Thursday, January 29, 2009

when i loved myself enough...

A couple of years ago I bought a little book entitled 'When I loved myself enough' by Kim McMillen. It's a collection of the author's reflections and musings on life and herself in the midst of life, and I thought it could be useful in any future counselling practice I might have. Of course we all need a little counselling from time to time, and the other day I pulled the book off the shelf to see if there was anything relevant to my situation.

When I loved myself enough I started eating organically grown food (except for those occasional fruit pies of course). Hmmm, yes I understand this, I identify, I am eating more and more organic foods myself.

When I loved myself enough I started treating myself to a massage at least once a month.
Well I did plan to have massages more often after that beautiful massage last September, but somehow I still haven't got around to it. Is it a little too indulgent anyway?

When I loved myself enough I began listening to the wisdom of my body. It speaks so clearly through its fatigue, sensitivities, aversions and hungers.
We're on to something here. I ignored the wisdom of my body for most of 2008 and I am living with the almost burned out results. In 2009 my goal is to look after myself better, to nurture the bruised spirit, to feed the aching places. That means positioning a guard around my borders, being deliberate in what I choose to do or not do, being kind to myself and engaging in a little healthy protectivism. Ah yes, Kim McMillen has some things to say here too. When I loved myself enough I felt compelled to slow down - way down. And that has made all the difference.

I'm not personally good at the slow thing. I read a book on it last year, I know the benefits, might even know how to slow down, but I still struggle to do it. Life has so much to offer. So many delights call me to indulge, participate, enjoy. I have so much I want to do with my time! To slow down will mean a hefty effort to just. say. no. When I loved myself enough I learned to say no when I want to and yes when I want to. The trouble is I rarely want to say no!

I suppose there would be little benefit in making new year aims and resolutions if they were never tested - what would be the point, where is the challenge in a goal that is little more than a garden stroll? And so the testing came.

I have been invited to consider being a media representative for an upcoming event. What a thrill! Cecily in front of the cameras (is my hair OK?)! Oh so enticing. Of course there was more to this than the mere stroking of my over grown ego - I believe passionately in the cause, I dream of making a difference on this issue, I want to contribute to the better good of the world. All good reasons to say yes. Yes. YES!

Until I remembered my commitment to look after myself. Then I noticed the tension tightening up my stomach, the increased tossing and turning as sleep evaded me and I puzzled over how to fit this in around my other undertakings. Could I say yes and remain true to my promise to guard the ragged edges?

In the end I said no, but it was hard. Such an opportunity! What doors might it have opened? Will I be offered the chance again? At the same time, I feel peace and strength. I feel content I made the right decision for this stage of my life. There will be other opportunities - maybe not the same, but they will come. There will be other moments. For now, focus on healing. Hold onto the more calm, relaxed me.

When I loved myself enough I could say no because I needed to, not just because I wanted to. That surely bodes well for a year of gentle growth.

Labels: ,

Monday, January 26, 2009

fun in the sun

It's hard to stay miserable with these summer delights on offer.

About thirty minutes from here is a pick-your-own blueberry farm. I picked two and a half kilos for only $11.20. That's an incredible $4.50 a kilo compared to $5 per 150g in the shops. You've got to be kidding!

I've never been before, but after this foray on Saturday I'll be going again for sure! Although not until I've finished drying, freezing, jamming, muffining, tarting and eating the current supply.

Joy, joy, lip licking joy!

Labels: , ,

Sunday, January 25, 2009

life is like a magic bean

I have some amazing beans growing in my garden. Called 'Purple King', they produce a beautiful, deep purple bean that can grow to nearly twenty centimetres in length. In the pot, the beans cook into the soft green colour one expects of a bean. I toyed with the idea of eating them in all their purple rawness (they looked so delicious and tempting), until I discovered raw beans contain compounds found to be poisonous to humans. So we're eating green beans the traditional way and they taste good.

There's something in heat induced transmutation I think: poisonous purple beans become green and edible, gold becomes pure gold, and summer transforms inside and out. Lackadaisical as this summer is proving to be, each laid back, sun kissed moment leaves behind a warm deposit.

I was in the kitchen cooking up a mini storm this afternoon (Raspberry Curd Swirl Cake) when I noticed a lightness that has been absent for some time. I breathed deeply of the kitchen aromas (heaven must surely smell of Raspberry Curd Swirl Cake), turned my face to the sunlight that streamed in the window and disbelievingly felt around the outer reaches of my heart, as if testing my legs with ginger steps after a heavy fall. There's ragged edges there for sure, but I'm still intact. Healing even.

The sun is shining, the clouds are fluffy, the beans are purple, the cake divine, the chickens dandy (the one that still lives anyway), the house clean. Everything just feels brighter, which is nice.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, January 08, 2009

in search of treasure

It could be a touch of post-holiday blues, sliding down off the high of sun and surf and sleeping late into wind and cold and schedules. It was just the break we needed, but it was over too soon and isn't that enough to make any normal person feel somewhat miserable?

Personally I don't think it is post-holiday blues. More a touch of mild depression. For some time I have felt detached from events going on around me, a puppet on strings woodenly observing everyone else living life. My internal mood gauge is flashing its own warning sign - the clouds are devoid of beauty. When I am happy and engaged and enthusiastic about life, clouds never fail to capture my attention. Be they dark and threatening, scudding in fast motion past azure blue, billowing upwards in sun tipped splendour or making faces, I notice and drink in their beauty. Not now though. Now they seem all grey. The sky is grey, the flowers are grey, life stands out in monochrome.

I've been here before, in this greyness. Same story, different stressors: too much emotion leaking from numerous small wounds, too little restocking with love and light and life. God is love. Jesus is the light of the world. The Holy Spirit breathes life. I missed them. Forgot them in the midst of the wounding and now I am depleted, reduced, a shadow.

The trouble with depression is that it draws me so fully into its misery. The sky is not grey, nor are the flowers, and life beckons me in full colour, yet depression dulls my senses, shutters my eyes and the truth dances past unnoticed.

I was depressed once before and it was worse. My good friend contracted me to call her if I thought I might kill myself. I never really contemplated ending my own life, there was no plan. I only wished someone else would end it all for me, that I might not wake up and have to face another day. No, it's not that bad this time and I'm imbibing St John's Wort, Berocca and endorphins in an effort to prevent any further progression in that direction.

Something else I remember from previous blue days was the turning point. I know depression is more than the result of negative thinking, but when you're miserable the mind tends to misery. Negative thoughts crowd in unbeckoned. There is a temptation to wallow: woe is me, for I am undone. I remember deciding then enough was enough. I had sat in the pit for long enough and it was time to look up. In the end I came out of that depression in a matter of days, although I had been down there for a few months.

With previous experience in mind, I'm trying to cultivate positive thinking. The world is not playing out its life in black and white, so every day I look for a flash of colour and cling to it. Today it was the sense of community at the homespun market I stumbled across, chatting casually with people I knew, barely knew or had never met before in my life. Yesterday it was the moon shining it's pure white light onto a world already tipped with pink from the setting sun. Like extra lighting in a photograph that cancels out lines and wrinkles, the moon cast a soft, perfecting glow over our very ordinary street. On holidays I was fascinated by the sand balls produced by tiny crabs.

Natural artistry that delighted me no end.

I call them my treasures, those daily flashes of brightness in the midst of the grey. God's gifts breathing love and light and life back into the dark recesses of my mind. Each day I find one and hold it in my hand, gazing upon it, letting healing and hope flow. Day by day colour creeps past the shutters of my mind.

I am restored one treasure at a time.

Labels: , ,

Monday, January 05, 2009

a holiday is made of this...

Align Center