View from the Dragonfly’s Back

MomsGetReal Soulfeeder Chris Wilcox

Saturday, I found myself at work for 5 hours playing catch up on all the things I didn’t get to during the week, a pattern that was established in January and I would imagine is not going to drop anytime soon. I’m okay with it. But I’ve always been okay with Things that Have to Get Done, especially when it allows me to skirt Things I Know I Should Be Doing Instead.

What should I be doing on a Saturday? A 60-minute meditation. A walk in nature. A movie that makes me laugh, a book that makes me cry. Five written pages on a book that I’ve said I’m writing for four years now that always seems to stall. Yoga. Belly dance. Pilates. Studying astrology.  Journaling. Self Care.

Oh. My. God.

The possibilities are endless! Why haven’t I awoken EVERY Saturday with a list a mile long of things I should be doing for myself? They’ll make me feel better! I’ll be less stressed! I’ll be more balanced. I’ll stop. Working. (gulp). Long enough… to not work for an hour. On that one thing that’ll only take me an hour to finish if I don’t-have-the-phone-ringing-and-people-stopping-so – Where are my keys?

So you get the idea. I’m a master at diversion. Somehow, I don’t think I’m alone. If I was, airlines wouldn’t have a practice of saying “If the oxygen masks drop from the ceiling, put your own on before assisting others.”

Is anything in particular stopping me from spending an hour on a Saturday – or any day – focused first on Self Care? No. Nothing. Just my (oh, crap, here we go) Choices.

Choose your thoughts. Choose your life. Choose your direction. Choose your shoes. Ooh. Shoes! What’s on sale at Hello, Diversion.

It’s like Name that Tune (I’m dating myself with that one…).  “I bet I can divert my attention in 5 thoughts or less.”

If you haven’t noticed, I’m diverting away from Self Care to things that are Existence Care. I care for my existence by earning money, doing well at my job, and paying my bills on time. That’s it. So why am I diverting from Self Care? Easy – I value my material existence and what people perceive me to be over valuing my spiritual self and well-being.

Some of you might be thinking right now, “On what planet does that make sense?” I know I am. But it’s true. Somewhere along the way, I defined “Self Care” as something that wasn’t a priority, and I diverted to Existence Care.

I’m at the crux where I need to show Diversion the drain by changing my thoughts.

Here are three things I’m proposing to my Self to stop Diversions from interfering with Self Care practices.

Take small steps toward creating and sustaining Self Care practices. If you try to commit to an hour of anything a day, it can seem daunting. When I think of taking an hour, I instantly refer to my internal clock. Where will that hour come from? 5 am or 7 pm? Will I be too tired at either point? If I don’t, will I lapse completely and fail?  That’s a lot of self doubt pouring out in regard to taking care of myself before I’ve even started. So instead – I’m starting with 15 minutes every day of moving or being still. Whatever my soul needs at the moment, but I’ll balance it out so it’s 50/50 at the end of every week.

Recognize Diversion thoughts as they arise and ask myself, “What feeling am I trying to avoid?” Right now, I’m slowly embracing my yoga practice again, but I am admittedly frustrated that poses that I used to do with calm and ease are completely out of my range right now.  I know I’m not trying to avoid frustration; I’m trying to avoid confronting what my choices have resulted in. I am going to adopt a Yoga Pants attitude: whatever shape I’m in, I fit, and as I transform, so will my Yoga Pants.

Cheer myself on. I need to be more gentle with myself when I do divert. I am committing to look at myself as my 5-year old me – a towheaded kid with big blue eyes who’s really tall for her age and has big feet but still wants to be a ballerina. Who wouldn’t love that little kid? Who wouldn’t want her to succeed at Self Care? I know I do.

Diversions are just choices – two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and I…. I am going to take the one that will lead toward balance. That’s my plan.