Just like in January, this is where I show the work of practicing wellness all month. I write consistently that wellness is not some elusive state of being. Wellness is an ongoing practice. Wellness is work, rest, repeat. We do good work, we feel good. It’s not rocket science but it doesn’t just happen. We have to do well to be well. These are my efforts in February.
My long-time readers are well aware that I do not pray, despite the fact that I have a daily practice called Morning Prayers. I don’t ask. I tell. I manifest. I affirm. So if I reveal I wrote some prayers this month I don’t mean I wrote out a request like a letter to Santa. I wrote some affirmations. I wrote some declarations to repeat like prayers and I put them down in print because it was easier to memorize them that way. It’s also easier to edit them that way.
This is energy work. I wrote about that earlier this month in a post titled Message From The Mat. This is resonant activism. Whether you call upon a deity, chant a mantra, or silently send out positive vibes, the investment is the same. This month I decided that one of the most powerful weapons in my energy arsenal are my written words. I wrote them so I could learn them and speak them, on repeat, like prayers. Not begging someone else to change the world for me; but taking responsibility for doing the work myself. After all, amen means “so be it.”
Full moon + fire + smoke; continues to soothe me. If it ain’t broke…
Occupational Wellness — Livelihood, Lifestyle, Career, Work, Money
I continued reductions of things I do not love, which is sometimes just because they are things that do not serve my lifestyle in a positive or productive way. Culling the crap clears space for the things that will serve us better, which is sometimes nothing at all.
The Spending Fast is working so well I was able to channel an EXTRA $424 toward consumer debt. Focus on debt, all you’ll get is more debt. Focus on money, you’ll have more money. It’s true. I found $424 EXTRA dollars hiding in my income. It works, my fellow debt-ridden citizens. I’ve been practicing for five months now and every single month I end up with EXTRA money. The New Age set says money is just another form of energy. I’m using all this extra energy to annihilate consumer debt.
No surprises here. February was all about working the big three: run, hike, yoga. I did change one thing. I capitalized on the early arrival of Spring for outdoor yoga. Have you not done this yet? Oh honey, please. Drag your mat out the back door and salute — sun, moon, dandelions, fresh air, whatever.
I continue working with my Trainer (I like saying trainer instead of physiologist) simply because it is fun. I mean it. I don’t have to do it but I like it. It’s like being in school again, only just one class and just P.E., and then school’s out! Maybe it’s because I never got to go to Kindergarten. Seriously, Head Start had not been invented and Kindergarten was optional back in my day. I never got to go to day care either. Back in my day kids stayed home alone. We also sat in the car alone, didn’t wear seat belts or bike helmets, and played outside out of sight for hours unattended. See what I’ve lived through, y’all? Let me have this.
Intellectual Wellness– Creativity & Learning
I made the Chef a Valentine’s Day card by hand. Construction paper, glue, poem, the whole nine yards. It was purple. It was crooked. It was tremendous.
I continued the semi-weekly Peaco play posts now billed under the Wellness Today category. I get the biggest kick out of this even if no one else does. And that’s a critical point of our practice, folks. It needs to be relevant for us–for ourselves–and not necessarily for an audience.
The daughters of my BFF back in Maryland drew a family portrait complete with flowers and butterflies for my birthday. The kind of art that goes straight to the refrigerator door and stays there. The three of them smiling at me in 8.5 X 11 glory were rendered lifelike and gorgeous by the addition of crayon and colored pencil. I decided to respond by drawing one in return as a Thank You card. The four of us (Me, Chef, pets) smiling back at them in the same dimensions. It was not tremendous. It was, in fact, hideous. I couldn’t color it in despite my possession of crayons and colored pencils because it was just so fantastically awful in pencil and white.
I mailed it anyway. It’s important to remember we have permission to not be good at things. I have permission to have no talent whatsoever for drawing or painting or sculpture. It’s okay. It’s more than okay. It is gallant to produce artwork of any kind, especially if we know in advance that we have no skill or talent for the medium. Be plucky. Let it be sucky. There is still a place in my practice for those creations that might be a few pencil strokes short of a masterpiece.
I finally found a new pen name. Whoo hoo! Don’t try and tell me you didn’t notice. That Mercy Me post was a big one.
I did try one new thing (sucking at drawing is nothing new). It was an experiment. I read somewhere that to un-do the negative effects of our collective Sit, Stare, Scroll lifestyle, we should spend a minimum of eight minutes in Nature for every hour we spend looking at a digital screen. That’s phone screen, tablet, computer, TV, smartwatch, treadmill display, etc. And that’s per day, every day. That means one hour outside in Nature per 7.5 hours for the work day alone, not counting all the additional screen time before and after work. And NO, taking the screen outside to stare it does NOT count. (But taking a yoga mat does!) And eight minutes is the bare minimum.
I don’t want to spoil the ending for you in case you decide to try it but I will say this — eight minutes is not enough. It’s like those irritating yoga teachers who sweat you to near collapse and then give you a paltry five minute Savasana to end the class. But eight minutes is a start and we all gotta start somewhere.
Social Wellness– Relationships & Society
Coming in just under the short month deadline, I initiated the transformation of the Spare Bedroom into the Chef’s Home Office. This was done as a gesture of support. It’s been four months since his sudden unemployment. He is working again but from a room set aside for guests (non-existent) and unused furniture. He was overdue for a full embrace instead of one of those side hugs where someone doesn’t want to commit his or her full body to the hug.
People like to feel that their work is important. They like for others to treat that work as important. Giving him a viable workspace elevates his work in importance; so important that we make space for it. We actively facilitate it rather than squeeze it into the space designated for something else. It took a full Saturday and part of Sunday but that investment of time and energy sends a strong message to the Chef: What you do matters. This home–right down to this room–and the people who live here will support what you do.
As a general rule we do not socialize with our neighbors other than a wave in passing or a casual word exchanged over the fence. We are the polite people who mind our business, don’t play our music loud, take care of our yard, and mind our own business. Being runners, we always assume that polite or not the homeowners with dogs must hate us by default. We make the dogs bark when we run past their yards/houses, sometimes early in the morning. Over time we’ve figure out which dogs are barking just to call an alert and which dogs are warning us what will happen if he/she ever gets past the fence. So we notice when certain dogs are missing; also when new dogs move in.
We noticed a new beagle puppy at the top of the hill and wondered what happened to the poodle who used to chase us into the street whenever she escaped the domicile. One day while walking our own dog the neighbor with the new beagle happened to be afoot so we stopped to ask. The poodle got squished. The beagle is the new addition. But alas, this neighbor has no fence (hence the squished poodle) so outdoor puppy play is tethered, which means much puppy wailing and howling. Have you ever heard beagles howl? Here, this will help.
We invited the puppy down to our yard for a play date. Secure, spacious, dog proof, poop wherever you want. To our surprise the neighbor accepted and now it’s become a semi-regular event. Sometimes the neighbors stay for the date too. Sometimes they just need a break and want us to babysit. It’s a rollicking frolicking good time for the dogs and it affords the Chef and I an opportunity to be neighborly. This is the kind of world in which I want to live; where people help each other because it’s a nice thing to do.
And February’s work is complete. Accomplished. Documented. Released. Whatever didn’t get done was missed. Whatever did get done is finished. We reset. We start again. We practice on.