The “How-To Manual for Self-Love”

We’re getting ready for a weeklong road trip to Long Island and then Westchester. Christmas cookies and nutroll are baking, yoga classes are getting filmed and a hundred other details are receiving our attention prior to departure.

We’re used to these comings and goings. I think that’s why a one-week or even a 10-week RV trip doesn’t scare us. What we become accustomed to becomes predictable and, therefore, less scary.

Mindfulness teaches us how to focus on today’s tasks. When I feel the tension in my body, and start snapping at Beth or judging others, I know that I’m “in the future” where anxiety lives. This does happen and will likely always happen, but I catch it faster these days and make adjustments. The best adjustment of all is the one we teach kids every day – take three, deep breaths. Aaaaah.

We never know what’s around a dark corner, so we bring a flashlight and proceed slowly and with caution. This is a good practice to stay safe and healthy. If we rush, we might fall or bump into something and hurt ourselves. As I move through my life tasks (like getting ready for a trip), I fair best when I act with deliberation, support, and an awareness of my mental and physical self. If I don’t, I bump into people and fall into old, self-destructive habits. 

Forgiveness is important when we act out with anxious behavior. As I write this, tears form in my eyes because I have been very hard and unforgiving to myself for decades. This is called “shame” and it’s the worst feeling I know, even though I am accustomed to its sting. 

Today, I give myself permission to stop, breathe and be. Beth just said these words to her yoga students. I am wise to follow her advice. 

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