#IWillSmileTodayBecause Being in the Present is Good Today #FridayFeeling

I will smile today because I can recognize that today is good. Each day is good, really, but some days it is harder to see. Today, my husband and I ran some errands very successfully. It made me smile when Steve asked me “Did you notice, I’m being really flexible today with my plans? …I’m semper gumby.”

Today, we were able to be flexible with our plans and enjoyed an unexpected, unplanned breakfast at Ihop today and (read: AND!) navigated the grocery store without a lot of anxiety. We went early and made our stops pretty quick which may have helped. It felt great. It’s the simple things.

Tonight, we are going to see a musical. I hope that it goes as well. There has been a lot of stress in our house lately and we all need a break and night out. I love theater and I am really looking forward to it! I am making spaghetti with meat sauce and garlic bread for supper, I know Steve is really looking forward to that (his fave). We forgot the salad mix at the store, oops. Ah well, Steve and I have been really focused on eating better lately and have opted for more veggies and salads lately.

As a Catholic, I am not really supposed to eat meat on fridays, but it seems that every friday we end up having meat lately. I guess there are many worse things. I guess I will pray a little more. I actually took my rosary out of my car today with the idea that I will start using it more.

I may be rationalizing this meat-eating on a Lenten Friday, but I guess it is what it is. I am on the other hand making a considerable amount of progress on some of my other goals. I have been eating healthier, exercising a little more, and working through a lot of challenges with myself and with my relationships. Times have been more difficult lately, and there were moments that I wasn’t sure how Steve and I would make it through them. It hasn’t always been pretty, but we continue to support each other, working on ourselves, having courage and compassion, and ultimately greater connection. It’s a great #FridayFeeling 🙂

 

#LetsMakeTodayBetterBy having courage and compassion

I am typically a compassionate person, and this may have played a part in my gravitating towards caregiver roles in my work and personal life. I grew up in the Roman Catholic faith. I learned that it was important to share with others, give even when you have little, and treating everyone with kindness. When I went to Catholic School, I remember learning in 1st grade from Sister Patricia the golden rule “do unto others, as you wish they do unto you”, and that in order to have joy, “Jesus comes first, then others, and then yourself.”  I think that this is one of the reasons that caring, and kindness towards other is easy for me.

In my current work, I try to spread compassion by talking with my students about things like common misconceptions about mental illness and how to fight mental illness stigma.

Sadly, the media uses sensational headlines about mental illness to sell their stories and politicians use mental illness to push their agendas. I try to counteract some of these things, even in the small world in which I work, live, and play. There are times when it feels my efforts are futile, and other times, I feel I’m really helping to make great strides. I hope that it helps one of my students someday to have courage and strength for their friends, family, partner, or themselves, so that they may get help if and when they ever need it. In the world we live in, it takes great courage to ask for help. In my work and in my life, I have seen firsthand how the stigma of mental illness has kept families and individuals from seeking help.

The world needs more compassion. We, as a people, need more compassion, but it also takes great courage. Let’s make the world a better place; have courage to throw kindness around like confetti!

 

The Gifts of Imperfection

I’ve read a lot of books out of necessity instead of pleasure, perhaps that is why I don’t often read anymore. Recently our family counselor gave my husband and I “The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are” by Brene Brown.

I am a bit of a perfectionist and so to an extent I am anxious about making mistakes and fearful that I won’t measure up. I have trouble with doing something simple and letting it be. It could be something as simple as writing an email; I’ll find myself writing, editing, re-reading and re-writing. This has served me well in academia as my papers have been well-written. Although, even when my graduate professors would return my papers with comments like “100 – This was excellent! I enjoyed reading your paper and learning about … I could not find anything wrong with this paper”, I still had trouble accepting that feedback and feeling satisfied.

This year, I made my new year’s resolution a bit broad, I aim to be a happier, healthier me. As part of this, I am reading and taking time to reflect on Brown’s words. In the Gifts of Imperfection, Brown discusses shame resilience, as well as courage, kindness, compassion, and connection. What I am learning to recognize and remember is that kindness and compassion towards the self is just as important as having these towards others. Furthermore, these are also important if we want to make the best connections with ourselves and each other. These are also key if we want to be and enjoy life in the moment.

With that being said, I am going to practice courage in starting a new knitting project, a Slouchy Beanie with a Visor. I am a new knitter and it will be the first hat that I have attempted, so I am a little nervous that it may not come out right. I am going to lean into that feeling though, and just go for it. All of my scarfs so far have come out lovely, so hopefully this project will too!