Ever get down on yourself for not doing all that you hoped to? The big ideas are there, but you can’t find the motivation to get moving? Lately I’ve been down on myself for not writing in this blog often enough (like, ever). Dang it, I’ve got the material and the mental footnotes, just where was the motivation to write?
And then this morning I stopped and looked down–I mean really looked–at our bedroom floor. It was littered with shoes. My whole week’s worth. It’s important to this story for you to know that we live on a farm in Brazil. How we got here is a long tale, but what’s important here is that our shoes often get a layer of red mud on them. And Brazilians have this great term for foot-stink: chulé, probably because when you live in a tropical, sweaty place foot-stink is a much more relevant issue. For these reasons I usually leave my shoes out overnight to let the mud and chulé fade. I put them away the next day because I hate tripping over them, and since I hate mornings as well I try to do things which prevent me from being even crankier in the AM hours.
What we had there, folks, was a huge pile of I.CAN’T.EVEN. This entire past week I had been autopiloting–and autopiling–those shoes. I feel kinda silly confessing it because a pile of shoes are not the worst offense in the world. Nor was the extremely cluttered bathroom counter that my now-opened eyes noticed. Anyone criticizing me about housecleaning expectations is going to get a very fast “fuck that noise” thrown back at them. But they are indicators of clutter that normally gets under my skin and pings at my mental-health that I just had let slide for the past week because I was focused solely on bare-level functioning.
Once I saw those shoes I immediately forgave myself for not meeting my writing goals. Clearly, this was something bigger. Clearly, the news that my nation’s Congress had just voted on a bill that, while they didn’t care enough to wait for numbers from the Congressional Budget Office, will most likely cause over 20 million people to lose their health care had gotten to me. The fact that it probably was racist backlash for having a black president who had the audacity to cover all those people in the first place was making my heart bleed. I could try to keep on going and ignore the pain, but there were still those shoes staring me in the face.
So today and this week I’m going to re-focus on what I know makes me feel balanced. Writing. Sun & Nature. Vegetables. Exercise. Yoga. Water. Friends. The recipe isn’t complicated, but now that I’m looking around, those ingredients have been a little lacking too.
In the meantime, I offer to you all this article on applying the therapy techniques of Dialectical Behavior Therapy to surviving the Trump administration. More than one friend has said it was helpful to them this week. It’s all about just this process–feeling the pain and moving onwards towards action at the same time. Once I get myself squared away, I’ll be back with my thoughts on that article. There’s tons to chew on in there!
And down in the comments let’s have a discussion–what are your ways of knowing you’re veering off course and need some self-loving? What are your warning signs? How do you know you’ve reached the point of I.CAN’T.EVEN. and need to regroup?
Peace on, Warriors.
p.s. I put away the shoes. The bathroom counter is still a disaster. One thing at a time, people. I’ll be in the garden if you need me.
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