Sunday, August 19, 2018

Be Kind To Yourself

One of the most valuable lessons I've learned through my experience with Al-Anon and my yoga practice is the art of self care and self kindness. Too often we humans believe we are not worthy of down time, spending money for relaxation or for experiences that may seem self indulgent. But self care is neither self indulgent or wasteful. Instead it is essential for living a healthy, happy, celebratory life. If we do not care for ourselves - our bodies, emotional well being and mental health- we are squandering the opportunities to live life to the fullest. I am worth it. You are worth it.

Life passes so quickly. I've decided that I want to savor every moment, the tastes of fine wine or fresh garlic or heirloom tomatoes or the glorious flavor of a gorgeous strawberry. I want to embrace each aroma, the smell of bacon frying, fresh herbs, the nose from a glass of excellent Cabernet, garlic as it is sautéed in a skillet, the smell of spring rains, the scents of fine fragrances and essential oils, even the pungent smell of weeds. I want to enjoy the beauty of my environment as well as the beauty that I find in the hearts and souls of the people I love. I've decided it is important to love the beauty of fine fabrics against my skin, the joy I feel when I look in the mirror while wearing an amazing outfit, the confidence I feel when I use quality makeup, the contentment that comes from having a massage or reading a book while a fountain gurgles in the background, or the  physical benefits and flexibility that comes from practicing yoga or participating in a Pilates Reformer class.

I call my friends and family members regularly because I want to hear the sounds of voices of people I love. Sometimes I call my Dad's home number when I know he is away just to experience the sound of my Mom's voice, which is still on the answering machine. It is bittersweet, but also a gift that gives me solace. I celebrate the sounds of our Corinthian Bells wind chimes, the birds and insects and tree frogs serenading us, the feelings that permeate my soul when I listen to Mozart's Requiem or John Coltrane on the sax or Van Cliburn playing Rachmaninoff on the piano or Eric Clapton on the guitar. Enjoying music, movies, a  good book or mind candy is self care.

Being kind to myself means logging off my work computer at 5:00pm two - three days per week to exercise. It takes a half hour to drive to the yoga studio and Pilates studio. I am a better employee when I feel healthy, happy and refreshed. Caring for myself requires me to make and keep my appointments with my dentist and physicians,  take my medicines, floss my teeth, and meditating. It means saying "no" to things/activities/requests that don't serve my serenity. Being kind to myself requires me to let go of toxic people that cause me angst, frustration, stress or indigestion. It means taking time to pet our cats and listen to them purr while feeling their warm furry bodies lying next to me. It means keeping a positive focus, knowing that I can turn over anything to the Universe/ God / my guardian angels/ or my higher power I will be shown the answers. I know that if I give I will receive, that clearing the negative will make room for the positive, that divesting myself of things that no longer serve me will clear the way for things that will.

I feel comfortable just being me, doing what feels right to live a longer, healthier life, and allowing myself the time that I feel is appropriate to be kind to myself. We only have so many minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years on this earth. I want to be able to say at the end that I have no regrets.

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