Sunday, May 28, 2017

Love is the combination of self-love and compassion for others. -Emma Seppala

I listened to a wonderful podcast with two of my favorite people this morning and immediately knew what the topic of my post today would be! I wholeheartedly encourage you to take some time to enjoy this inspiring conversation with Sharon Salzberg and Emma Seppala, in which they discuss the importance of combining service with self-care. Big stuff, friends.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

How is your relaxation challenge going? I'm taking some slow turtle steps on my journey there. One thing I've been thinking about is how important self-care is in this process. And when I think of self-care, I think of wonderful Cheryl Richardson and her excellent book, The Art of Extreme Self-Care. I was browsing through it today and a couple of passages struck me that I thought I'd post here so I can come back to them and you might enjoy them, too. Hope so!

One of the harsh realities about practicing Extreme Self-Care is that you must learn to manage the anxiety that arises when other people are disappointed, angry, or hurt. And they will be. When you decide to break your patterns of self-sacrifice and deprivation, you'll need to start saying no, setting limits, and putting boundaries in place to protect your time, energy, and emotional needs. This poses a difficult challenge for any sensitive, caring person. Why? Because you will, for instance, disappoint a friend when you decide not to babysit her kids. Or you'll probably hurt your son's feelings when you tell him that he has to walk to his friend's house instead of always being chauffeured. Or you might anger your partner when you ask him to wash his own clothes. Because you'll be changing the rules of the game, certain individuals won't like it. But remember, if you want to live a meaningful life that also makes a difference in the lives of others, you need to make a difference in your own life first. That way your motivation is pure and without regret.

...[I]f you're going to disappoint people the right way, the idea is to tell the truth with respect and care, not manage their emotions. While you can't control how someone feels or how they react, you can control how you feel and how you choose to make your point. Don't measure your success by the response you receive. Measure it by how you feel once your anxiety disappears. Do you know in your heart that you made the right decision? Do you feel relieved? Are you pleased with the way you handled saying no? Are you glad you did it? If the answers to these questions are yes, then you've done the right thing for everyone involved.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Here's something I read in Get Out of Your Mind & Into Your Life this week that I want to learn to live:

In our context, the words willingness and acceptance mean to respond actively to your feelings by feeling them, literally, much as you might reach out and literally feel the texture of a cashmere sweater. They mean to respond actively to your thoughts by thinking them, much as you might read poetry just to get the flow of the words, or an actor might rehearse lines to get a feel for the playwright's intent.

To be willing and accepting means to respond actively to memories by remembering them, much as you might take a friend to see a movie you've already seen. They mean to respond actively to bodily sensations by sensing them, much as you might take an all-over stretch in the morning just to feel your body all over. Willingness and acceptance mean adopting a gentle, loving posture toward yourself, your history, and your programming so that it becomes more likely for you simply to be aware of your own experience, much as you would hold a fragile object in your hand and contemplate it closely and dispassionately...

...In essence, instead of trying to feel better, willingness involves learning how to feel better.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

So I have totally fallen down the amazing rabbit hole that is all things Martha Beck. And part of this is taking a writing workshop with her called Write Into Light, which is actually what prompted my dusting off Enjoy and Love. We just wrapped up the first of three sessions and in the last class Liz Gilbert blew us away with her insights into the creative life and life in general. This part especially has been keeping me company since:

And that actually, if you really ponder how much your worrying has helped so far, and how much it’s made you a better mother, and how much your worrying has helped your children, and how much your worrying has helped your community, and how much your worrying is helping the world. I think if you’re very honest and you get very quiet, you’ll discover that the answer is not at all. Not one bit. In fact, the opposite. It has harmed you and everything, everything it touches. To me, the most radical thing -- I mean a revolutionary thing would be to see a relaxed woman walking around.

Synchronistically two lovely little pocket-sized books have crossed my desk at the library in the past week: How to Relax by Thich Nhat Hanh and How to Change Your Entire Life by Doing Absolutely Nothing: 10 Do-Nothing Relaxation Exercises to Calm You Down Quickly So You Can Speed Forward Faster by Karen Salmansohn - fun!! I'll let you know how it goes being a radical, revolutionary, relaxed woman. Perhaps you'd care to join me?