My guest today is Lynn Motley LCSW whose post on Labor Day spoke to my need to self care. It would make me feel old if I told you that I taught Lynn in Sunday School when she was in high school, so I won't. Thanks, Lynn, for appearing on Grit and Grace.
Ironically, this Labor Day, rather than playing I had planned PROJECTS. I wanted to use this three-day weekend to get all of the things complete on my “to do list”: things that can keep me up at night — thinking and planning all of the things that I never seem to have time to do. I love that feeling of accomplishment and checking things off my list.
Just as the weather this weekend did a U-turn, so did my plans. After several blistering days, I awoke on Saturday to a break in the heat with slightly overcast skies. It was if someone had pressed the mute button on the audio. It was quiet. I was quiet. I found myself in a very mellow mood, a mood that would not support me with accomplishing all of my plans. Truthfully, I really could have cared less….I just wanted to “BE”. When a thought arose about my list, it was met with disinterest. What’s up?
I decided to surrender to my mood and just go with it. Rather than “fight it” or try to push through it, it might be a way my body and soul are trying to tell me to PAY ATTENTION. Maybe the Universe was conspiring to get me to pay attention, too.
Pay attention to what?
Here’s what I learned:
That when I listen to myself, there are gifts that unfold….Gifts that are more important than getting the next thing checked off of my list. In rejuvenating, recharging, and tuning in, I can be mindful of the small things. I tune into nature. I can appreciate myself and my body for more than just doing. An ease in relationships shows up and the space between moments of busyness in my family expands. I find Inspiration to sit in my pj’s and write this blog….
I love the idea of being planful and it is important to “git r done”; I also love being organic and being in the flow of life.
Why is this important?
As we learn about relationships, attachment and connection, we know that all of this juicy relatedness stems from responsiveness and attunement. Simply put: being present, paying attention and meeting another’s needs. If this is what the “glue of relationships” is made of, why would it be any different for our relationship with our self?
This got me thinking about really honoring ourselves and giving ourselves permission to listen into our needs, our wants/desires and to take care of ourselves, just as we would with others. Self-care — not selfishness. What if we had this as the most important and the first item on our “list”? I think this self-attunement has gotten misappropriated onto the “selfish” list or the “lazy” list; rather than on the “self-care” list — that keeps us balanced and responsive to life.
Try starting here with this as the first item on your list, today and everyday as a window into your soul. Tune in and pay attention. Without labeling, just observe. Notice what your body is telling you. What inspires you — or not. Honor this place. Maybe there is a need you’ve shoved down, or an action you’ve been taking habitually, rather than listening into what is best serving you. Giving ourselves permission to “be” at the top of our “list” is freedom and power. As for my planned “to do list”, it will always be there. But the moments of being responsive and attuned-in this weekend have given me an interesting detour into a more important place.