Self-care

Gauguin wrestling with the angel 3

Wrestling with the angel 2Switching on the news, I heard a woman who had lost relatives in the Malaysian air crash, screaming. Then I heard of the North Korean restriction on men’s hair styles, which I found upsetting: it is devilish in its simplicity of enforcement, and total control of self-expression. I just about stopped listening to or watching the news. Putin invading Crimea, or NATO blustering: I don’t want to hear it. And then-

I identified this as the Heart of my Problem. Rather than overcoming or living with anything I don’t like, I avoid or flee it. So I skulk, a recluse in my living room. This is so much my natural response that I do it without immediately noticing, or realising there is an alternative.

Wrestling with the angel 1And- with emotional sensitivity, one can learn to control it, to feel the emotions fully but not act on them impulsively. So I should listen to the news, to practise this for half an hour every evening and the World Service for when I wake in the night.

I found myself scunnered and stymied, moving between badly misdirected self-care leading to stagnation, and panicked,¬†imperceptive and loveless challenges to myself so that I try to sprint a marathon, and immediately give up. I was frightened of it, with no clue how to proceed. Over breakfast, David said something which brought this up for me, and I thumped the table in distress (as I said, I was away at the weekend) and I had to explain: “You triggered something in me. No, that’s not it; you said something completely unobjectionable, which because of where I am at the moment I found reminded me of my overwhelming problem.”wrestling 4

So I took this into the HAI room of love, and over the next hour something shifted for me. In part, it is a question of perception. I can care for myself, either by withdrawing to heal, or by challenging myself to build strength. I have always self-cared: knowing the pleasure I got from helping others, I got a job doing that, which is looking after myself. I can make my self-care more conscious, less festooned with Shoulds. I can examine it. I can learn to do it better.

This is a new way of seeing myself, a growth moment, which is not a lesson learned but a skill to practise.

Wrestling 2Wrestling with the angel

D with his glasses on. I suppose a case could be made that they are striking, and if fashions move within a particular social circle I would not know, until they spread- but I would call them wrong for him, and for his face-shape, and when he comments on me looking at him, others agree. He said U chose them for him, which seemed fair as she had to look at them (though she need not any longer, now) and he only had to wear them.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/da/Gaugin_-_Poemes_Babares_-_1896.jpg

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3 thoughts on “Self-care

  1. I think withdrawing is based on strength. You overcome the curiosity or anxiety from “what if I miss something?” Well, that goes from news programs, anyway – I have been recording the news on my cable IQ-thingamajig :D and then I go to watch when I want, fast forwarding the stuff I don’t want to see. Now I reckon that has built up a certain strength in me: yes I can resist :D What a challenge!

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    • I come to know that I do things for my own benefit. Everything I do. Some of it appears altruistic, because humans are social and the need to support each other is very deep; and seeing that, I can choose it more wisely. Learning my unconscious goals, I can pursue them more effectively.

      If you can “resist” the news, it seems you have some sort of addiction to it: that is not my experience. Repeatedly checking my blog is my addiction :roll:

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      • Nice to know we all “fit in” – into addiction of one kind or another – as long as it keeps the balance of who we are and we are social beings, indeed – even in cyberspace let alone the same room :D

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