Recently, my son had a loose tooth that would not come out. I mean, this thing was hanging on by a thread. He tolerated it for a while, then asked if I would call the dentist to have them remove it. For him to actually request the dentist is unheard of, so I called first thing the next morning.
I was expecting them to offer me an appointment in the next day or two, but they’d had a cancellation and wanted to know if I could come in later that day. I said yes because I knew my son was uncomfortable and did not want him to have to wait any longer than needed.
The thing of it is, I already had a fairly busy day ahead of me. So I got on the phone and began the task of reordering and re- arranging the next several hours of my life. The pace of the day went from ( sort of) leisurely to frenetic and hurried. By the time evening rolled around and I went to lead my women’s group, I felt off kilter, agitated, wound up, and churning inside. I did not feel like myself at all.
I’m aware just reading back what I wrote of that judgy voice in my head that goes ” Really, Candace. Really? You got whipped into a frenzy because your schedule changed? There are people who have to deal with far more urgent things every day than that. Must be nice to have such high class problems” . She’s a real ball-buster, that inner critic.
And yet, there is a tread of truth in what I wrote that rings absolutely true. Yes, I did get off balance because my day went from one way to another in 0-60. That’s right. And not only is it right, it’s perfectly ok, because that’s how I am wired. The whole experience really got me thinking about how does my life look when I function at my best. What is the flow of my day and my week and my month that allows me to be of the greatest service to myself and others. So, I came up with a list I’m calling The Care and Maintenance of Me. Here’s what I’ve got so far:
I need lots of emotional space to process my big feelings and my relationships. I need spaciousness in my day to breathe in between tasks, appointments, and commitments, even it if something I enjoy. I don’t do well if I have one thing after the other all day, if I’m running here and there. It feels frenetic and crazy making to me. And at the end of the day, I feel drained, overwhelmed and anxious. I need pauses and gaps and pit stops throughout any given 24 hour period.
I function so much better when there is not crap strewn about in my environment. And let me tell you that is challenging with a 7 year old son who has about 5 million legos and plastic soldiers. Its not so much that I need everything in it’s place, but I do need it out of my sight. Otherwise, I feel distracted by it and unable to focus on what I’m actually doing.
Quiet and Solitude:
I am an introvert by nature. I’ve tried to make myself not be, and it just ends up going badly. For everyone. Most weeks, I chose to limit my interactions with other people to a minimum. My nervous system really can’t metabolize more than one or two social gatherings a week, outside of work. Frankly, I have made myself wrong about this over the years. Like there was something the matter with me that I did not want to be with people more frequently than I do. And I just don’t . It drains me like nobody’s business. So I’m ( still) learning to work with this tender part of me and strike a balance between isolating and having fried circuits.
Predicability and Routine:
Yea, this one caught in my throat a little on the way out. I really like to believe that I am this go with the flow, up for whatever, whenever, fly by the seat of my pants gal. It somehow seems glamorous to me. And yet I am simply not ( most of the time). I really thrive when I know what’s coming next in my day, in my calendar and frankly in my life. Last minute change of plans throw me into a tizzy. Did you read the part about the dentist above? Of course, life happens and I can adjust if needed. I just don’t like to. Or want to. And I need some recovery time after.
Beauty and Pleasure:
These are fairly new ones for me. I’m realizing I want to surround myself with beauty wherever I am. At home that means fresh flowers, sheets that feel and smell good, food that looks and tastes delicious. Arranging dinner on a lovely plate instead of a plastic one. Pouring my water from a glass vase into a goblet instead of turning on the tap and slapping it into a souvenir Disney cup. It means being outside more in nature and the sunshine and long, luxurious bubble baths with fragrant candles and yummy smelling bath salts. I don’t always have or take the time to do these things, but man when I do, I feel so nourished!
Cultivating my life around the ( truer) essence of me makes me a better human being. Truly. It is deeply honoring of how I am created and put together. And it will be the same for you!
How can you honor the rhythms and cycles of your unique being? What would you put on the list for the care and maintenance of you?