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Posts Tagged ‘self-talk’

ruach

1. I slept in yesterday and today.  Yesterday, I had class at ten o’clock.  I mostly prepared for class the night before, but didn’t stay up too late–I still had some translation left, but I felt good enough to stay asleep.  So yesterday morning, I lay happily in bed, waking up at my own pace, until nine o’clock.  It felt so good to move at my own pace.

(Note: Mostly, on days like yesterday, I tell myself, “You should get up at six o’clock and do three hours of work.”  Then, when I don’t want to, or can’t do that, I already feel like I’m not working hard, before the day even begins.)

2.  I’ve stopped cleaning a little.  I had some dear friends in town last weekend, and because I’m so relaxed around them, I didn’t feel the need to scrub and straighten every last thing.  Particularly, my suitcase was still out on my bedroom floor from a recent trip to Boston, and a long pink ribbon was also snaking across the floor.  I ignored both all weekend long, and never felt the urge to make the apartment “perfect” to entertain my friends.  I’ve also been letting the bed go.  I usually make it right away every morning, but sometimes I don’t _want_ to.  This morning, I didn’t make it; I let myself drink coffee and putter.  I eventually made it after lunch, but it felt relaxing to not think about it, or not think harshly of myself for not doing it right away.

The pink ribbon isn’t on my floor any more, but my dresser top is scattered with jewelry, there is an unruly stack of magazines at my feet, and blankets from this weekend’s house guest are still piled on the couch.  I feel pretty good– I moved at my own pace today, and felt smart and relaxed in class.

I’ve been considering more ways I can make things easier on myself.  This morning in the shower, I thought, “You’re a smart girl–you solve all kinds of things, and make all kinds of situations work.  You can probably find ways to not be so stressed, too.”  I think the first thing I’m going to tackle is my use of the word “should” in my inner self-talk.  I’m thinking I’ll be conscious of it for an Advent spiritual practice.  I can’t think of a time when I’ve told others “You should…you should…you must…you SHOULD…you shouldn’t…” and so I need to not say it so much to myself.

PS: The Hebrew word for breath/wind/spirit is /ruah/ (in Hebrew at the top of the post).  It is one of the divine names of God, as well; it is also a feminine name for God.  Images for it include a healing, loving breath moving from God to God’s creation, filling and sustaining us.

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I always think that every free hour should be filled.  Filled with meaningful, productive work, _not_ puttering.

My cousin Little Larry and I once discussed how our uncles and grandpa didn’t understand what we were doing in the city, because they couldn’t understand what we did.  ie, what we _made_.  We didn’t produce anything.  Little Larry was working in computers, and I was an English major.  It got slightly better for me when I became a teacher, because everyone (supposes she does) knows what a teacher does.  But this American practicalism of needing to be _producing_ haunts me.

On Mondays, I’m due at work at ten o’clock in the morning.  Class at two o’clock, free at four o’clock.  In my mind and calendar, I should be up early to do some reading, and should go straight from class to the library, to type a paper three days ahead of time, to get an advanced start on reading or research, or to work on translation at the very least.

Often, though, I just don’t _want_ to.  I resist.  I want to take my shoes off, and sit on my comfy couch.  I want to wait for the bus, and ride to a bookstore, or look at fancy cheeses in one of the markets I never shop in.  

I don’t _think_ I’m a slacker.  That is, I get excellent marks, I run a variety of projects, I’m founding a new academic journal…  Intellectually, I know these things. But the guilt that comes from looking at novels and cheese.    It’s not as if my slovenly nature has caused failure in my life, in which case a harsh self-voice might be rational.

It’s fall!  I want to photograph apples and look at the cheese!  And search new recipes for figs stuffed with mozzarella wrapped in prosciutto, and read at my own pace.  Oh, self-voice–how old will I have to be for you to grow silver and finally patient?

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Being sick

I’m under the weather.  Sore throat, runny nose, very tired and achey, and my ears hurt.

I’ve still been going to class, and work, but other than that—I’ve been sleeping when I want, and as much as I want.  If I don’t want to eat, I don’t eat.  If I want to eat, I eat.  If I just want to lay on the couch and stay warm, I just lay there.  Guilt free.

It’s strange that I usually am so hard on myself that I wouldn’t allow myself to just sit, just rest, sleep in…but I wouldn’t.  So in one, way, being sick and feeling awful has a silver lining. My inner voice becomes much more forgiving, and less strict.

Currently, I’m watching _Law & Order_, and sipping lemon/lime bubbly water.  I’m not doing dishes, or translating Greek, or returning phone calls, or planning youth curriculum.  And I don’t feel guilty!  Next step: channel this positive, gentle self-talk into every day life, for use when I am completely healthy.

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