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Are you rushing a lot? Hustling to get everything done? Do you feel exhausted and depleted? Regularly? Have you forgotten what it feels like to simply sit and do absolutely nothing? Do you play? Do you even remember how to play? When was the last time you wasted time---and didn't feel an ounce of guilt?
Is it easy for you to be kind to yourself? If you're like many people, the answer is a big, clear-cut no. It's not easy at all. Instead you're more used to berating yourself. Instead you're more used to criticizing your every move. To being impatient. To minimizing your struggles. To minimizing yourself.
Does this sound like your morning: You wake up to your alarm, grab your phone and start scrolling social media, news headlines and your inbox. You learn about something terrible or tragic, something you can't shake. Your mind focuses on the 100 tasks you need to do before 10 a.m. Or it turns to a few or a slew of negative, worrisome thoughts. Or you jump out of bed, already fearful that you forgot something. Or you sleep walk from your bed to the bathroom (and likely trip on something on your way). Or you beg the kids to start brushing their teeth, and sprint into the kitchen to start breakfast. And you already feel behind.
Every day, we face many annoyances that only weigh us down. Annoyances that sink our energy and our mood. Annoyances that genuinely affect us. Annoyances that take time and attention away from what really matters to us. We assume there's absolutely nothing we can do. And sometimes, acceptance is our best bet. But other times we can get creative. Other times we can become intolerant (in a good way, of course).
I just penned a post for my creativity blog about exploring our nighttime dreams to inspire new projects---and to gain a deeper, richer understanding of ourselves. Because exploring our dreams uncovers our inner world. According to Susan M. Tiberghien in her book One Year to a Writing Life: Twelve Lessons to Deepen Every Writer’s Art and Craft, "C.G. Jung defines the dream as the little hidden door in the innermost recesses of the soul."
We fill ourselves with food. Food that we don't savor. Food that we barely even taste. We fill ourselves with alcohol. Too much alcohol. Parties. Endless gatherings and events. People who are critical, maybe even cruel. We fill ourselves with new clothes, new shoes, new trinkets, meaningless objects we don't need or even enjoy. And yet we still feel empty. Hollow. Depleted. Under-nourished. Maybe even starving or gasping for air.
I think our homes can be rich sources of self-care. Because we can create environments that nourish us. That make it easy to do the activities that feed our souls. Environments that are connected to our values. That are connected to how we want to feel. Calm. Energized. Inspired. Curious. Something else entirely.
Being a stay-at-home-mom is both rewarding and challenging. One of the challenges is that it's easy to lose yourself. It's easy to put yourself last. You have a laundry list of tasks. Dirty dishes. Dirty diapers. And your child needs you. All. The. Time.
In one of my favorite magazines, Bella Grace, they asked readers about their favorite ways to spoil themselves. Readers shared everything from delicious iced coffee to used books to organic, locally grown foods to soft, plush bedding to an 8:30 p.m. bedtime to good socks to postage stamps.
Vows are powerful statements for our lives. Which become powerful actions. According to physician and Zen teacher Jan Chozen Bays, M.D., in her thoughtful, practical book The Vow-Powered Life: A Simple Method for Living with Purpose: "Vows are the forces that weave together the fabric of our life and all of life. Without vows, without purposeful action, life would cease to exist."