WARNING: I apparently read the wrong email for 10 on Tuesday this time around. Blame it on the email program I use. Anyway. I would have been far less inspired by the most recent, so you get September 30th's topic. Heh.
Self love through intentional repetition.
Do I really hate chores? I mean, sometimes I guess I do. Let's be real. I've not been the best housekeeper. Ever. I've had times when I am more on top of things and times when I am way, way underneath them. Analysis would probaby prove that I have some issues with perfectionism (I'm just not that good at doing a quick job of anything-it all leads to emptying all the things and re-organizing all the things.... So I just don't do it. There.), feeling overwhelmed (it gets to a point when I don't know where to start), maybe my history with some brain injury (things that used to come easy to me are now difficult because I can't focus on them, plus the overwhelmed thing. I'd love to have that part of my brain back). The thing is, every little thing is so much better once the thing is done, no matter how hard it is for me to get to it or through it. Also, even chores that I think I hate, I really don't once I get going. Being present while doing them is meditative, combined with the sense of accomplishment and the results make me pretty happy. When presented with the definition of Discipline above, it made me re-think how I was living. Wasn't I worth completing chores for? It was an eye opener and it made me think of chores in an entirely different way.
All that said, I have been really better over the last year. I feel the need for order and cleanliness and when I have it I am able to manage the rest of my world so much better. One chore completed has a cumulative effect on everything, the other chores, the 'not chores', the mood.... The energy flows and it really helps with the residual effects and fog of the brain issues. And chores that are done with intentional repitition are just plain easier to do the next time. That's the self-love part. The discipline is a way of loving yourself and making your life easier. When you love yourself it is a lot easier to be loving to everyone else.
I know there are people, some close to me, who will say that they work well in chaos or disorder and I see how that goes. Sure, they get things done, but some of them not well. They get distracted or hyperfocused (you'd have to if you need to get anything done) and some things get done wrong or late and it is a mess. I'd challenge any of those people to change their habits and see if their lives change as well.
So, keeping in mind that my chore may be your joy and vice versa, I have split my list into "do I really hate these?" and "Yes! I really hate these!" You should be able to tell the difference.
- Cleaning the bathrooms. Perfectionism kills me on this one and I won't let you know how long I've gone in the past without completing this chore. I've lately been more disciplined on this front. I mean, who doesn't love a clean bathroom? And I don't even really hate doing it. Not the easiest thing, not the way I do it, with toothbrushes in the crevices and dental floss in the tiny cracks, taking apart light fixtures to get them clean... It is an event, but I've been keeping up with it and I LOVE the sparkliness of a clean bathroom.
- Cleaning the kitchen. Or making sure that it is clean before going to bed. Ugh. And yet, making my breakfast and that first pot of tea in the morning in a clean room where everything is in its place and findable is a great way to start the day. Having to clean first? Not so much. The discipline is a favor I do for myself.
- Exercise. WHAT?! Is that a chore? Well.... It is before I start doing it. I might give the impression that hitting the pavement or the gym or the pilates mat are among my favorite ways to spend time, but the truth is I have to talk myself into every single workout. Once I get going, and especially when I am finished, I love it. Normally there are at least a hundred other ways I'd like so spend that time and can easily talk myself out of a workout.
- Stretching goes along with that. The workout is over and, oh. I'm still not done. Skipping it has gotten me into a lot of trouble and I'm talking about the stretching that takes almost as long as the workout. Counting to 45 or so with every stretch. Pulling out the foam roller and enduring the pain in anticipation of the great feeling of muscles not seizing up with lactic acid build up. I do it. I'm happier when it is done.
- Laundry. It's a process, laundry. From the hamper or basket, bathroom or bedroom floor, under the bed, piled in the closet, from the gym bag all the way through the washer/dryer, folded and put back in the drawers (not the floor again)...... You know who you are, we all have different tolerance levels and as I've explained, mine are leaning to order. The old me, while I hated every minute of it, would wash my clothes, lug them to my room with every intention of folding and putting them away and they would end up on the floor and over time I'd get undressed and the clean clothes would mix in with some not so clean clothes and I'd have to dig to find a pair of undies (I just KNOW I have another clean pair!) and when in a rush maybe a pre-worn turtleneck would end up on my body and at some point I'd be washing whatever was on the floor because I'd lose track of what was clean and what was not. I cannot be that person anymore, which lands laundry in the 'maybe I hate it, but mostly the zen of laundry is a good thing' list. I stay on top of it and the feeling of opening my drawer and finding everything I need when I need it still tickles me. I won't even get into the time saved by avoiding the clothing excavation process (spent reading, knitting, quilting, catching up on televisions series....).
- Getting ready for bed. This is an on-going struggle. I'd go to bed so much earlier and get a lot more sleep if I'd get ready for bed instead of getting tired and thinking about how I should get up and get ready for bed. I'll sit around until 1 in the morning thinking about going to bed, but the face washing and teeth brushing and the moisturizing and the contact lens removing and the clothes changing..... exhausting.
- Cooking. I'm really ambivelant about cooking. I used to think I liked it, but what I really think is that I loved taking care of my family. Before brain injury planning meals and making shopping lists was easy and then getting the meals together was okay. I wouldn't say that I loved it like mad and it was among my favorite things, but finding recipes and eating good food was a thing I had to do so I did it without much complaint or thought of liking it or not liking it. Now I know. I don't like it. If I could give myself one thing it would be a cook. Somebody that I could explain my philosophy of food and eating to and have them provide the meals. I'd clean up after. I'd clean their bathrooms. I'd do their laundry. I'd knit for them and sew and help raise their children. Really. To have the meal on the table to just eat it. I'd love that. When I do get it together and make real meals for my peeps, I'm usually happy about it. So are they. I'm a good cook when I do it, I'd just rather not.
- Shopping. Of nearly any kind. Grocery shopping is the worst, but that relates to the former cooking thing and the brain thing, which has me feeling entirely overwhelmed the second I walk into the grocery store. And then I hate any other kind of shopping. I had all girls. I was never so happy when one of them got a license and I could send them out to shop on their own. I don't like shopping with other people, so when I have to shop I try to go alone and get it over with. Even yarn shopping with people drives me nuts. I need the quiet to think about what I am doing. Having people around, chatting me up, making recommendations... It shuts me down. I know they mean well and I know most people love this, but I am not one of them. So, if my cook could do my shopping as well, I'd throw in car detailing.
- Blow-drying my hair. There are no two ways around it, I hate doing this. My hands hurt, my head hurts, the whole thing. Pisses me off. Oh, to have wavy or thick beautiful hair that I can shake out and walk into my day letting it dry naturally! The stuff of my dreams. Instead I have thin, fine, super straight hair that I could wear super short about two decades ago, but now I need to style it every day. Thanks to my awesome stylist I can do it without too much time and effort, but still. UGH!
- Cleaning up after other people. This. Yeah, this. I really HATE this. I live with (or did live with and still live with one) adults. Big, grown up people. At least that is what they want me to believe. And yet, when I hear that they were going to "get it when I got home from work!" (TWELVE HOURS later. I don't think I should have to live with a sink filled with their dishes for all that time) I.go.CRAZY! I mean it. Crazy. I lose my mind. I may be cleaning, but there is no meditative joy in it at all. There may be stomping. And yelling. Banging things might happen. Jumping up and down and throwing a full blown toddler temper tantrum? I'm not gonna deny that might have happened. And, while I am not proud of this, there was one time when the perpatrators had gone to bed, where sleeping snuggly, it was past midnight, and I blasted music to get me through the clean up. I mean BLASTED!!!! And it was show tunes! That was designed specifically to irritate one of those children as much as anything else could. Did I mention I was singing at the top of my lungs?
- Re-organizing cabinets and closets. I know, you'd think this would fall under the discipline thing, but I organize and the others...... Yeah. Is it really that tough to put things away in the same order you found them? They teach MONKEYS to do it. Maybe monkeys would make better housemates......
- Floors. And pumping my own gas. These are two things that I really hate. One of them I pretty much never do and the other is half and half. Let me just admit that I have an awesome husband. I cannot remember the last time I washed a floor, although I do vacuum occasionally, he'll do that as well. The gas pumping? I can usually pawn that off on him as well, I try harder on these frigid winter days.
Now, there is a technique for lowering stress that encourages you to reframe your thoughts around a certain stress-inducing thing. For instance, instead of being angry that I have to clean up after people I should reframe and remind myself how blessed I am to have people to clean up after. yeah. I'm fortunate to have hair. I'm so blessed for the abundance of things to organize, share, cook, shop for, clean, love, let go of and then go for a run walk after. Most days that works.
In unrelated baby news, I can neither confirm nor deny that an ultrasound may give us a grand-baby gender reveal on this very day.
In preparation I ran around and found some yarn scraps to knit up a couple of pairs of booties as a gift to Baby Beagan. Have I never knitted pink? Not surprisingly, it was a lot easier to find blue scraps to knit with. I almost couldn't sleep! This is as good as Christmas!
Two. Just in case you are worried, my kids would sleep through an atomic event, and they slept right through my oh, so mature music blaring. Seriously. I didn't even get the satisfaction of waking them up and annoying them back! Not that there would have been any real satisfaction in it. AND they woke up to a CLEAN KITCHEN! On the upside, I do remember the music pushing me right through the chore. Music always helps if you hate a chore, put on your favorite tunes and sing or whistle while you work.