Contemplation of the “whats.”

There are a few things I’ve been pondering lately. What do people do to take care of themselves? And what are the [nouns] that make folks happy? And then the question that occurred to me the other morning… what do you like most/best about yourself? Like, when you think about who you are and how you engage with the world, what do you like best about who you are?

I feel compelled to mention my awareness of the privilege inherent in even contemplating such things; not everyone has that, because life is more about pure survival for so many, and the concepts of self-care and happiness are, or can be, pretty extraneous. Anyway. Here, in no particular order, are the things I do to take care of me, the “whats” I’ve found that make me happy, and what I like best about me (because sometimes it’s easy to forget the good, or at the very least, not even bother to think about whether I actually LIKE me or not). There’s a fair amount of overlap, which probably makes sense.

Self-Care

  • Pedicures
  • Massage
  • Therapy
  • Journaling (every morning)
  • Cooking nourishing food
  • Going to the gym
  • Exploring
  • Time spent with loved ones
  • Gratitude practice

Happy-Makers

  • Little kids – especially in costume (thank you, Halloween!)
  • “Run to the Hills” by Iron Maiden when I’m at the gym and pretending to chase people on the other treadmills
  • “Superstition” by Stevie Wonder, especially that video from Sesame Street with the kid dancing on the fire escape
  • Joey and Kermit
  • My family – especially my nieces and nephews
  • Delicious foods and fancy cocktails
  • “Last Week Tonight” with John Oliver
  • Anything and everything Jason Isbell & Amanda Shires
  • My new cozy, comfortable bed
  • Making people laugh
  • Learning things and getting to talk to other people about it
  • Hand-holding
  • Traveling
  • Imagining, when stopped in traffic or at a railroad crossing, getting out of the car to dance (terribly) and sing (loudly) and just wiggle til it’s time to get back in the car. Cracks me up every time.
  • I like the way I drive. I know it sounds weird, but only driving a manual transmission, and driving my little turbo-charged car like it’s meant to be driven, makes me feel good.

What I Like About Me

  • I sing when I feel like it
  • I do my best in most things
  • I get afraid, but will try things anyway
  • I share in an effort to encourage connection with others
  • I’ve got a pretty big (and tender) heart
  • I like to learn and have a pretty open mind
  • I’m always trying to be a better person than I was the day before
  • I always try to find my part in things
  • I’m finally settling into who I’ve always been meant to be

These are just partial lists, but they’re things I think about on the regular, and I think that’s important. If there are things I can be doing to take care of myself, so that I’ll be better suited to take care of others, I want to be aware of that. If something makes me happy, I want to remember that. And there’s never a bad time to remember and acknowledge the good parts of yourself; makes it a whole lot easier to then navigate the parts that could use a little work.

“Scraping Little Shavings off My Ration of Light”

I’m working on practicing gratitude as soon as I wake up, in an effort to set the tone for the day. Some days, that’s easier than others. But this morning, I woke up way before my alarm went off (after getting a good night’s sleep), and couldn’t think of anything better than lying in my warm, cozy, comfortable bed listening to the sound of the rain.

It occurred to me the other day that if you’re always waiting for something to happen before you’re able to relax, be happy, etc. – like, “Once I get that job, I’ll feel better!” or, “Once these things happen I’ll be able to relax and enjoy life!” – then not only are you putting joy and gratitude on hold, but you’re also preventing yourself from finding whatever good is in the present moment. I mean, sometimes that goodness is hard to find, I get it; sometimes it might not even be there.

But most of the time, it’s there, and it’s passing you by if you’re too busy looking elsewhere. Find the good, y’all – and share it, when you do. We could all use a little light. ❤

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The title of this is part of a line of a Bruce Cockburn song called, “Isn’t That What Friends Are For?” and the rest goes like this: 

I’ve been scraping little shavings off my ration of light
And I’ve formed it into a ball, and each time I pack a bit more onto it
I make a bowl of my hands and I scoop it from its secret cache
Under a loose board in the floor
And I blow across it and I send it to you
Against those moments when
The darkness blows under your door