The Softer Side of Me

Anxiety - Stress ... Time management vital for...

I want to curl up on the couch and be warm and snuggly.  I’m on my couch now but I don’t feel warm and snuggly. You know that feeling when you were a child, home and sick. Not so sick you couldn’t watch TV, but too sick for school. I’d lay there with my quilt and pillow and doze off and on, not a care in the world. That’s what I mean by warm and snuggly.

There’s not as many times I let myself feel that way. If I take the time off to lay there then I feel I guilty about not completing a project like putting up some closet shelves. There’s always work needing done. I wish someone would give me permission to sit down. Would it be so wrong of me to give myself permission?

What makes us push so hard? We all feel it these days. The works never done. It seems there’s no dividing line between piling more things on our to-do list and the work we do for pay. It all just keeps growing and there’s no time to complete it. So we keep pushing along. Once the sun was our cue. When we couldn’t see the hand in front of our face we had to quit. Now we get out the spotlights and keep on plowing. No need to stop.

We have the good life when it comes to survival. We have food, clothing, running water, shelter and all of that. We have luxuries and entertainment. But there’s no scheduled time out. No choice. Must stop. One day rolls into another until we finally roll into our 6 foot deep plot. My personality demands a completion point. Even when I’m reading a book, I like to know how many pages are left before the end of the chapter. I look at the total minutes of the movies I’m watching. I mentally half and quarter the time. Strange? Bizarre for certain. I wonder if there are others out there that do something similar. And why do I need to do this? I like completion. When I finish something, I get that temporary mental feedback. That little burst of endorphin that says ‘good job’. We all have it in some degree. Maybe you’ve never noticed. Did you clean out the garage? Did you feel the need to tell someone? Facebook is great for this. We are such social beings that we need to tell everyone the most mundane actions of our lives. “Went to the store. Long lines at the gas station.” “Finally mowed the lawn.” And even though we know most of our friends don’t really care, we feel compelled to share. These harmless little actions just make my point. We completed a task. We checked it off of our list and want acknowledgement. No biggie.

Fudge snuggles

I’ve heard that the chemical reinforcement in our neurological structure is the reason we make lists. Also it’s the reason we add to that list if we’ve completed a task that we didn’t list originally and check it off. We don’t want to miss anything. We are reinforcing our accomplishments. Yay for us!  Pats on the back all around.

So my difficulty is, how do I allow myself to rest? Giving myself permission doesn’t come easily. One thing I’m learning is compassion for myself. I’ve started doing a compassion meditation (see below). Very simple. I sit and think forgiving and kind thoughts towards others, whether friends or strangers. I also include myself. I wish blessing and good things on others during this time. I acknowledge them as doing their best and allow them freedom themselves. I believe this makes me a softer person. And by becoming softer, I can allow myself to relax. It’s a start for me. For me this method is more effective than my earlier way, which was lists and lists and lists. As I said, they never seem to be finished. With this way I can relax even when things aren’t perfect. It’s taken me a long time to get where I am, and I know I have a long way to go. This is my journey.

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