Counting down to summer break, a young boy could not wait to tell me that he and his family were going to have a “YES Day.” Excitement took over his whole body – his eyes widened, his body wiggled and danced as he scrambled to find the words to describe what this new family tradition would look like. YES Day was a day he could have pizza and ice cream for breakfast, go to a theme park for the day and watch a movie way past his bed time (while eating a second helping of pizza and ice cream). It was a day of breaking routine and endless fun.
His excitement was contagious and got me thinking, “What would I do if I coloured outside the lines for a day?” As an adult I could choose to eat pizza for breakfast, spend money on a theme park or stay up late. So what would it look like for me to break my routine and be as playful and carefree as a child? My curiosity seemed to be sparked at the perfect time…
I peered out my open window as I lay in my bed. I’m in no rush today and want to lounge as long as possible. The season is changing, and for the first time I am hesitant of the switch. Winter has felt safe – nestled inside under blankets, just the three of us, familiar. My beloved spring has felt like Mom ripping back my blankets and telling me I’m going to be late for school. I’m uncomfortable with this change and prefer to be bundled in safety.
If you know me, you know how much I value quietness. Noise aggravates and heightens my senses, distracting me from being tuned to my inner pulse. Inversely, quietness is the calm that puts me in touch with my ‘whispering soul.’
I am all about being safe. It’s been my top priority for the past few years. This need to be safe has turned my ‘introvertness’ into possibly ‘hermit living.’ And the weird thing is I don’t mind it, to some extent it has helped me regulate my overworked nervous system.
By pulling back from socializing, I’ve had time to reflect on the principals that drive my life. I would call it a healthy spring cleaning where every belief is pulled out of the dresser drawer and analyzed: “Do I keep this item or toss it?”
February was a turbulent month and I struggled to write a post. In short, a few years ago February was the month that my body collapsed. And each year my body seems to recall this terrible time.
Years prior to having a breakdown I had conditioned my body to a high level of stress. My mind and body acted as two separate entities. I was the master of ‘mind over matter’ and my body simply needed to submit to the physical and psychological demands. My body did as I requested, and if she voiced her concerns I was quick to talk her out of them. I was too proud, determined and afraid that if I listened to her she would have embarrassed me, and I wasn’t going to let that happen. When I felt her speak I ramped up my mental script: “Quitters never win! Fight through the exhaustion! Just one more year!” There was no way her warning signs were going to obstruct my plan to prove my endurance. I was quite successful at taming her wild nature…at least for a few years.
If it wasn’t for having a dog, there is no way I’d be going for a walk on one of the coldest days in January…and on a day so cold that you would think Winston would walk quickly around the block. Instead, he was stopping and sniffing as per usual as if it were a lovely spring afternoon. To him, it was a casual stroll – for me, a lesson in patience. Tucked in my jacket like a turtle in its shell, I prayed that he’d hurry up. It was feeling like a dreadful responsibility and not a “mental health walk.”
Silence comforts me. I’m not referring to complete silence – a space void of all noise. I believe that’s an impossibility. As I write, it is quiet in my home but not silent. The furnace rumbles as it blows heat through the vents, the squeak of brakes on over-used delivery trucks coming and going, and Winston barking to let them know “this is my house.” I fidget, tapping my foot, adjusting my body in my chair and clicking the keys on my computer. It’s quiet but not silent: a sound that I still prefer and one that comforts me.
I dash upstairs to my colleague’s office, but I’m quickly interrupted by a friend,
“How’s it going?” he asks.
“Good and you?” I reply.
I’m trying to catch my breath. Lassoing it into submission before it is noticeable to my friend. I haven’t run a marathon or have been chased by a vicious animal, and the few steps I took upstairs is hardly enough to increase my heart rate. So why the response?
As we continue the small talk, I disguise my rapid breathing by lifting my foggy eye glasses away from my mask, combing them back like a hairband. I am fully aware of the stress I am experiencing and adjust my posture to appear more relaxed and in control. (I hope it isn’t obvious to him.) We’re talking about vacations – sunshine, restaurants and natural wonders. The conversation is light-hearted and enjoyable yet I am forcing what mental capacity that is not reserved for survival to grab ahold of his words and make sense of them. It’s not that I’m not listening or that I’m bored with the topic. My mind is cloudy. I respond, spitting out words describing my vacation while my nervous system overrides any pleasure. We end the conversation after five minutes. I am exhausted and buzzing with adrenaline.
A notification that brightens a dreary October day. A click that took me to Pastern Corner Blog. A field of sunflowers and in the centre, a logo shaped like the sun reading “Sunshine Blogger Award.” A quick read and scroll down to 11 Nominees. A grin curling my lips upward with joy. I quietly say to myself, “I’ve been nominated.”
Thank you to Pastern Corner for the nomination. 💛
The Sunshine Blogger Award “is a peer recognition of the inspiring, creative and motivational work done by bloggers. It is given by bloggers to bloggers who inspire positivity and creativity in the blogging community.”
“Gentle hands,” my sister says to my nephew as she passes him a delicate angel ornament. She has been teaching him many lessons about sharing, tidying up and how to use gentle hands. Her lesson caught my attention and became a discipline I could practice in my life.
Brix is one-and-a-half years old and is a busy little guy who needs to explore everything in sight. He loves construction machinery, storybooks, all things nature and cooking in his kitchen like Mom and Dad do. When playing he literally leaves no stone unturned. He’ll empty cupboards, push over logs used as makeshift tables at my parents trailer, and look for food anywhere he can find it. My sister and brother-in-law understand the importance of teaching him how to use gentle hands – a lesson in respect for both objects, nature and in play.