Not on purpose. Just on. Inside out. Did I notice it when I saw my first four clients? When I went out to pick up a Chai? When the barista told me how much she really, really, liked my cute blouse? When I saw my next few clients? No. I noticed a design detail I hadn't noticed before while I was sitting at a red light on the way home to have dinner. Huh! Raw unfinished seams, I never noticed that before. Wait! Where are the buttons? The pockets? Ugh! Inside out. All day long. Maybe nobody noticed. I reach back and there it is, the great big white tag hanging out. So, here it is, therapists are just as human as anybody else. Particularly me. But, wait! I spend my whole day coaching folks in ways to be present with their feelings, present with their bodies, how to cut through the noise of anxiety and be present with others. Awake. You know, awake enough to know when they are showing up in the world with their stuff hanging out.
That's just the way it is. My first thought is, "I wonder if anyone noticed?" "How distracting was it?" And I was fatigued enough to have my guard down a bit and go all the way to a flash of "How can I help people be awake in life If I'm not awake enough to dress myself in the morning?" I looked at the shirt and noticed it looked exactly the same, wrong side out as right side out, except for the rough seams everywhere(!), and the missing pockets and buttons. Amazingly enough, the button panel lay nice and flat. The whole thing was kind of funny, including my thoughts that an inside out shirt somehow had anything to say about how fit I was as a therapist--I'm just another human having a human experience. By the time the light changed, I'd taken a picture of the sleeve, I knew I'd be blogging about it, and I was chuckling on the way home.
There are a couple of ways I love myself up over the course of the day. One, is I try and start with a few minutes of meditation. Two, I eat breakfast, even if it means eating it in the car. Yesterday, it was steel-cut oatmeal, dried cranberries, pepitas, almonds, chia seed, and a drizzle of maple syrup. In the car. It's probably not smart, but it is doable and it's yummy no matter where I eat it. But what really filled me up wasn't the oatmeal or the hot steamed Turmeric Tea, it was taking a few moments to fuss over my ever-evolving container garden on the way out. This is a little ritual that involves saying hello to all the pots and plants, checking to see who's changed over night (because things do change, just that fast), watering the plants, misting the seed pots, harvesting some lettuce for my next meal, rinsing it and bagging it, and setting it in the fridge to crisp. I startled away a little brown wren on my way out the door, who had been picking in my recently (and too early) sown eggplant pot. There was ample evidence she had also dug through the parsley pots, the arugula, and the catnip. "Damn! I might have to start seeds inside this year, after all." I love my garden. I mean I LOVE my garden. And I always have, (although I haven't always given myself one). It soothes my heart, gets me through rough times, and nourishes me in ways much deeper and broader than landing on my plate and allowing me to eat greens and veggies that were literally growing and alive just minutes ago. It's one of my passions and a major source of love in my life.
Anxious Folk, like other folk, are going to heal through love. That's the primary healing agent on the planet. Likely on any planet. So, loving yourself up is going to include a couple of things. Love yourself up by being in relationships with loving, safe people. Love yourself up by nourishing yourself through your passions. Feed yourself with some kind of Stillness Practice (like meditation). Get some kind of therapeutic support if you can. And most importantly, compassion. Be careful how you to talk to yourself. Not only are you listening, but your body is listening as well. And that anxious upset body is a huge machine driving your anxious thoughts. Or your feelings of deep well-being.
LOVING YOURSELF THROUGH EVERY DAY IS YOUR HEALING PATH.
Yeah, it's a good day when I arrive at work with my shirt right side out. So, you know, about 99.99% of my days start off well. But it's also a great day when I arrive with my shirt inside out and find it an opportunity to practice self-love and self-compassion, and experience it as a source of gentle humor and creativity. Any day's a good day, if I'm reminding myself that's true.