For about five weeks now, I’ve started nearly every day with a short meditation followed by a few minutes of stretching to work these stiff joints of mine. The difference is amazing and is an excellent example of how self-care can have a truly beneficial impact on your everyday life.
I’ve done meditation in one form or another for many years, but I’d fallen out of the habit with this Year of Turmoil, so I needed to carve out a few minutes and make a suitable space. There’s no one way to do this, by the way. My little space has some favorite spiritual books, some pictures and mementoes (remembering Dr. Johnson’s admonition that “the ultimate result of all ambition is to be happy at home,” I like to have remembrances in my space), and a few candles. (It’s the Celt in me. I like flickering candlelight as I sit and think.) It also has a door that closes. Some things need to not be interrupted by even the sweetest of pets. Plenty of other people would set things up differently; that doesn’t matter. What DOES matter is that you make sitting still for even a few minutes a part of your morning routine. Seriously – give it a try. And don’t worry if you head spins and spins at first.
The stretching started with a simple YouTube video and a five-minute timer (I’ve now worked up to SIX minutes!). It’s good for all of us “of a certain age” to stretch out and, given my recent joint challenges, I really wanted to make this a priority. I wasn’t really expecting to see so much improvement so quickly, though. A month ago, my joints were so stiff that I walked like I was wearing a splint and occasionally had trouble with jar lids. I couldn’t touch my toes and had to scooch around to getup off the floor. Being nowhere near ready for that sort of thing, I’m taking my medicine faithfully and eating far less processed junk and sugar, although I haven’t given it up entirely. I’ve started slowly walking around the block and I’m considering taking a bike ride this week. (And don’t knock walking slowly – that’s how I spotted the family of deer in the underbrush last week!)
Let me leave you this week with one last thing that may help you as it helped me. Ask for what you need.
I know. It sounds so simple, doesn’t it? But it can be incredibly hard to do.
A “for instance.” Here in the new place, we’ve got a number of mulched flower beds and I’ve been wanting to get spring bulbs planted – you know, a variety of irises, daffodils, tulips, crocuses, hyacinths, and so on. I’m the sort of gardener who loves perennials – they’ll spread on their own and require very little fussing on my part. I’d purchased a sack of daffodil bulbs and an assortment of others, but I didn’t have nearly enough to create anything that didn’t look straggly and “well, bless her heart, she’s trying.” So I asked. Several lovely women agree to dig up some of their own naturalized bulbs as a gift to me, whom they don’t even know. Then, when a lady asked where she could meet me and I was at work a half-hour away — well, I turned into my mom, who often said, “Joys of a small town.”
The lady thought I was a little odd for suggesting it, but she dropped a MASSIVE sack of irises and calla lilies off at a local coffeehouse, where they bemusedly held them in the greenhouse for me. I got a delicious late-afternoon coffee and felt pretty darned good about humanity at the same time.
And getting all those beauties in the ground will be tomorrow’s workout!
Scatter joy, Divas!