Wellness Wake-Up Call
I have a great group of women that I am working with who are inspiring, uplifting and vibrant. They are successful and funny and smart and more.
Here’s a comment that I made yesterday at our group that I feel comfortable sharing:
I want to take at least as good care of me as I do my car.
My car gets regular oil changes. I fill it with gas when the gauge indicates that it’s needed. (I have experienced the unfortunate results when I’ve waited too long about the gas issue.) I have great snow tires and make sure to check them regularly during the winter and my regular tires regularly as well; just the right amount of air. When I want to wash my windshield, I press a button and fluid magically appears, if I’ve filled the windshield wiper fluid reservoir. The list around my car goes on. My tires are rotated and balanced. The car is washed, perhaps not frequently enough. The car has regular check-ups and lights remind me to bring it in until I do.
I kind of wish I had the light go on for me when I turned 16 and didn’t get my period regularly. Or at 22, when I was having sex, not being particularly careful and never got pregnant. A light reminding me to ask questions about that or to have myself checked would have come in very handy.
Who knows what would have happened. Had I known about infertility earlier, would I have done something different? Made different choices? Set my priorities in some other way?
Having a light go on might have alerted me that I needed maintenance. The way we all do.
The Self-Care We Deserve
My body, my psyche, me. I deserve at least as much self-care -- attention, money, mindfulness -- as my car does. But while I do not skimp on the car (except for car washes!), I do skimp on myself.
I shower regularly, brush my teeth three times a day, floss (not enough). Do I go to the doctor regularly? Do I make the appointment with my OB/Gyn for a checkup? Do I see the dentist as often as I should? How long should I have intense and regular shoulder pain before I see an orthopedist? Do I treat my food as fuel for my physical body; nourishment for organs, cells, tissues? Do I skip the glass of water because I’m in too much of a rush? Sleep less than I should because I have too much to do? Leave out meditation or time by myself to do more?
Do I take better care of my car than myself?
You bet I do.
Without a doubt I do.
The car won’t run without gas and I won’t function without food and water. Yet so often I fuel myself with inappropriate nourishment and call it comfort. I wouldn’t think about putting soda into my car and expect it to run, still I feed myself things that do not help my body run in a way that is anywhere near optimum.
And the list goes on and on. My car is treated with more mindfulness than I treat myself.
So easy to make a commitment to making a change. So hard to implement real changes.
Today, I have started. I have eaten a healthy breakfast. I have made plans and taken the action steps to create and eat a healthy lunch. Tonight, for dinner, I will think ahead, now, and make sure that before I get too hungry, I can eat what is appropriate and delicious.
Today, I will treat myself as lovingly as I do my car.
It’s the least I can do.
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Fertility Treatment Guilt
Contributing to your own demise.
Is that like digging a hole and climbing in? Adding to your own miseries?
I think it probably is like that. We do that, a lot, with fertility treatment; it’s called guilt. What we should have done. Could have done. Should not have done. Started younger. Knew more about our own fertility. And more.
May I just say though, that I don’t think this is about blame? Or guilt.
How often do we accept that we are doing the best that we can? And that even if it is not what we would like to be able to offer to ourselves or others, it’s the best that we can do in that moment. Sometimes what we have to offer is miniscule compared to our expectations. Sometimes what we have to offer looks an awful lot like sitting on the couch too much, watching too much of whatever our favorite show is at the time. Sometimes our best is taking a thirty minute walk, even if running marathons is what we used to do.
The shame and guilt that we heap on top of ourselves is probably far more damaging than anything we are eating or any exercise we are not doing.
That’s hurting us from the inside out. Where no one else can see it, but we feel it. And it matters a lot more how we feel than how we look. What if we wore our misery on our faces instead of in our hearts? And so our faces looked the way that we felt and our hearts felt relieved at being able to be honest and express what really was going on.
The word fine is a perfect case in point.
What a stupid word.
Attitude Awareness: Are You Really Fine?
What does it mean? I know at least one meaning that I cannot write here because I really try hard not to curse. Here’s the G-rated version: f**ked up, insecure, neurotic and excessive. Make your own version. I think mine today would look something like this: flighty, indignant, neurotic, exhausted.
What does your version of fine really mean?
Here are a few good words to choose from:
F-fearful, frantic, frightened, freaking, frenzied, fatigued, fuming, furious, forlorn, full of faith, fervent, fanatical, fixated, fabulous, fulfilled
I-insecure, irrational, interested, insightful, illogical, insensitive, indignant, intelligent, intuitive, impatient, intolerant, impressive, inspired, irked
N-neurotic, nourished, nervous, numb, needy, natural, nurturing, narrow minded, notable, nasty, normal
E-emotional, excessive, exhausted , engaging, enraged, excited, eager, enthusiastic, edgy, extraordinary, encouraged, epic, enthusiastic, energetic, empowering, efficient
I’m setting an intention for tomorrow. Here’s what Fine will look like for tomorrow. Writing it on a post-it note and putting it on the bathroom mirror.
F - full of faith
i - inspired
n - nurturing
e - efficient
When someone asks me tomorrow how I am, I will say I’m fine. And I will mean it.
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Lessons in Compassionate Living
"I have learned silence from the
talkative, tolerance from the
intolerant and kindness from the
unkind. I should not be ungrateful
to those teachers."
Khalil Gibran: Sand and Foam (1926)
What a beautiful piece of a poem. This really speaks to me as I've come to realize the extent of my arrogance. My arrogance at work? I want to add to that poem, with these:
I have become educated from the ignorant, gentle from the cruel, sympathetic from the unsympathetic.
And I have learned humility from those who are arrogant. I do that daily.
Have any of us who have entered into fertility treatment, seeing that infertility was knocking at our door, after experiencing month after month of no conception, not heard unkind, ignorant or unsympathetic comments, even from those who love us?
Well meaning, perhaps. I need to learn tolerance for others who suffer from as a high a level of arrogance as myself. So perhaps those who know better what God or the Universe wants are teaching us humility when they tell us of God's plans for our becoming a parent. Or not becoming a parent.
Infertility Education Through the Journey
I did learn about pain, kindness, ignorance and cruelty through my infertility journey. I heard comments that fell into all of those categories over and over again. You know what they are, you hear them too. Just a few examples: relax, you'll get pregnant; maybe it's not meant to be; it's not cancer, why are you so upset?; you want kids? Take mine!; and so many more.
During my infertility education, I learned over and over again. To be tolerant when I didn't feel it, because my understanding didn't necessarily extend large enough yet. To educate myself when I didn't understand something or find someone more educated than myself and listen carefully to them or simply accept that it was out of my realm of understanding. I learned that pain is pain whether the details of the pain made sense to me or not.
Pain is pain. I learned to understand and recognize pain when I heard it, saw it, felt it, even smelled it.
Pain deserves kindness, tolerance, sympathy, compassion and love.
The pain from infertility is no different than any other pain. We who are infertile, need to also recognize that. We do not own the rights to pain. Many others feel pain also, for a myriad of reasons, much of which we have no personal experience with.
We learn from pain. Expand your understanding, sympathy, education, kindness and humility. Express it to someone else who is in pain and you may find your own pain receed just the smallest amount.
We all have so much to learn about pain. Me, I have a lot to learn about arrogance as well. I do assume I know better and more. I learn daily from others what I don't know.
With whom can you share compassion and kindness today?
Ever have a weekend where you were happy to go back to work on Monday? Ever have a weekend where you needed a rest after it? Doesn't that happen over and over again with infertility and fertility treatment? That the stress of relaxing while waiting becomes overwehelming?
Ever wonder what it is we are doing when we pack our "down" time so thoroughly that we need time off after our time off?
If our down time, our time to relax, is so over scheduled, even with fun, fabulous things, when do we actually relax?
I was speaking to someone today who described himself as a person who found it impossible to sit. That he always had to do, that sitting around felt like a waste of time to him. The fact that he was doing just that, while having a conversation with me, was something I didn’t point out to him. Maybe he felt like the conversation was a waste of time, that he should have found something to do instead or maybe he didn’t realize what exactly he was doing.
Maybe it just comes down to mindfulness. Loosely translated, doing things mindfully. Or thoughtfully, with thought. Not being on auto pilot, moving from one thing to the next.
The perfect example is rushing to a yoga class. I’ve done it. Most people I know who regularly go to class have done it occasionally. Rushed to class. Rushed to class to relax. I once went to a yoga class in Los Angeles while I was there on business. I was three minutes late because of the famous LA traffic. The door was locked. No class for me. I was dumbfounded.
Rushing to relax. Getting locked out of a chance to relax because of traffic. There is some karmic message here.
To quote Oprah here, here’s what I know for sure.
I will never lock you out of class, no matter how late you are. I will always greet you with a smile and do everything I can to make you feel welcome and. We will work together to make sure that rushing to relax does actually result in you feeling relaxed.
Meanwhile, I’m going to extend that sense of forgiveness to myself. Maybe do less. Maybe be late once in a while without feeling panicked about it.
Being mindful. The message for the week.