This post was written in November 2009, and documents my transition from part-time to full-time coaching.
I wrote a bit ago about “the happy place.”
For the past week, I have noticed myself existing in “the grumpy place.”
I used to not understand why these moods would come upon me–why it was that life would suddenly feel negative, pissy, irritable, frustrating, like everything was “happening to” me. Now I get why these times happen–it’s a buildup of negative emotions that I’m not releasing in a healthy way, combined with not enough self-care. It’s also something that can be seriously agitated by not enough sleep and/or being sick.
I am reminded again and again in my life that it is always better to do the daily work than to clean up the mess later. I’ve mentioned this in regards to relationships, before–it’s always better to face those ugly parts, clear the withholds, have the difficult conversations–than it is to clean up resentments later. I’ve had more than one friendship or relationship in my life where, by the time we finally started to clean things up, there was so much to clean up and so much trust had been broken that it was really, really complicated to figure out where to go from there.
The same holds true for self-care. One simply cannot bounce from working on getting an e-course going, to teaching, to grading papers, to moving an entire house and living amongst boxes and chaos, to using all spare time to paint/organize/unpack/unload/sort/buy furniture, completely neglecting yoga and exercise and even eating well (I had brussel sprouts for the first time in quite awhile this past week, and I was SO EXCITED to be getting a green vegetable in my mouth–it has been a “mix up a pack of instant oatmeal for dinner” kind of time).
This lack of self-care has manifested itself in a few ways, the most critical of which was noticing that during my coaching sessions this week, I felt “off,” not as easily able to tune in intuitively to what my clients needed. And that–that–really was a huge wake-up call that things had reached mission critical point. Self-care is not just about me, it’s about the space I hold for others, too.
I don’t do “balance” perfectly–frankly, I don’t believe anyone really does–and yet I honor myself for all that I have learned, especially with my ability to notice, so much faster, where I’m getting out of balance. It is really, really difficult to say no to things I wanted to do, but I am braver about noticing when it’s needed and speaking into that. For instance, I had this whole fantasy of cooking a big Thanksgiving dinner here at the house (our new house, our perfect little house that we searched so long for that is exactly what we have always wanted ever since we moved in together!) with some of Andy’s family, complete with bonding over how to cook a whole turkey and learning new cooking moves and just hanging out around the fireplace (yup, we have a fireplace) as the day slowly tucked away into night.
And earlier this week, I noticed that every single time I thought of this dinner, I felt completely overwhelmed. I don’t want to cook all day–I want rest. I don’t want to have people in the house all day–I want time with my love and equal parts solitude, to reconnect with me. I feel so very, very stretched and the to-do list is really big. What I really need right now, more than anything, is some time to have absolutely nothing on my plate. Quiet time with my love. A cozy couch and a blanket and a kitty and a pile of movies, good food to munch on, walks outside to stave off the bloat.
The Thanksgiving fantasy of a grand dinner in this house will need to happen next year. I am disappointed and don’t want to disappoint others, and yet I know deep down that if I try to fit onemorething in, I’m not taking care of myself.
This doesn’t mean that the day won’t be meaningful in some way. We were invited to do dinner at someone else’s house and so this means we will get out for a few hours, say hello to others, toast, share what we’re so grateful for (and there’s so, so much).
Between deciding to let go of this big, grand (and energetically consuming Thanksgiving fantasy), as well as finally getting a solid night’s sleep for the first time in a few days, I am feeling better. I am feeling less irritable and snappish. I have taken things really, really slowly this morning. There is still a pile o’ stuff on my office floor–stuff that I’ve left there because I refuse to do anything with it until I know exactly where it will go, what I will keep and what I won’t. I’m making a goal of finishing my office by this evening. It’s a good goal. There is a little sigh of relief that I know comes whenever I have my own little space.