In past musings, I’ve talked a bit about the importance of self-care and the need for it to be a conscious and intentional act. I’ve also encouraged you to stretch out and try new things in the hopes of being surprised at what fills your cup.
I’ve decided to take my own advice and explore a little. My goal was to expand my variety of self-nurturing and find a few new things to draw from in my times of need.
Years ago I would go to the gym with my sister. It was great because we knew each person was counting on the other so we couldn’t brush it off. We kept each other accountable. I can honestly say I felt and looked really good. I loved leg days and relished in my strength.
There have only been a couple of other times I’ve had an exercise partner and I just know it’s the best way for me to truly commit to a routine. A personal trainer seemed the best way to go and my husband found a place focused on specifically that.
I loved going in the beginning. My trainer switched up the exercises each time and she was impressed by my strength and flexibility. The thing was, knowing I’m physically capable and continually out-lifting my trainer made me wonder why I was putting my body through this. Sure, I carry a little extra weight and that’s just fine by me. I eat really healthy, I’m physically active, and my body does SO much for me. I decided to embrace how I am and add some simple planks and exercises here at home when inspired.
I feel immensely better knowing I’m loving myself and staying healthy without added stress and strain.
Searching for a new activity, to try floating came back into my orbit. I’ve heard about it and its benefits and been intrigued, yet never actually took the plunge. 😉
Basically, it’s a long narrow chamber with 10 inches of water and about 1,000 pounds of Epsom salts. Due to the high salt content, your body floats effortlessly in the 96.8º water. With the lights off, you’re weightless in a dark abyss.
I went to a place not far from my home and, to be honest, panicked a little when I looked into the float tank. Fears of drowning or being buried alive surfaced and I wondered if I’d be able to relax into the experience. While the jury is still out on whether I’ll go again, I’m proud to say I completed the entire 90 minutes and am still alive to tell the tale. No panic attacks to report!
My next experience was pottery. I love going to paint studios where you paint pieces and they fire them for you. I’ve also wondered about creating the pieces to paint. Is it as relaxing as it looks? Would I like to get the clay and mud all over my hands and fingers? Would I be able to create something “acceptable” or would I struggle and be frustrated at not succeeding immediately?
I lucked out and became reacquainted with an old friend. We were in a theater show together back in 2009-2010 and haven’t really been in contact since. Another friend told me he teaches pottery and suggested I get in contact, so I did.
It’s been amazing. The first thing he taught me was centering the clay on the wheel. Let me just say, I’m hooked.
I sincerely look forward to my lessons. I love sitting down at the wheel and running through those first five steps of creating a piece. The resisting clay, the movement of the wheel, the mud squishing through my fingers as I add more water to help with shaping. It’s really cool.
At my second lesson of throwing, I was having trouble getting the clay to center so I could work it properly. I was frustrated, annoyed, and pretty huffy with the situation…until I took a deep breath. An insight came. If I am not centered here in this moment, the clay will not center either.
So I paused.
I let my breath out and cleared my mind of all the external things I was carrying around. I let it all go and became present in that room with my clay. I got the wheel spinning, added a little water, closed my eyes, and then it was just me and the moment. My hands glided over the malleable lump and it acquiesced to my movements. I quickly had a cylinder and formed it easily into a mug-like shape ready for drying.
At my first lesson, he warned me not to get discouraged- that it often takes a lot of time and practice to get the hang of it. I had low expectations and continually reminded myself it was okay, and, if I didn’t like the outcome I could simply start over. No harm, no foul. I did not expect to enjoy it so much or to take to it so easily.
I’m delighted with my newfound expression of self-care. I’ll revel in it for a while and who knows…I may even get my own set up to play with. You never know what I’ll create.
Do you have any ideas on what you’d like to try?
Perhaps you have a suggestion for me. I’d love to hear what brings you joy and peace.
- What are you already doing for self-care, consciously or subconsciously?
- What is something you’ve seen and admired? Go out and try it!
- Self-care doesn’t have to be a grand gesture or totally unusual. What is a small thing you can intentionally do for yourself right now? Take a deep breath? Enjoy the sunset and breathe it in? Stop and smell a flower?