Tag Archives: self-love

The View From Here

I’m a firm believer that walking can be a metaphor for anything in life. A journey of a thousand miles . . . the path less traveled . . . it’s not the destination, it’s the journey . . . the straight and narrow path . . . two steps forward, one back . . . am I right, or am I right?

I’ve been on a bit of a journey lately, and frankly, I was afraid to take you along. I thought you might jinx it. I felt fragile. Like writing about it might break it and I’d have to go back to the start. Besides, the introvert in me likes to travel alone, and you might talk too much. You might disturb my inner thoughts or suggest a different trail.

Well, I decided it might be good for me, and maybe even you, if I tell you where I’m at, what the terrain looks like, how far I’ve come, and maybe where I think I’m headed.

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The trail is called Intuitive Eating, and there’s a book by the same name. There are many books by other names, and social media pages you can find by Googling Body Acceptance, Self Compassion, Body Love, BoPo, and Anti-Diet. It’s a movement that encompasses bodies of every size, age, color and ability. It’s about inner peace and love, and you know I’m all over that.

I’m not a stranger to beginning a journey. I began anew every morning and by nightfall felt lost. I cried alone in the dark. At daybreak I’d set out again. It’s a cruel circle. I’m talking about dieting. I was a self-proclaimed, out-of-the-closet diet junkie. I’ve described it as trying to stand still in the surf. It’s impossible.

Wading into the water, there will come tides and surges. There is no controlling it, only adjusting to it. And sometimes you need to let the waves carry you in or out a little bit before you find footing again.

Dieting isn’t that. Dieting is willing yourself to stand still. Most of us just end up face-planted in the sand wondering what happened. Then we wake up and try the same thing the next morning, maybe from a different spot on the beach, exclaiming over the roar of the surf that, “Today we will stand!” And expect a different result.

I’m afraid I’m mixing up my metaphors, but let’s just imagine this trail meandered somewhere along the ocean and opened up on a beach. And that’s just it! I’m not sure exactly where this trail is going to go next. But I do know it’s already taken me to some awesome overlooks and some really rough terrain.

unnamed-1So if you can stand the poetic metaphors, I invite you to lace up your walking shoes and join me. If you just want to sit at home and read my posts from the couch, that’s okay too. I’m not a trail expert by any means, but I am an expert on the steps I’ve taken. There are historical centers and information booths I’ll point out along the way, but if you ask me, all I can tell you about is my own experience and send pictures of the view from here.

Peace . . .

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Coffee, a Good Friend and a Dog

As I sit in the quiet of my own thoughts, I am reminded of one of my best practices, “Be your own best friend.”  I love to sit on the couch before the house wakens and watch the sun come up.  The sky changes hues, the clouds shift, and the world comes alive.

There is no one else I would rather be with in these moments than my self.  We sit, the two of us, in our honesty and peace, and share a steaming cup of coffee, perhaps with cinnamon or cream.

“How delicious,” I say, as the warmth fills my chest.

I remember the week, with its lists and rush and habitual planning.  I wince.  “Remember what I said to that guy at work?”  My self smiles, and remembers.  “He knows you didn’t mean it like that,” she says.  “You probably didn’t sound as crazy as you think you did.”

My self is practical, and forgiving.  And she’s right.  The guy probably doesn’t even remember what I said, much less how I said it.  I reach for a doughnut hole that Bubba brought home the day before.  It smells delicious and pairs well with the coffee.  My self smiles.  “Don’t forget how well you’ve been taking care of yourself.”   I haven’t forgotten, and I promise my self that I will savor it and eat something healthier later.

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The dog lays her warm head on my knee.  Her brown eyes are irresistible.  I trace her forehead with my fingertips.  The sky is beginning to lighten.  The clouds are purple-grey.

Funny stories from the week return.  Bubba using foreign accents just to hear me laugh.  A coworker teasing me on the phone.  My self chuckles, and says, “What would it be like to see nothing humorous in the world?”  For a moment, I feel guilty.  “I suppose there is enough suffering in the world that I shouldn’t make idle fun at every turn.”  My self thinks this over for a moment and replies, “I suppose there is enough suffering in the world that one should find humor where one can.”

We balance each other.  Me, putting my best foot forward in the world, and my self justifying the way I do it.  She eases my guilt, my shame, my embarrassment.

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Blue is beginning to break through the clouds.  White, fluffy puffs race across my window, right to left.  Silhouetted branches dance in the wind.  Cars begin to move on the street.  Voices.  A stirring from the bedroom.

“I could take a walk.  You know . . . get a few steps in before I start the day.”

My self considers this.  “I’ve been looking forward to this time all week.  The peace and quiet.  Just the two of us.”  We guard this tranquility jealously.  I tuck my cold toes under my leg.

“We have all day to get more steps.  We can go to the dog park later,”  I say.  She smiles.

“I’m really happy with how my resume turned out.”

“You did a nice job.”

“I hope they think so.  I couldn’t have done it without you.”

“Nor I without you.”

I think about how far we’ve come, my best friend and I.  She isn’t always my best friend.  At times she is my own worst enemy, letting anxiety and fear mushroom to the surface.  But for all the times I’ve despised her, she is the only one who is with me every minute of every day.  When it seems the world is against me, she is there still.  When I’m in a crowd, or on stage, or in the dark, she abides.

Sometimes I see her looking back at me from the mirror.  If I could remember when I was a baby, I would remember loving seeing her there.   Babies gaze into mirrors, laugh at them, touch them, and sometimes try to kiss them.  When does that end?  Is it with our first bad haircut?  Our first pimple?

There is so much we share that the world will never know.  A random act of kindness is made more precious by keeping it between the two of us.  She is the only one I can trust with wicked gossip or spoken confidentialities.  My self even holds secrets from me too, revealing them only when I am ready to know — she can be very sly!

We celebrate together.  We never wait for others to acknowledge our birthday.  If she wants a party, I plan it!  If I want a special meal, she comes up with a menu!  If we want a gift, we go shopping!  No one knows how I want to celebrate better than my self, so why would I place that expectation on anyone else?

I value this relationship I have with my self, and make time for us.  It requires life to slow down.  It necessitates waiting and listening until her voice is clear.  It takes being honest with my self and accepting what she says with love and understanding.

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The dog’s wagging tail tells me that Bubba is waking.  My cup is cold and empty.  Heavy blue November clouds now hang in the sky.  Our quiet time is coming to a close.

I reach for another doughnut hole and my self says nothing, but I know she’s thinking it.

“What?”

“I didn’t say anything.”

“You didn’t have to.”

It’s true.  Best friends don’t have to say anything.  They just know.

Peace . . .


Note. To Self:

When I began this blog, back when I called it WholeyJeans, I worried about what would happen if I went back and read my first posts.  Would I want to edit them?  Would I find them embarrassing?  Would I want to delete some of them?

Now that I’m in it a while, I find I’m so busy trying to keep up on other peoples’ writing, I don’t have time to go back and read my own.  Yet when asked for whom I write, I answer, “Myself.”  So just in case my self should stop by, I’d like to leave a little note.

To Self:

I’m glad you’re stopping by to check out the blog.  I’m curious to know your thoughts, so feel free to leave a comment.

There are a few things I should probably tell you.  People are saying that you are too hard on yourself.  You should really lighten up.  After all, you do your best in everything you try.  Other things that people say is that you are hard-working, creative, dependable, responsible and wise.  I’m proud to say that you are my self, and if you insist on being such a hard-ass, I’m going to have to step in.

I don’t want to share rumors, but I’ve also been told you are quite the worrier.  I understand wanting to research and prepare before you move forward, but with all due respect, I think it’s paralyzing you.  It might be time to set aside the details and take some small steps.  Moving in some direction is better than not moving at all.  You don’t learn anything sitting still, you know what I mean?

That’s pretty much it for now.  I’m really glad you stopped by.  Keep up the good work.  I know it isn’t easy to balance time, bank accounts, family, health and recreation.  But if you keep doing what you’re doing, everything is going to be just fine.

Remember . . .

Be yourself. You’re okay. And it really doesn’t matter what other people think.”
— Taylor Schilling

Which is completely unoriginal, and very easy for her to say.  When you’re rich and beautiful and famous, I can imagine it would be a lot easier to not care what people think.  But it’s true anyway . . .

Peace . . .

 

 


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