Self-Care Summer

In 2015 I did a couple months of daily self-care posts and they helped me keep awareness of how I am treating myself beyond those 30 day spurts. Lately I’ve noticed my self-care slipping a little and I know the next couple of months are going to be full of feelings so I’ve decided to embark on a new journey: #selfcaresummer #68daysofart.

I have a handful of lifestyle changes that I want to work on but decided it’s too much pressure to attempt all of them at once, so I’m going to stick with #selfcaresummer and #68daysofart as the theme. I really want to get back to painting, so I’ve decided to work on smaller (3.5” x 2.5”) pieces. I realized with my recent zentangle drawings that sometimes I get overwhelmed by how long they take, and they’re only 4” x 6”! I’m going to attempt to paint/draw one or work on another creative project each day for 68 days. Why 68? Because 30 isn't enough, 100 is intimidating, and 68 is a special jersey number.

At the end of last year, comedian and transformative speaker Kyle Cease did a 100 day self-connection experiment, where he meditated for 2 hours and posted a short video with his thoughts each day. It was fascinating to watch his inner journey unfold and I’m really inspired by his call for co-creators and listening to our hearts and making choices out of love, not fear. In April, Wentworth Miller did a #selfcare #carechronicle, posting daily what self-care looked like for him. Besides reading about his journey with depression, anxiety, body image, and suicidal thoughts, I really loved how he ended each post with “What did it [self-care] look like for you?” to encourage participation and sharing from others.

Day 1: Played softball illuminated by a beautiful sunset. #selfcareisntselfish

Day 2: Had a nice chat with some squirrels on my way to my car. Signed up for a sound healing journey event. ‪#‎selfcaresummer‬

Day 3: Sometimes self-care is doing things you've been putting off. Today I went to the DMV to renew my tabs, change my address, and correct information on my car's title. ‪#‎selfcaresummer‬

Day 4: Listened to my heart and had a day full of being present with people I care about. Started a painting but didn't finish it because I didn't have time, but decided that's okay. ‪#‎selfcaresummer‬ ‪#‎68daysofart‬

Day 5: Music, photography, acroyoga - these are a few of my favorite things. Never underestimate the power of spending time with people who bring out the best in you. ‪#‎selfcaresummer‬ ‪#‎68daysofart‬

Day 6: On the way back to my office I saw some guys playing catch with a football in the grass so I took off my flip flops and joined them for a 10 minute break in the sun. ‪#‎selfcaresummer‬ ‪#‎68daysofart‬

Day 7: Got a massage. Bodywork is a gift. ‪#‎selfcaresummer‬ ‪#‎68daysofart‬

Day 8: Recognized I was being too hard on myself and talked to a friend about it. ‪#‎selfcaresummer‬ ‪#‎68daysofart‬

Day 9: Finally did a sink full of dishes (I don't have a dishwasher so I try to clean dishes as I use them). Went for a nice sunset walk with friends and enjoyed seeing a ton of wildlife: a huge owl, lots of deer, squirrels, baby birds, a snake, and TONS of fireflies. It was a nice way to get out of my head for the evening. No time to paint today. ‪#‎selfcaresummer‬

Day 10: Forced myself to go to the gym. I never regret sweating. ‪#‎selfcaresummer‬ ‪#‎68daysofart‬

Day 11: Had my phone on silent most of the day and stayed busy enough that I didn't even have time to compulsively check Facebook. Wow, that felt good. No time for art today. ‪#‎selfcaresummer‬

Day 12: Got caught up on my gratitude jar post-it notes. It's only June and it's full! I might need a bigger jar. ‪#‎selfcaresummer‬ ‪#‎68daysofart‬

Day 13: Went outside at 2:02pm to listen to the 49 church bell chimes but did not engage in any of the discussions online. Sometimes I need a little distance to process. ‪#‎selfcaresummer‬

Day 14: After watching a webinar about dealing with people who push your buttons, I told a woman at work how much I appreciate her smiling and saying hi when she walks by. We had never had a conversation prior, but I told her about the person on the webinar who took it personally that someone in her office "ignores" her and doesn't talk much. As one of the quiet, introverted people on my floor I realize that me "ignoring" people can be taken the wrong way. I really like it when others initiate conversations and wanted her to know that. ‪#‎selfcaresummer‬

Random smiles: Seeing a woman carrying around 2 piglets while shopping. A guy rollerblading down the street with poles (cross-skating?) wearing a black kasa-type hat singing "Glory Days" really loudly.

Day 15: Stayed up too late last night so I let myself sleep in today. ‪#‎selfcaresummer‬

Day 16: Was a bit emo earlier in the day but making music with my good friend Ben helped bring me back to Earth. Didn't make time for drawing/painting today. ‪#‎selfcaresummer‬

Day 17: I'm strongly considering taking a little time off of facebook. Yesterday I worked too hard and didn't make enough time to breathe or work on art. I did eat an amazing salad for dinner though and got to learn about pendulum guidance. ‪#‎selfcaresummer‬

Days 18-20: Turned off notifications on my phone for a big chunk of time. Played lots of drums. ‪#‎selfcaresummer‬

Day 21: Used my lunch break to go for a walk and have a nice chat with a friend. ‪#‎selfcaresummer‬

Day 22: Watched some Jimmy Fallon videos on my lunch break. I haven't had a TV in a few years and rarely watch movies but the one thing I really miss is stuff that makes me laugh. I'm counting my pretty sunset pictures as my art for the day. ‪#‎selfcaresummer‬

Day 23: Stayed hydrated all day. This is something I consistently struggle with but I know how important it is for my body. ‪#‎selfcaresummer‬

Day 24: Went to a drum circle and got to hang out with some friends. Good vibrations. Oh and there was cake, in the kitchen! ‪#‎selfcaresummer‬

Day 25: Meditation group, a little acroyoga, and quality conversations with lots of good people. ♡ ‪#‎selfcaresummer‬

Day 26: Reminding myself to let go of the need to feel understood and to "play" more. ‪#‎selfcaresummer‬

Day 27: I got to drum at Grand Basin Yoga Forest Park this evening. Also did some brainstorming on how I could combine art, music, nature, and movement in a healing way to work with teens and young adults as a career. I know I can't handle large amounts of small children, but smaller groups might be okay. I don't think I want to go back to school for a master's degree. I might be okay with just being in that sort of environment without one on one working with kids. I also love photography and making things look pretty. There has to be a way to creatively combine some of those things. Hmmm . . . ‪#‎selfcaresummer‬

Day 28: Had a very serious sound healing rehearsal with Dianna Lucas, Pati Pellerito and Ben von Harz for the upcoming event on July 9 at the Fuller Dome. ‪#‎selfcaresummer‬

Day 29: Made the difficult decision to miss softball for the first time this season so I'd have an extra couple of hours to pack. I decided being well-rested and not as rushed tomorrow was the right thing to do. Art for the day is partially done. ‪#‎selfcaresummer‬

P.S. Since when does 80 degrees feel "cool"?! The air felt wonderful today. I'm going to freeze in Minnesota.

Day30.jpg

Day 30: Got to witness a magical sunset, double rainbow, and storm on my drive this evening. ‪#‎selfcaresummer‬

Day 31: Went on a little hike, visited the raptor center, AND donated a trunk full of stuff from my storage unit. Made a little music too. ‪#‎selfcaresummer‬ ‪#‎68daysofart‬

Day 32: Sunset on a boat. ‪#‎selfcaresummer‬ ‪#‎68daysofart‬

Day 33: Jog with my mom in the morning and fireworks on the boat at night. ‪#‎selfcaresummer‬ ‪#‎68daysofart‬

Day 34: Laughter therapy: Got to watch my brother do crazy things on the tube including lots of wipeouts. This picture is from yesterday; watching my grandpa take grilling orders is one of the cutest things. He's serious and silly about it at the same time. ‪#‎selfcaresummer‬

https://www.facebook.com/james.arnold.9843499/videos/843438272456061/

Day 35: Today self-care is accepting that I'm several days "behind" on Facebook and not attempting to catch up even though it makes me twitchy. I'm also behind on art but will start back up soon. ‪#‎selfcaresummer‬

Day 36: Today was packed full of self-care, including a nap. I really listened to myself and that felt good. ‪#‎selfcaresummer‬

Day 37: Had a nice night at home after wondering if I should be doing something social. Made a ton of progress on my collage book and started 2 little paintings. I needed the night of solitude. ‪#‎selfcaresummer‬ ‪#‎68daysofart‬

Day 38 & 39: No caption necessary. ‪#‎selfcaresummer‬

Day 40: Wow, what a beautiful day full of self-care ending with a magical evening of kirtan that was overflowing with love, hope, and healing. Every time I have the opportunity to make music I feel called to make it more often. Feeling so much gratitude today. ♡ ‪#‎selfcaresummer‬

Day 41: I'm starting to annoy myself with these self-care posts. They feel repetitive. Today I went to the 7am boxing class at the gym. Considering taking a break from these posts and spending more time making art. ‪#‎selfcaresummer‬

Day 42: Today self-care was tuning into my body and allowing myself to cry. "It's okay to let go." ‪#‎selfcaresummer‬

Day 43: Softball got rained out, so my self-care for the evening is cooking lunches for the next week. I was running out of options so I'm happy to have something healthy planned. This next week is extra important for me to not let my self-care slide. ‪#‎selfcaresummer‬ ‪#‎68daysofart‬

Day 44: AcroYoga and got to witness another miraculous sunset. Can't stop, won't stop. ‪#‎selfcaresummer‬

Day 45: Today I noticed that I was acting compulsively and decided to reach out to some trusted friends for support instead of isolating. I think the main reason I reached out was because I had recently seen this quote: “The opposite of addiction is not sobriety. The opposite of addiction is connection.” by Johann Hari. When I looked up that quote I found his TED talk and wanted to share it because, well, basically what most people think about addiction is wrong. People struggling with addiction don’t need ultimatums and confrontations, they need unconditional love and support.

We all need in person human connections, not just online connections. It’s interesting how meditating (connecting to your highest self) and connecting with others can seem like polar opposites, but are both helpful in getting us away from our ego. We are all connected.

http://www.ted.com/talks/johann_hari_everything_you_think_you_know_about_addiction_is_wrong#t-202527

July 18

I think one of our biggest and most important challenges in life is to learn how to be resilient in the face of adversity. Everyone experiences tragedy and loss in one way or another, so if we can't figure out how to bounce back, we will have a lot of unnecessary struggle ahead of us.

One year ago today, on his 35th birthday, Evan died by suicide. I had no idea how difficult it would be to navigate that type of loss. From the beginning, I knew that someday his life would probably end in that way, but in the weeks and months leading up to it I think I was a little in denial. I saw Evan on his birthday and I'll never forget our parting words: “Take care of yourself,” I told him after our goodbye kiss.

“That seems to be the chapter I keep missing,” he said sadly.

“It's a good one. It's worth re-reading.”

Until something happens in your life, you really don't know how you'll react. I wish we could all have less judgment about the actions of others. The world will never have too much compassion, love, and kindness.

No two people grieve in exactly the same way, and that's okay. I've been doing a lot of work with my grief and am getting better about allowing the waves of feelings to come and go. Today I was surprised to feel numb and emotionally detached from everyone.

I just want to say this:

Your feelings are valid. You are loved. You matter. Your life is worth living. If you feel isolated or alone, please reach out to someone, to anyone. If someone reaches out to you, try to listen and not attempt to “fix” anything.

Life is a precious gift. Find what brings you joy and do more of that. Tell people you care about and appreciate them often. Oh, and take care of yourself.

Day Whatever: I think I'm done with my ‪#‎selfcaresummer‬ posts. I don't want posting to feel like a chore. Late softball game meant I got to play under the gorgeous full moon and also got to see this beautiful moth on my building when I got home.