Thursday, February 22, 2018

Update #1 -- Little things for ME

It seems to me that I promised to report back on how the word of the year for 2018, Me, is being used to help my best friend, Cathy, and me focus on what we often neglect...

"Me" too easily gets pushed to the margins of life when too many other things are going on. It's natural to put ourselves last when the people around us are in need.

So what am I doing for me in 2018? Well, I've been reading some pretty enjoyable books, including Love and Other Consolation Prizes by Jamie Ford, The Book of Fires by Jane Borodale, A Trick of the Light by Louise Penny, and The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley (these last two are Canadian mystery writers -- if you've never read them, I recommend them!)

I'm almost finished crocheting a blanket. There's something satisfying about completing a tangible and tactile project like that.

I've seen a couple of good movies, The Greatest Showman, which I've already moodled about, and The Darkest Hour (about Winston Churchill's first month as Prime Minister during WWII).

I've been more consistent with my practice of morning meditation.

I've listened to a podcast or two from one of my favourite places on earth, Taizé.

I've been to one coffee house (where I got to sing with my daughter and her friend) and a few coffee shops just to read and have some ME time while waiting for another daughter who has weekly appointments.

The Muttart Conservatory was a good place for me to be on a chilly winter afternoon, admiring the Lunar New Year Pavilion for the year of the Dog with my daughter.

Speaking of dogs, I've taken them on long walks, which is good for my health, too.

I've spent a fair bit of time writing emails to dear friends, and indulging my creative spirit with these moodlings.

And I've played Words with Friends (online scrabble) for an entire evening without guilt.

Really, I'm not doing anything much different -- but when I am intentionally doing these things with the idea that they're good for my mental health, I'm giving myself permission to really enjoy them rather than feeling like I should be doing other things. It's a shift in consciousness -- that it's okay to relax and indulge in the little things that make me happy. Life is challenging enough without feeling guilty about my small pleasures.

Cathy's ME year is turning out to be more challenging than mine, as she just lost her dad to an unexpectedly short recurrence of cancer. But we will carve out a little bit of ME time in the midst of sorrow when Lee and I drive to Saturday's memorial service. On Sunday evening, Cathy and I are planning to enjoy a bottle of wine and each other's company, chatting and crying and laughing and maybe even singing together. There's usually some singing!

I'm learning that time for ME doesn't have to be extraordinary. It just has to be noticed in the muddle of ordinary life.

What are you doing for you this year?

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