Tag Archives: self care

more happy

In Praise Of NOT Doing Your Best

This is not a post about excellence. It is a post about mediocrity. This post isn’t about doing your best. It’s about doing anything at all. This post isn’t about perfection. It’s about good enough. This post isn’t about bringing your A game. It’s about embracing a B-.

For weeks I have tried to write a post. I’ve even been successful three or four times. But the ideas weren’t coming and the posts weren’t excellent. And so I did nothing at all. Hard fail.

I don’t suppose everyone suffers from perfectionism or from “Pedestrian Paralysis”. No. Not everyone. But certainly none of us loves to know we could have done better and there are about a zillion people who “could have done it better” than us.

No. No one likes that.

In a society that elevates the savant and worships youth, we rarely praise The Plodder. And I think it’s a damn shame.

This is a mediocre picture and I embrace it. Mostly...
This is a mediocre picture and I embrace it. Mostly…

The Plodder, as described in literature, is a sorry sort of fellow, who without the grace of the Gazelle trudges through life. He employs no elegant gate, he simply moves along, moves along.

But I submit to you that were you to check back in with her somewhere after the story closes, you would find she’s gone miles and miles further than almost everyone else. Where others simply stay where life is safe, the progression of a good trudge can indeed be remarkable.

The couch dweller, perhaps hoping to be young again, maybe longing to be “the best” at something, anything, never moves at all and often criticizes the lowly place of those who act without perfection.

I admit to my paralysis. I somehow became afraid of the blank page, of what I might say that wasn’t quite perfect, not pretty or profound.

But I have the heart of a plodder, the soul of a person who knows how to doggedly persist. Deep down we each need to understand that in order to accomplish anything, we must first do it poorly.

And so I write this for you. Today. With no apologies.

Further, I invite you to trudge, to fail, to fall on your face and present the world with your most pedestrian mediocrity because if we don’t fail and fall, we will never fly.

Someday, I plan to fly. Come fly with me, friends.

family reunion

Hobbits Are For Real And Life Is Magical: My Surprising Travels To D.C.

I walked the hallowed halls of many historical buildings and through the landscapes of iconic, American monuments.

There were enormous statues, obelisks and parks dedicated to the history of our young nation. I explored museums and culture and something came alive in me that I did not yet know existed.

I had never been to Washington D.C. so how could I know it was the entrance to another existence? Moment by moment I felt intrinsically changed.

hobbit
Isn’t she fantastic!

One such moment came at my personal discovery of the species named homo floresiensis, better nicknamed, Hobbits. These little people who walked the earth some twelve-plus thousand years ago grabbed my attention just a few days ago and they won’t let go.

It is my habit upon discovering something delightful to my sensibility to continue down the rabbit hole of the world and find more things about that.

Upon returning home I discovered our tiny, remote relations are controversial, as any good hobbit should be. They are controversial and some people think they were an anomaly, while others believe they are connected in our “folk memory” to mythological creatures called Ebu Gogo.

Oh. My. Gosh.

I’m undone. I mean truly. Last Thursday as we taxied down the runway I had no idea at all that these were things. Hobbits and folk memory and Ebu Gogo (Which, by the way, means “grandmother who eats anything.” I mean, can you get enough of this stuff???).

My trip to the Capitol surprised me in its delights. Really. I didn’t know I would love it so much. So as we boarded our flight out of Dulles Airport a part of me mourned that it was over. All that discovery. All the sights and sounds and energy I’d never known before.

I’m not much for suffering and so while I simultaneously allowed myself a bit of sadness over the end of a delightful adventure, I wondered at what made me feel so alive, and, more importantly, how I might keep that feeling with me upon my return to home and family and all that is familiar to me.

It is then that I realized what made me come alive wasn’t only all that is wonderful about that particular destination, but it was the learning and discovery. It was seeing things in a new way and learning things about which I knew nothing before.

Correct me if I’m wrong, and I’m really not, but wherever we are, whether traveling or sitting at home on the couch that is intimately familiar to us, there is always something to discover. There are rabbit holes to explore every single moment of every single day. It’s just that kind of limitless world at our fingertips. Boredom, my friends, is the final frontier.

Granted, it’s not every day we discover hobbits actually roamed the earth and not every day we learn about folk memory or grandmothers who eat everything. But I like to think that there are discoveries just as important available to us every day if only we’re willing to look for them.

Isn’t life grand?

The Value Of Your Soul As Decided By Your Laundry

It took me more than 25 years to clean my laundry room. Give or take. It began with my first child and, fittingly, now that my last is the only one living with us, I seem to be getting a handle on it.

At first the trouble was that I was a new mom. That morphed into mom with babies and small children and then busy schedules and finally to a laundry room that’s really big and too much clothing.

The most recent difficulty was that there were stacks and stacks of clothes on the counter and much of it I couldn’t figure out whose it was nor if they still wanted it. This was perhaps the worst laundry room torture of all.

Finally I had the time to clean the room but couldn’t bring myself to get rid of the clothes. I’m serious. It was torture.

Weeks ago I began the last, and hopefully final, odyssey into the laundry room. All much children were at least in close proximity to the house so I could ask them to go through the clothes to decide what was theirs and what was wanted.

This was a pretty big failure as not one of them cared about me and my need to have a laundry room that didn’t qualify for an episode of Hoarders (a truly disturbing reality show that should be banned, or at least cleaned out).

laundry-pileI abandoned my effort out of frustration and, let’s be honest, disinterest, and went to the beach for a month instead. Going to the beach is more fun than cleaning out my laundry room.

We’ve been back for a couple of weeks and the half filled bags for Goodwill taunted me and goaded me into finally taking the plunge and getting rid of the detritus that haunts my laundry room. Today I took 6 bags to be donated and my laundry room, while not magazine ready, is clean and organized with nary a stray sock to be found.

It’s taken me 25+ years to get my laundry room clean. Twenty-five long years. But I suppose the only thing I regret in those 25 years is all the anxiety it caused me. You see, if I am judged only by the content of my character, no one gives a damn about the cleanliness of my laundry room.

We worry too much about things that don’t matter. We wonder about “worthiness” and our value in this world. The fact that we even exist is nothing short of miraculous. We are all on our paths and our value is inherent.

It feels good to have a project completed. Hopefully for the last time. But it feels good to know that it never really mattered, that it’s all just a part of the journey.

Yes. Yes I did wear feathers to school. Didn't you?

Your Life Sucks? Let The Season Change You

There is a certain angle to the sun as we head into the late days of August that never fails to remind me of walking to school. Freshly tanned by the summer sun and uncomfortable in more appropriate attire, we doggedly trudged to class with virgin notebooks, pens brimming with ink.

I loved that time of year. I hated that time of year.

It’s been many years since I trudged anywhere. If I go somewhere I’m unsure of at this point in my life, I march, in a doggedly determined way not yet mastered by my younger self.

Long gone are my school days, and yet the slant of the sun carries me back. Rather than feel wistful and all achy and stuff, what I feel now is inspired to movement. If we are to live all the days of our lives, we simply must move. .

We need growth, movement, to do things that are hard and new and scary and demanding (And what’s more difficult than vacating the public pool for the public school?). I love fall with her cool mornings and sparkling afternoons because she demands change as she begins closing up shop for the coming winter.

For the most part, no one requires attendance or homework from me these days. I choose my schedule and attend no formal classroom. Even so, I am called to create a more demanding schedule, by the sun slanting just so. I am reminded of standing in front of Tina Williams house, waiting to walk to school with my friend. Waiting to start a fresh, new season.

I remember the days when my brain was awakening from its summer slumber and I am excited by the idea of cool days and dedicated teachers inciting me to learn and grow.

Each of the seasons seems to demand something different from us, and Autumn, to my way of thinking, bids us go inside and make something of ourselves, all the while changing her gown to something a little more formal.

I’m in the mood to go school clothes shopping. Who’s with me?

volunteer or weed

In Defense of Weed(s)

Many years ago when Mr Dreamboat and I were just starting off on the wild ride that would be our life together, we bought our very first home. It was a tiny and lovely nestled on a sleepy street in Northeast Portland, Oregon.

There we brought home our very first Baby Boy Young. Perhaps because it is so many years in my past, the only memories I have of our first little cottage are illuminated with soothing yellow lights and somehow every memory seems tucked into a perfect summer evening. Sigh…

Though we lived in our home for only a year, it was there we became a family and there we learned many other lessons as well.

One of those lessons was about weeds.

The previous owner was a young man who had bought the house and fixed it up. A nice job

You wanted to talk about pot, didn't you?
You wanted to talk about pot, didn’t you?

he did of it too. The floors were stripped of old carpet and redone in a beautiful, old patina that felt cozy and grounded. The remaining carpets were new and fresh. The house was tiny but charming in every way. Well, if I’m being honest, the kitchen was achingly small and outdated, but beyond that it was entirely perfect.

Including the yard.

Both the front and back yards were nothing fancy but well kept and tidy. He was a meticulous guy and wanted to walk us through the whole property, small though it was, before we took complete ownership.

He talked about the floors, the fireplace and the basement. When we came to the plot he walked us about the little patch of grass and pointed out the decorative beds.

“These plants I brought back from some hikes I took in the gorge. They’ve done really well. These over here are volunteers. I don’t know what they are, but they’re pretty.”

For certain it was the first time I’d ever heard a plant referred to as a “volunteer”. And without a doubt it had never occurred to me that one might choose what one thought was beautiful and worthy of a garden based on nothing but preference.

Where were the experts? What did the books have to say about it? How can we possibly value something unless we’ve been told it’s valuable?

And so the light turned on.

Weeds are only weeds when we think of them as such. Beauty is to be found in every living thing, in every living circumstance. Sometimes, if we find we like something that until now we’ve thought of as a weed, it’s not a weed at all, it’s a volunteer.

Too often I am quick to label things.

This is “good”, and that is “bad” and these things have “value” while those don’t. It is in the labeling that I am committing the injustice. When I throw something out without critical thinking I may very well be getting rid of my very favorite flower in the garden of my life.

The volunteers that have popped up in my life have sometimes been quite ugly on the surface. Challenges I couldn’t have planned for and outcomes never imagined have thrown me for a loop and sent me running for the weed killer. Until I remember…

You are the expert of your own life. You decide what should thrive and what should die. Yet sometimes if you give things a chance to grow, occasionally that which was never valued before turns out to have the most magical powers.

Got some weeds in your garden? Let’s sort them out together.

Contact me at michelleatplay@gmail.com

old-woman

Who Can You Trust?

Once, plagued by the vague but persistent symptoms of my autoimmune “thing”, a doctor from whom I sought relief asked in a condescending tone, “Um,” insert one raised eyebrow tinged with contempt, “Are your symptoms occurring once a month, Mrs. Young?”

Because I didn’t have as much experience, rather than tell him to go to hell as would be my response today, I started to cry. This evoked far more frustration than sympathy from him. I left his office without help or comfort. Once a doctor even told me the symptoms about which I was visiting him were, “Not possible.”

Oh. Okay. Thanks for that.

That was many, many moons ago and I would not stand to be treated like that today. Also, I wouldn’t go to a doctor for the nebulous symptoms that to this day nag me onto the couch from time to time.

Because there was “No balm in Gilead…” as the scripture goes, I sauntered off into blood donationMichelle Land, clear this wasn’t a part of my normal monthly cycle but equally convinced that there was something out there that could ease my woes.

For more than 30 years I have been on a quest for wellness. Sometimes I’ve succumbed to the panaceas of the day ~ Note to self, if it’s direct sales and will cure ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING, including acne and diarrhea with exactly the monthly dose you are now obligated to purchase for the rest of your life, it’s probably voodoo. Too good to be true, almost without exception, is indeed, too good to be true.

While I may have tried a few foolhardy things in my day, the good people in the healing profession also tried to steer me away from time-honored methods as well. I had one doctor tell me to stay away from acupuncture at all costs. He was, incidentally, Asian.

While I wouldn’t say I’ve necessarily “healed” myself, most of the time I feel really good. My days on the couch are limited and from time to time I continue to dabble in energy healing and the occasional weird remedy.

You can’t blame a girl for trying.

I would love to tell you what you need to do to heal your particular bugaboo, but what I’ve learned is exactly contrary to that idea.

While the medical profession is to be consulted and respected, the missing link in our wellness plan is our willingness to listen to ourselves. My symptoms are my symptoms and you can’t tell me they’re not. What makes me feel better, like acupuncture, makes me feel better, regardless of being advised against it.

While there isn’t a miracle cure, a skinny pill or a panacea to cure all that ails us perhaps the “Balm in Gilead” arrives in the quiet moments we take, the deep breaths and listening and in finally trusting ourselves to listen and trust ourselves above all others.

Listen to the silence, feel the world go round, listen to the silence, feel the lack of sound…

flirt

I Am Shameless & You Should Be Too

I practice a weird sort of magical thinking. It’s kind of a belief system cum superstition a la religious practice. If you will.

Whether it stems from my own delightful form of mental illness or from the smorgasbord of my various interests, the “program” runs constantly in the back of my mind. My religious/philosophical/life coaching convictions can be summed up in four, simple words;

Flirt with The Universe.

Mercilessly.

To flirt with The Universe involves nothing more than a sassy attitude, a genuine smile and a belief that when we make ourselves available to the good things that inhabit life, they likely will come to us; somewhat like the phone number of a highly desirable partner, written on your hand while he looks meaningfully into your eyes.

Who doesn’t want The Universe to do that to them?

love hugTo Flirt with The Universe is to wake up every morning in possibility. It is to believe in real and meaningful connection and to consider that every interaction is possibly the most important one of your life.

To Flirt with Life requires a willingness to see the beauty that is inherently in every moment, whether that beauty is obvious or not.

Each day is another opportunity to start dating life.

While I may have deftly named my practice ~ if I do say so myself ~ if I’m being honest Mr Dreamboat has made this ideology his custom for many years. His every transaction is with an important person, every conversation matters. Regardless of whether he’s buying a soda or a piece of property, my Dreamboat is engaged with life, so life engages with him. That’s so hot.

When we Flirt with Life we believe in Possibility, we Hope for the Best and we pull our shoulders back like the pretty girl at a middle school dance. When we are certain the very best partner has his eye on us, he does, he will, we are, we win.

May we each put on out very best, brush our teeth (for The Universe loves good dental hygiene) and look to life like it has everything to give us, every day of our lives.

Because of course, it does.

you've got this

Get Out Of Bed! ~ A List Of Ten Morning Hacks

With the advent of my latest venture into what I like to think of as, “Finally Fit Forever” I am having the best time getting up in the mornings. By this, I mean that when the alarm clock goes off I neither feel like crying nor do I put the snooze on. I simply get out of bed and get going.

That’s a total win in my mind.

There’s a whole lot of clean eating and some really great workouts involved in my FFF program, but these things are not the only way to put a bit of pep into the morning.

I submit ten of them for your pondering:

1. Brian Tracy is a personal development guru. I listened to the Psychology Of Achievement often when Mr Dreamboat was away at Prisonyland. One of the things Brian espouses is that the way we get out of bed is a choice. If you have something to look forward to you don’t hit the snooze. In his 70’s inflected voice, Brian urges us to jump out of bed and say with all the energy you can, “I feel terrrrrriiiific!” Do that. It works. Even if you’re not feeling it.
2. Sure, it seems like a cheat, but I won’t deny caffeine is our friend sometimes. I prefer natural, Vitamin B type drinks, and of course the perfection that is the hemp milk latte.
3. Drinking a big glass of room temp water is a blessing to the digestive system. Do it before you’re an hour down the road and you’re starting your day out dehydrated.arise
4. Turns out my FFF program clued me into the idea that I have not been eating enough food. Breakfast was a green smoothie that had more spices in it than actual fuel for the day. Start out with some healthy proteins and find yourself better equipped to face down the dragon.
5. Speaking of facing dragons, one of the best ways to get your motor humming in the mornings is to pack at least one think you’re looking forward to into every day. It’s like putting a finger on the scale in your favor. Go to your favorite store, rent a movie, plan dessert. Just one tiny thing you’re looking forward to is enough to bring a smile to your face.
6. To that end, before you even get out of bed, take all your mental focus and pay attention to the many, many things you have to be grateful for. The warm bed you’ll be leaving soon, the hot water that will make up your shower and the vehicle that gets you on your way out the door. Just stay in gratitude for a few minutes before you get on with the business of the day.
7. Make your bed. This is a gift you are giving to your future self. It signifies the end of sleep and the beginning of the day. Then when you come back to your bed at night, you’ll think about the gift you created for yourself in the morning and thank Past You for your Present Gift. It’s weird. It works.
8. Listen to music that doesn’t necessarily match the mood you’re in, but music that matches the mood you want to be in. See…
9. A few yoga stretches, some sun salutations and the day looks a little brighter. Think of it as stretching out for the marathon that will be your day.
10. Almost more important than anything else is the way you talk to yourself. Starting the day out with a little, “You’ve got this!” and a few, “You’re beautiful”s is exactly the ticket to help you face the day.

Like, share, comment, tweet and then take all that good energy you’ve created and lay it on the world. And the world will thank you.

dirty laundry

A Little Complication Called Drugs

It is a peculiar characteristic of human beings that the moment we afford ourselves a bit of leisure we find ourselves on our sick beds. How many times has a vacation brought on the worst of infection or a most vicious cold virus?

And so it was after a very busy week followed by an even busier weekend, once my house was empty of all guests and obligations, I got sick. Deluged by all sorts of aches and pains, I availed myself of some pain medication that made me even sicker.

I’m definitely not the girl who understands prescription medication addiction. They just make me feel gross. I just don’t feel like I can get any sort of dependable addiction going with feeling gross. I’m not even willing to try.

I spent almost the entire day yesterday on the couch, un-showered and without motivation to move. I may or may not have eaten wasabi chips for dinner. That’s how serious the whole thing was.

How did we survive our little inconveniences without Netflix? I suppose we limped through a good virus with day-time

I remember... BOOKS!
I remember… BOOKS!

television but if you ask me that’s no way to live.

They know me so well at Netflix. I really feel like they truly care, know my tastes and just want me to be happy. And sedentary.

Midway through the day Netflix simply insisted I watch a British series called Death Comes To Pemberly. It was three hours of diversion and in a crunch ,with both a virus and a pain reliever hangover, three hours is a nice bit of time that can most certainly be spared.

By the time this illness-inflicted binge was coming to a close I was feeling a bit better. I even considered getting off the couch. All’s well that ends well as they say.

Even though I wouldn’t have chosen to feel ill, and even though there is certainly a part of me that considers the day an entire waste of time, our bodies know best. When they tell us in no uncertain terms it is time to lie down, it’s time. How much more efficient it would be if we would simply listen to them before it becomes an emergency?

Under the circumstances I have to consider it time well spent. I must believe that because I took the time yesterday, that today will be a healthier day. And at the very least, I will take wise words from the series and I will believe them with all my heart:

“We must look to the past only as it brings us pleasure, and to the future only as it brings us hope.”

That alone made the day worthwhile.

Like, share, comment, tweet and try the herb aisle for pain relievers. Fewer complications.

My Favorite Addiction

Technically I would have been considered a bit of an alcoholic by the time I was 16 or 17 years old. It wasn’t an every day occurrence, but I followed modern day logic to “go big or go home,” and if I did drink, and I did drink, I did it up big.

And then one day I stopped and never had another drink. It was that simple. That fast.

Because addictions run in my family I assumed I had an addictive personality, you know, apples not falling far from trees and all. But upon closer inspection, by all appearances, I seem to have escaped the pattern.

I do not brag when I tell you I may have my minor obsessions from time to time, but by and large those obsessions fade, never taking me all the way down the path of extremism.

That said, if I were addicted to a few things, I would choose or claim the following habits:

1. I know you think I’m a weirdy, and I really can’t argue with you, but I love me some nightly flossing. Can’t get enough of it. Sure, every once in a while I run out of floss and miss a night, but it makes me feel squidgy and I run to the store to fill my floss coffers as quick as you please. Sounds like an addiction if you ask me.
2. From time to time I’ve taken my exercise routine to excessive degrees. Addictive degrees. Today I live in a land of regular and satisfying physical activity. Too much is too much, but enough is an endorphin high. Don’t mind if I do.
3. I’m sure I’ll graduate to some other drink at any given moment, but at this juncture almost every morning you can find me with a hemp milk latte in my hand. Yes, hemp is related to marijuana. No, it does not give me a high, but I do believe it is made with the blood of the war gods.
4. Sure, I’ve been counseled not to get obsessive with it, and yes, I can see myself going overboard if I’m not careful, but meditation is SO DAMN COOL. Seriously. I love it so much. It makes everything better. Everything. Hemp milk lattes taste better when you regularly meditate. Everything does.
5. Audio books. I’m not sure if this makes me dumber or smarter because I’m listening and not actually reading them, but I love them. Right now I’m indulging in hours and hours of Deepak Chopra. Aaaahhh…
6. I have a water bottle I’ve managed to hold on to for, what? Six months? Maybe longer. I need it with me at all times. Constant water intake makes me feel good and healthy and every time I use the same bottle, I count it as one more time I didn’t dump on Mother Nature.
7. I’m over the Chic-O-Stick, I’m even past the onion ring and beyond Coke Zero, may they live on in peace, but a sweet potato? May we always be close and personal. I see no reason not to eat them for every meal. And I swear I can see better what with the vitamin A and all.
8. Poor, poor Mr Dreamboat. I make him tell me things he loves about me on a regular basis. Like this, “What are three thingsfavorite addiction you love about me today?” And he obliges lovingly. Patiently. I’m not sure if he’s filling a hole in my heart or it’s cute. Doesn’t matter. I ask. He obliges. We win.
9. This is me being painfully transparent, but, I often check my blog stats obsessively. I mean, if things are going a bit viral, I totally get a buzz from checking in and seeing how many times you’ve shared me on Facebook. That’s two needy addictions in a row…
10. I’m addicted to self-help books. Thus the relationship Deepak and I are developing. What? Don’t judge.

Like, share, comment, tweet and do tell, what’s your favorite addiction?