Saturday, 7 January 2012
Somewhere Over The Rainbow.
I'm sitting in bed, I've been here all day! and today I am being Kind to myself. I'm not just being ordinarily kind, I'm being Uber kind! The kind of Kindness needed when one is sleep deprived from caring all night for ill people for several days in a row. The kind of kindness needed when one has already enjoyed writing a whole blog post and somehow its got lost in cyberspace and has to be written again!
Sleep deprivation is a funny thing, no not funny ha ha, but funny peculiar. I have of course decided to view it as a challenge, and so far I have had varying success. I'm in a strange state and no it's not Kansas, Kansas? Why Kansas? In the night after a short sleep I hallucinated the yellow brick road, I'd like to say that Dorothy was there and the Scarecrow, the Lion, the Tin Man and Toto, although I doubt they would have all fitted in my bedroom. I'm feeling surprisingly good, despite my night time activities, but it is mostly due to my partners continual reminders to listen to my own advice and keep choosing better feeling thoughts.
Last year I did a twelve week course from a fantastic, life changing book called "The Artists Way: A Course in Discovering and Recovering Your Creative Self" by Julia Cameron, aside from teaching me how to get out of my own way and actually allow myself to be creative it also taught me about being kind to myself, Julia Cameron suggests the use of a mantra: "treating myself like a precious object will make me strong" I had never really viewed myself as a precious object up to that point, precious objects to me were things that cluttered up my house, things to which I had formed sentimental attachment. Friends and family have often commented on my extraordinary ability to hold on to possessions a bit like a barnacle on a rock in a stormy sea.
"Oh no!" I hear you cry, "this woman is a hoarder!" and perhaps I might have been had I not had the good fortune to have moved over sixty times since my late teens! So thankfully my hoarding has been minimal. I once visited the home of a close family friend who really was hoarder, his house was stuffed to the gunwales mostly with books and we had to squeeze through little avenues between the piles. I grew up in a house with literally thousands of books, (if you excuse the pun) so my friends home didn't seem that unusual to me, and anyway I was more interested in the pet shark!
I may not be a hoarder, but I had formed an attachment to all manner of stuff, and really I knew in my heart that it was not the stuff itself, but the memory it evoked which was the real treasure. I even kept things which had unhappy associations with them simply because I didn't know what else to do with them. What was I up to?
I finished the artists way around this time last year and with the help of my partner I seriously edited my belongings, or rather he did, I just sat and sobbed on my sofa. I was crying with gladness that the tyrannical reign of tat was finally over.
The real treasure is inside me, some of that being my happy memories of people and places which had been before, I am a precious object and one of my jobs is to treat myself as such.
The Artists Way introduced me to a range of ways of cherishing myself, the practices that I have kept include:
Abandoning perfectionism; perfectionism is a form of critical self torture, it prevented me from even trying new creative ventures; I longed to be the best before I had even started, and any adventure into a new creative realm would alert my inner critic, who would enthusiastically point out to me in no uncertain terms that I would never be good enough/ had no talent/ should stick to what I know/ should be more realistic/ stop wasting my time. Does this sound familiar to you? I hope not. Anyway I learnt to give myself a break, I can now aim to paint like Michaelangelo when he first held a pen, not when he had just painted the Sistine chapel - this means anything I paint or draw is a pleasant surprise.
Treating myself to nice things like flowers - I now buy myself flowers whenever I think about it. I have always loved them and I don't even know why I thought I should wait for someone else to bring them???
Artists dates - I take myself out, all alone. I visit places and go for walks all alone and revel in my own company, I laugh at my own jokes - after all they are by far the funniest, and I please my self.
I nurture my self with good food, long soaks in the bath, and inspirational company.
But most of all its in the way I talk to myself, I am my own best friend and I certainly wouldn't criticise, berate, mock, chastise or ridicule my best friend (she'd probably cry and then tell me to clear off) or for that matter anyone else, so why would I do it to myself?
I love me, I deserve kindness and gentleness, and I deserve to give myself a break (and several cups of tea) even when I haven't been up all night following the yellow brick road. I'm planning to go to sleep now, I have a vision of a sweet dream in my cosy bed, there's no place like home, there's no place like home, there's no place like home, there's no place like home, there's no place like home.
I am grateful for my sense of humour,
I am grateful for bright bouquets of wild flowers,
I am grateful for the richness of other peoples knowledge,
I am grateful for the joy that sharing brings,
I am grateful for all the precious objects in my mind and in my house,
I am grateful for my cozy bed,
I am grateful for my loving partner who has helped to keep my tired mind choosing good feeling thoughts,
I am grateful for ruby slippers,
I am grateful for Toto,
I am grateful for the kindness of strangers and friends.