Thursday, March 30, 2006


Monday, in the midst of my deadline frenzy, I managed to almost seize the engine of my car. And this is not the first time. On this occasion it was more in my face owing to the poignancy of the situation. At the best of times I don’t pay much attention to details. And the details of my car are just so far down on the priority list, even below getting to yoga class, or noticing that the prime rate is going up so it is time to renegotiate my mortgage. Humph. So of course I didn’t even notice that my oil light was coming on, let alone consider doing anything about it. You know, I’m too busy. Which I was, but let’s face it, I am WAY too busy to deal with an oil-less burnt out, collapsing in the middle of the road automobile. Thank goodness it gives me warning signs. Thank goodness I know how to read them. But, apparently, there are ways to avoid these situations. It is often referred to as “Maintenance.” Ooowwwwaaaahhhhh. Maintenance. The unattainable Holy Grail for ENFP types like me. Doing the regular things that need to be done so that things keeping humming and running along smoothly. Neat concept! But how does it apply to me? How does it apply to you? How does it apply to cancer?

Self care. If we don’t do it, no one will do it for us. Often collapsed with the idea of selfishness, self-centered, self-absorbed. For me it was and is a lifesaver. I actually assert is it for all of us, but many folks don’t want to hear that. Because it might force them to give up, what, their crazy, hard on themselves, too busy, driving lifestyle. It is the giving, giving, giving and doing, doing, doing model in our world that keeps us too busy to develop or deepen self awareness (also an occasionally Bad Word). Too Busy has become its own disease. Now it is not that I am agin’ getting things done, it is just that I am for getting things done in the Right Time. And that Right Time shows itself, if we slow down long enough to listen. Slowing down enough to listen is what can tap us into our bodies, which is when we can notice if something is off, wrong, needs help. Early detection. It isn’t just for breakfast anymore. How do you think people are suppose to detect cancer (or anything else for that matter) early if they aren’t paying attention!!!!

Over the years, here is what I have come up with around the idea of self-care. There are 4 components, or quadrants of it for me. Achievement. Unproductive time. Healthful activities. Fun. They need to be balanced; I need a little bit from each one on a regular basis. Below are some examples of what falls into those categories and/or works for me:

Achievement – This is the “getting things done” place, where I can tick things off my list. Sometimes it requires a bit of discipline, or doing something I really am tired of, sick of, etc, but I know I will feel good afterwards. For me, it seems to involve a lot of finishing things (I guess starting things falls into the Fun category), like quilts, or stripping the bedside table, or writing the website content.

Unproductive Time – This is so essential and probably the hardest to justify. And this is what helped heal my emotional scars after cancer (the psychological Vitamin E, if you will). It is the sitting and staring thing, the just being. It can be so peaceful, when we surrender to it’s healing embrace. But it can be a bit scary, because once surrendered to it sort of takes you where you need to go, like a river sweeping you down dream. For me it involved lots of crying, lots of sleeping, and lots of just, well I have already said it, but how else can you describe it, staring, out into space. And there was also a very clear theme of letting my body decide what it wanted. I didn’t leave the sofa unless I was given a clear impulse to do so. So unlike when I think I “ought to” get up, it was more like “does it feel like the right time yet?” Sometimes and for some people it includes puttering, say in the garden, or walking, where we can let our minds wander, and ebb and flow.

Healthful Activities – These are the classically known self care items, like exercise, yoga, eating well, seeing your doctor, plenty of liquids, meditation, prayer, doing self breast exams monthly, taking your vitamins. It was thing area that I overdid when I was first diagnosed. I think I thought that if I could just do enough of “all the right things” then the cancer would have to move on out, it would understand that it had made a mistake. So I juiced vegetables and ate salmon and thought good thoughts, and anything else “good” that anyone or their dog suggested. It got a bit exhausting, all that being (too) good. This is where I noticed that things need a bit of balance, which is when the other 3 elements came stampeding up my walkway).

Fun – You know, that simple, just plain FUN. For me it includes: dancing, laughing, flirting, movies, dinner parties, deep meaningful conversations, games night, badminton, playing with cats, antique shopping, going to auction houses, quilting, singing, starting new things, taking new classes, making dinner for people, improv, learning new things, speaking my truth, self discovery workshops, calling people forth. Just writing about it is getting me all set to embark on something, anything, NEW.

What about you? What works for you?


At 6:49 PM PST, Blogger Mother of Invention said...

Connecting with my husband,family and friends, going to Musicals in TO, listening to cds and discovering new ones I love, getting a kick out of kids, having some kids I teach over for tea, playing and cuddling up with my 2 cats,watching funny movies, garage sales and flea markets, antique stores, laughing at Air Farce and 22 Minutes, laughing at myself, goofing around with my guitar and singing, couching it while watching Oprah, going 2 doors down to a cool Coffee House where I always see people I know in this small town, baking and taking it to people, e-mailing, enjoying my funky jewelry, exploring my attic and all my old treasures and then writing a song about it....yikes! I could go on and on with the simple things that give me pleasure and fun! Uncomplicated, light-hearted and simple works for me!!!


At 5:57 PM PST, Blogger Signy said...

BAKING, I forgot about baking, that makes me so happy. Brilliant. Perhaps I will try to find some time in my tomorrow to do that!

And yes, playing with cats, is there anything better? (well, possibly a few things, but in this moment, it seems like the answer to plenty of things!

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