Thursday, December 27, 2012

Giving Myself Gifts

What's good? What is there to be thankful for?  I know that there's a ton of stuff, but when I get buried under an avalanche of "I'm pathetic/nobody cares/I'm never going to get better" blues, it's hard to claw my way out and come up for air.  I'll start with what helps me to feel better: the gifts I can give to myself that are free of charge.

  • A hot bath (This is presently no-can-do since I can't clamber into a tub yet or even go up the stairs to where the tub is.  Sheesh.  I'm not feeling better yet.)  This is a gift to look forward to.  The day I can sink into a hot tub again with my Kindle in its waterproof case is going to be better than getting a diamond necklace.

My daughter doing what I yearn to!

  • A good book that I can sink my teeth into.  Preferably a family saga, well-written, with lots of character development.  Any suggestions would be welcome.

What's not to love about Beverly Cleary?

  • Exercise.  The good news here is that I am just at the point in my recovery where I can scoot (okay, lumber) around a bit.  I just walked, with the assistance of my walking frame, 10 times up and down the length of our living room.  It sounds like nursing home aerobics, but it's where I am at, and it DID lift my spirits a bit.  I've got a set of two pound weights beside my bed that I might have a go at.

  • Watching fun, non-violent stuff.  We've got Netflix, my favorite new diversion, and I've been watching Drop Dead Diva and old Saturday Night Live reruns.  Levity is good for the soul.  (And popcorn helps too.)

  • Practicing mindfulness.  Just feeling my body move, wiggling my toes and feeling my feet (lots of pins and needles from the surgery still), being aware of my heart rate and breath, zoning in on the screws in spine and pelvis and allowing that pain is just another feeling and staying with it, and breathing through it.  Feeling it all and being totally present with the state of my body makes me feel better.

  • Asking for help.  Asking for company.  I am loathe to do either, as a rule, but I need to ask for what I want to get it, I am realizing.  I try to be specific in asking for what I want in terms of gifts, but having to say, "Please arrange the pillow under my legs in just this way" or "I need that overhead light off and just the lamps" is a little harder.  I want people to JUST KNOW.  And they don't.  And that's okay.  I've also thought, "If people don't want to come and see me, see if I care," but that's not the way to go about keeping friends or feeling good about the many kind people in my life who have their own busy lives without inconveniencing themselves to see me out in the boonies. While I'm not the most social person in the world, I need some company in these lonely weeks while I am at home.  I am going to ask.

  • Writing.  When I put pen to paper or hands to computer, I am transported in much the same way as I am when I am reading.  Except that I am creating when I write.  I'm not an artist or a cook or very crafty, but I CAN write.  I can actually write very well on occasion.  And it fulfills me in a way that few things do. I'd call it a passion if I were more regular about it.  It  is, however, becoming habitual now as I recover and have fewer obligations.  I look forward to it.  It lightens me.  (Also, I am certain I can do better than Fifty Shades of Grey and this free time may just be the time I can prove it and start a nest egg for retirement!)

  • Hanging out with my family.  Just goofing around together makes me happy.  Hearing their laughter is healing.  Being a part of their joy is transforming.  (Obviously, I'm not talking about ALL the time; sometimes they are supremely annoying.  Hardly ever, though.)

Ultimately, what's good is tuning in to what makes me feel better and making sure I do those things often enough.  I am staying away from news and negativity and really trying to fill my life with only what is positive.  I am in the fortunate position to be able to do that more easily than most times in my life since I am cloistered on one floor of my house with nowhere to go and nothing specific that I need to do except concentrate on getting better.

I've been on a crying jag for the last 24 hours (blame my uterus), but I am gingerly stepping out of that place, knowing it is useless to let any bad energy in, despite my deficiencies.  I am coming to understand that healing is a hugely mental process.  My surgery was admirably performed, the medications are doing what they need to, but rising to the occasion is up to me.  I elected to have this surgery so I could live a full, active life, free of pain.  I'm ready!  Starting now...first in my mind and then finding its way into my body.

What gifts can you give yourself during this season?  I'd bet you don't have to go to the store to get them.

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