense morning yoga training. I may or may not go onto the bigger breakfast right away, but I usually need, not long after, a bigger bite – oatmeal, or eggs, or pancakes, or granola…
Then after that comes the most challenging part of my day. If I don’t have ‘something’ scheduled, like an appointment or a class or something like that, I risk experiencing the fear of my own work.
I often have lots of errands to run, lots of admin things to do (planning and advertising yoga, etc.) and I definitely have lots of home chores to do), and I end up putting off the most me-centred, long-term productive activities until ‘later’. It is one of those things that I ‘cannot control’. Investing the time and thought in things that are going to lift me up, make me money, make me seen are the most terrifying activities.
That may be one of the reasons I began to document my days in my calendar in the first place…because I felt like I was so busy doing things all day but I always found that the most crucial things (publishing a paper, finishing a chapter, etc.) were the things that got the least of my time. And I experience so much shame.
So, making a routine of my own…I guess I have gotten somewhere. And I must say that I am further along with working on writing or planning a class when I am terrified of it. I think the thing that is key is making a routine of the things that I need to do, to eat, to feel so that I can do what I am supposed to do. One can not do the work they need to sustain themselves, do what we need to do to serve others in the world, share our knowledge and our talents without feeling good in our minds and our bodies…
So I am on the right track. Gosh, glad to be writing this. Breaking down barriers. Thank you.
What gives me the highest value and satisfaction in my work?
I wrote this question down weeks ago with the understanding that the answer would come to me. I didn’t want to force it. Or answer the question intellectually.
And this morning when the question popped up as a ‘reminder’ from my calendar, I began to feel the answer.
Something that gives me the highest value and satisfaction in my work as a yoga teacher, and now as a personal yoga teacher giving personalized hot stone, yoga, and thai massage sessions, is the connection with people, the feeling I have about what they need and my ability to do something about that using a combination of my own personal experience with physical injury and pain, physical discomfort, injury, tension, wear and tear, neglect, and my years and years of knowledge about my body, and about others’ experience with unnecessary dependency on drugs or 15-minute treatments rather than exercise and self-care (stretching, and other simple exercises).
I think I feel so satisfied giving people the simple self-care answers and guidance. And all it takes is for them to get used to the fact that there are simple self-care answers, and that when they are out of answers all they have to do is ask me, or research a little.
We are such a ‘bandaid’ society, that I can have a real niche here…
It is this personal understanding that makes me feel great though, that makes this a possibility.
Yes – this is about taking care of me, the adult, by taking care of Little Me inside.
Although we have long been ‘adults’ on paper. Not all of us (maybe not most of us) have learned to take good care of ourselves, or more importantly take care of ourselves consistently, as a non-negotiable habit over the long term. Even as you read this things will come to mind about what you’ve been “meaning to do” about your sleep, your eating, your physical fitness, your moods, your relationships, and without skipping a beat your mind will jump to the justifications and excuses for not having been doing what you mean to do right away. I feel that too. That is what we live with every day that makes us feel no better than the day before and that makes us come to accept uncomfortable states of feeling, being, acting, and interacting. Feeling not our best has become normal.
I am deciding to go at my ‘Feeling Excellent Plan’ by going back to basics.
Once I started reading Taming Your Outer Child (Anderson), I didn’t learn, I was simply reminded that I have basic needs every day that I can satisfy. I am a parent taking care of my Inner Child. Whether someone took care of your basic needs as a child or not, you knew what your basic needs were, because if they weren’t met you were upset or unhappy, or uncomfortable. Going back to thinking about satisfying the basic needs of child makes this job appear easier, because hey, who can’t take care of baby, toddler, or little kid… (Well, that is a bit of a rhetorical question…hehe).
My point is that, in order to make myself feel better, all I have to do is start with the basics! Eating, sleeping, getting outside for exercise and socialization, stimulating my mind and senses, and creating boundaries for myself when it comes to my behavior (for me and for others).
Clear boundaries, expectations, and consequences work for us adults too. If I clearly and openly establish my boundaries for, say, working too long or too late, then I know that there will be consequences (I will be grouchy, tired, and not motivated to go back to it again later or tomorrow). As adults, we can trace our patterns and behaviors and make them clear to ourselves. Reflect on the consequences of our behaviors and change our expectations from, for example, “work is going to tiring and unrewarding all afternoon!” to “work is going to be exciting and productive today!” Once we change the expectations we can do what is necessary to change our behavior to meet those expectations and avoid negative, discouraging consequences all together. We don’t even have to ‘punish’ ourselves… The negative consequences are the punishment. And we can stop those from ever happening by ‘disciplining’ ourselves – which for adults is more like being aware and mindful and changing what needs to be changed for the sake of our need to feel good.
What we needed as children, we still need as adults, especially if we find ourselves unable to give ourselves what we need to meet our own basic needs. i.e. Love, Routine, Consistency, Repetition, Praise, Discipline, Assurance. (see Jo Frost’s Book, The Toddler Rules). We just might need to work on it more intensely or for a longer time if we did not have a great experience as a child. As adults we, without argument or excuse, are to afford ourselves Time, Commitment, Energy, Patience, Persistence, and Perspective. And automatically we gain Willpower, Education/Information, Understanding, Incentive, and a greater sense of Support.
My first step (which I have been fumbling with for weeks if not months) is to give myself a certain routine. I have been looking over my calendar planning and my patterns and I am going to establish a routine for myself – specifically because I am craving security, calm, predictability. On days where I feel like I can not seem to do everything I planned or envisioned I end up flapping all over the place like a fish on a dock.
The Feeling Excellent Plan — going back to basic, simple, small moves. That child in me is alive and well. And once she is fed, napped, exercised, and cuddled, the rest of me will feel A LOT better.
Well, I’ll let you know how it goes.
Things it will do no use to judge myself for today.
I stayed in bed until almost 1pm.
I gave in.
I procrastinated all day about finding a job instead of finding something to apply for.
I played the avoidance game.
I didn’t exercise on purpose until 740 tonight, when I walked to a meeting and back again.
I judged people in my mind.
I thought of things on my to-do list and then thought about how I could do them tomorrow instead of today, including sending birthday presents, selling books and clothes, and calling a friend back. And purging. And putting clothes away…
I watched a movie tonight instead of doing something ‘productive’.
I ducked out of a situation so that I didn’t have to talk to people, or not for too long.
I thought about things I could spend money on even though I do not have any income right now.
I thought of excuses for not doing things, instead of reasons.
I didn’t clean out the cat’s litter box.
I ate cookies at 10pm at night, or later. I made cookies at 9:30 at night.
I forgot things.
If I don’t judge myself for these things, what exactly am I supposed to with this repertoire of (in)actions?????
Hm. Acceptance, eh…?
What do these things mean? About me? About my sense of responsibility? About my fragility? About my ability to take care of myself?
There are a lot of different ways to look upon oneself…