Spending time with my family has proved to be a form of self-care and self-awareness. I love being with them but I now realize how much it takes out of me to engage with people I love, especially after having a rough couple of weeks (and who am I kidding–months). I wanted to be there for all of it but I found myself crashing pretty hard in the evenings. I even dealt with feelings of guilt for not being able to put on a more exuberant and fresh face but everyone understood.
Artist’s Way update: I didn’t really start The Artist’s Way but I read the Foreward and the Introduction. I also started writing my morning pages which is supposed to be 3 pages of stream of consciousness journaling with no expectations attached. I plan on diving into the first chapter tomorrow. Just like previous journaling practice, I feel more centered after doing it. It’s as if my brain believes it has accomplished a great feat first thing in the morning.
I was looking forward to seeing if morning pages would affect my anxiety level throughout the day. I can confidently say I was calmer right after but since I wasn’t in my usual environment, it is hard to gauge if it made much of a difference after that.
Today, I wrote and prayed and walked and worked and trusted.
Trusted that I left on my heart and my most hopeful, erratic, loving thoughts on the page.
For years, friends have been telling me to read “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron. And every time, I said I would check it out.
A couple of weeks ago, a lovely co-worker advised me to read it and I suddenly knew I had to order it. I had one of those moments where I was tired of saying to myself: ” I really should do it one day.”
I started reading it the other day and it shows promise. I can’t wait to see how inspired I will be after the 12-week program is over. I know it will extend beyond inspiration because my understanding is that plenty of action will be taken to cultivate consistent creative work, from stream of consciousness journaling to solo outings.
Next Thursday, I will post an update on how my first official week went. My hope is I will start to see small changes that will encourage habits I will keep for years to come.
Over the past few weeks, I have thought a lot about what I need to do to feel better, to be a better writer, wife and self-care practitioner. I have gotten massages, journaled, spent less time on the phone, gone to church, a yoga class, went to an awesome lecture about laughter yoga, prayed, walked many miles, spoke to a counselor, stepped back on the scale without fear, showed up to doctor’s appointments and lunch with a friend, reached out to friends, listened to inspiring podcasts and powerhouse sermons and even started to accept the reality that it may take all of that to feel completely like myself or who I am growing to be.
Something else was brought to my attention. While I am doing all of these things to reclaim Kristina, I might also need to let up on pressuring myself to do everything right now, as if I am trying to hurry up and solve “anxiety.”
I speak and write and try with varying success to think positively but I also have to do all of that with more patience. There is no snap of the fingers when it comes to “process.” There is forwards and backwards, trial and error and an understanding that it never really ends.
So here I am. Embracing process, trying not to be in a hurry and forgiving myself for the times I have and inevitably will, not treat myself with Grace and Love.
I know to become a better writer, I must read. I used to swallow books whole the moment I got them, as if I was almost racing myself to see how fast I could finish before devouring the next. Over the last couple of years, I noticed I have slowed down considerably, reading more about books I should read rather than actually reading them. I have written more than I ever have but have also read the least.
This morning, I was reading the last of “Becoming” by Michelle Obama. It dawned on me how much I missed quiet time where I flew through chapters, uninterrupted. It conjured memories of paydays when I lived alone. I would pick up a decadent meal and at least two books from a nearby bookstore and enjoy a night to myself, indulging in flavorful treats and becoming addicted to new characters.
As part of my self-care, I pledge to revisit that part of myself more often. The woman who takes an afternoon to get lost in another writer’s creation, another writer’s world.
I owe it to myself right now and the writer I will grow to be.
This last weekend, I took time to take care of me. My body told me before I did which is something I do not care to repeat. When I had a bout with panic attacks last spring, I thought I had it all figured out. To some degree, my self-care did get better with the reintroduction of more raw foods, etc. but I let my stress with Hubby’s newer health challenges completely rock my foundation a few months ago. Anything besides going to work, preparing for and being in Alabama at the workshop and going to doctor appointments felt like above and beyond what I could handle.
But I was wrong. I had a moment when panic set in and woke me right out of my sleep. The thing is I told myself that I would be fine and it would pass. I was right. It did. I told myself everything I should to calm myself down. I prayed for peace. But I also realized, at 2:00am that if I am not doing anything but telling myself the right things, it will never be enough and I could only look forward to more sleep-interrupted nights.
At that very moment, I decided to implement change. I knew when the weekend hit, I wouldn’t compromise myself any longer. I made a therapy appointment, got a massage on Saturday, went to church Sunday morning and Body Positive Yoga class for women on Sunday afternoon. I am going back next weekend, too.
My body screamed at me and the only way to roar back is take care of myself before I stopped showing up for my husband and my own pursuits.
I was wrestling with the idea of incorporating a lot more raw meals at the new year. On Saturday night, I asked myself why I was waiting. So I began Sunday.
There were a couple of surprises. I had a little emotional release during my massage and although yoga was incredible, I felt a bit of panic I prayed through. These surprises showed me how deep seated the need for self-care is and how I’ve been neglecting it.
As I am writing this, I honestly don’t feel 100% like me but I feel closer. And maybe the “me” I don’t feel right now is not what I will end up being anyway. Maybe these challenges and me addressing them head-on are supposed to birth something new.
I not only like the sound of that, I need the sound of that.
These past 30 days have unveiled so much! I am certain I want to post twice a week: Tuesdays and Thursdays. My Tuesday posts will be health related–be it physical, spiritual, plant-based, mental or financial health. My Thursday posts will be writing related. I would like to devote that day to my work, featuring other writers and storytellers and general career and reading updates.
About halfway through this bloglikecrazy challenge, I felt the topics and the flow came easier than last year. I didn’t struggle the same way. There were only a couple of days where I felt like I had nothing to share but when I focused, the frustration disappeared.
If you ever feel like the writing process is stale, I encourage you to challenge yourself to bloglikecrazy or develop a plan of your own.
Day 29. I was supposed to use this month to figure out how I want to move forward with the blog and website in general. There is no doubt there will be a forward.
I know I no longer want to feature new vegan recipes every week–just from time to time. I recently decided to sell my E-book (What I Love About You: A Guided Journal to Writing Your Proposal and Vows) on Etsy only. I also know I want to regularly feature other writers and storytellers. This past month has shown me I can write my way to clarity.
I am looking forward to what incorporating the body positive yoga class will do for the direction, too. If I hadn’t taken this challenge, I may not have found my way to taking this class. Tomorrow is Day 30 but it feels right to recognize what blogging like crazy has done for me today.
At the James River Writer’s Conference in 2016, The Library of Virginia honored Nikki Giovanni. During her interview, she said something that has stuck with me. I don’t remember her exact words but the sentiment was if we were to take a team to explore a new planet, a writer should be aboard the ship to document everything, to tell the story.
She said it so matter-of-fact and passionately. Without a doubt, there needs to be a creative soul to give voice to the uncharted. It made me think of how important writers are, how important the art of storytelling will always be.
It is how we convey who we are, on Earth and maybe someday floating into space.
A few months ago, I took a personality profile (DISC-Dominance, Influence, Conscientiousness, Steadiness) for work. I received my results today. Even though the test acknowledges we can exhibit traits of all of these categories, we clearly skew towards one or two.
While I do feel the description was practically dead on, it made me yearn to develop the Dominance part of my personality in regards to my writing. If I was more results-oriented, perhaps my focus would be strengthened with my pitching and networking. I definitely was more results-oriented as a student but that has definitely waned. There is no grade I am waiting to get back. No one else is disappointed when I don’t submit my work or write pages. The assessment indicated I am very much a team player and writing is largely individual. It takes a level of self-motivation I am working on cultivating for every part of my life.
However, I am still happy to be a service-oriented person that thrives in a team environment with a need for harmony and an ability to connect with others.
I wouldn’t change any of that for all of the world.
I don’t have much in me today. I am not sure if it’s because I am 26 days in and it feels a little like I have senioritis.
But there are 4 days left after today so something will be written each day until I have accomplished my goal. So here it goes:
In my post about being whole, I wrote about wanting to start a yoga or Pilates class in the new year. I was talking to a co-worker (and devoted Yogi) about self-care and all of a sudden, I couldn’t come up with a reason to wait. She told me about a studio close by. I found a class on the their site that embraces women of all shapes, sizes and levels. My first class starts Sunday. I haven’t been this excited in so long. When I read the description, it clicked and even if it doesn’t live up to my expectation, I will know I took steps.