When Life Serves You Cottonballs
I don’t eat elephants. But when I do…I eat them one bite at a time.
I had a dream when I was a kid that there were huge balls of cotton rolling through our woods towards our house. I knew they were evil cotton balls, so I grabbed my little sister’s hand and ran to tell our parents. Mom and Dad had sharp teeth and big black circles under their eyes, so clearly I had a few problems on my hands. I handled things myself by hiding my sister in the woods and making myself wake up.
The cotton balls are rolling towards me now. I have decisions to be weighed and made, a couple of cliffs to jump off. The clock is ticking, my hands are shaking. I am having vivid worry dreams about missing planes, trains, and automobiles. The cotton balls might be from my dreams, the things on my mind, the stuff that needs to get done are real, and I am a little stressed.
Although health issues dictate I should be calm, stress free, chillin’ in the sunshine and doing my favorite things, that has never been how I roll. My life has kept my nose to the grindstone. I’m not saying I didn’t choose the grindstone, but I must be skillful so that my plans unroll correctly and pop up like a tent without too many issues.
Here are a few tried and true ways I’d like to share to manage weeds and cottonballs when the only way through is through:
Remember the incredible power there is in breathing. Inhale deeply through the nose, hold your breath for 2 or three seconds, and exhale through the nose. Do that a few times. Stretch your arms up and out as if you just ran through a finish line, look at the sky. That little action has been proven to help clear out old stress hormones; cortisol and adrenalin. Cortisol is useful if you are getting chased by a tiger, but it’s hard to turn off. Run through that finish line and dump it.
Pet your cat. Pet your dog. Gaze into their calm eyes. They want you to be okay. The cat probably doesn’t care as much. But they both love you.
There is a fantastic little feature on the fitbit charge 2 that when you select it, will time off two whole minutes that you are off everyone’s clock. Two whole dreamy minutes. Use that feature often.
Take up the practice of meditation. Sit your a$$ down and be quiet.
Call your best bud and tell them you need to be reminded why they love you so much. If you don’t have that person, write a letter to yourself and say I LOVE YOU. Write a bunch of letters. Stalk yourself.
“Tap” through your doubts, fear, anxiety (see my earlier blog or google “tapping”).
Look in the mirror and say, “You look mah-velous!” Go ahead, do your best Billy Crystal.
Play hooky. Everyone needs some unscheduled surprise down time. Make a nice meal. Have a bath. Get under the covers for 30 minutes. Take a walk. Rent a movie. Drink some wine. Or not. I’m all for wine, but don’t forget that the rebound on too much booze is anxiety.
Write! Daily. Get that sh*t out. Lighten your load. I have worked more things out through a daily writing practice than I ever resolved in therapy. Not dinging therapy, but there is a lot of power to sitting down with a pen and talking about your deepest and darkest.
Take little bites. Anything, and I am here to tell you, absolutely anything is doable in little steps, little pieces. I remember when I first got diagnosed with cancer back in 2011. Back when I was a cancer baby, I had not yet gone stage 4. I was so frightened of the idea of the double mastectomy, but most of all, I was afraid of the chemo. I got connected with a childhood friend, Jodi Roth (God, I love Facebook) and she had also walked the cancer walk.
She said to me the words that gave me the strength and the courage to manage, she said “it is doable, there is nothing you won’t be able to manage. I promise.”
I will never forget those words, or her voice when she said it. It is doable. You can do anything in little pieces, little bites. We all can. Hey, and if you fall….just get up. Have a laugh and get up and go for it again.
Photo: Courtesy of Night of the Living Dead