Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Helping Ourselves

Dear Friends,

What do you do to help yourself navigate complicated challenges?

This summer we've been riding a roller coaster with family illness, travel (stressful emotionally as reunions and separations are rich with feeling), a big fat friendship break-up, home renovations, a single working vehicle (as our second car was sabotaged by the mechanic), months of unusually heavy rainfall, an outstanding birthday party which took three weeks to prepare, and a scattering of ordinary days.

Thank God for the ordinary day.

In the ordinary day, there is a quiet space where I can return to simple pleasures that heal.

This is what I do to help myself when times are rough:

I return to my workshop and create.

I go to the gym or run outdoors and find my favorite trail.

I read.  Sometimes the best reading therapy comes in the form of literature for children that I have the privilege of reading aloud to Elliot.  Right now, we are in the middle of Bambi by Felix Salten and it is magical!

My insatiable appetite for books has been one of the best therapies... I've just requested Harley Loco by Rayya Elias at the library and I'm happily anticipating a late night or two with this author from my home state.

I write.  Sometimes I write lots of junk.

Perhaps the most important thing I do when times are rough is to slow down my need to accomplish anything and simply be soft.  Open.  Loving.  Breaking out of the cycle of drama only happens when I realize that I don't have to engage in every little thought that pops up.  In being open and less determined to fix anything, I become aware of the fact that everyone has experienced hard times.  In the midst of loss and insult, the best therapy is to reach out to someone in a loving gesture.  Pain makes us sensitive to the pain of others.  It's not something we need to try to avoid or get rid of.  It is useful and important in its potential to bring empathy to the surface.

I pray.   Healing comes faster and nearly effortless when I remember to pray...even for five minutes.

I remember.  I remember who I am and what I value.  Sometimes what I value may be in conflict with what someone else values, but that's okay.  I am who I am for a reason.  Some behaviors that I find unacceptable may be normal for another person and that's okay too.

So here's to being a little older, wiser, battle weary and surviving anyway!  What are some of the things you do to help yourself through a challenge?  I appreciate the gift of your experiences and ideas.


These mittens are stuffed!  Like little pillows, they are so so soft!

These leopard paws are also stuffed and feel incredibly soft when worn.

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