They say blood is thicker than water. I don’t know from water but I do know from wine, and blood is definitely thicker. I know it is a metaphor but it is also a science experiment waiting to happen, or a Sunday afternoon at my house. Which leads me to ritual, I love ritual; I find that developing rituals that will comfort and nurture me are key to self-soothing and tapping off some of my crazy.
One ritual I developed years ago is taking Sunday for me. I rarely will work, see friends or do anything social on a Sunday unless there is a Monday holiday. Then Sunday becomes a second Saturday and all hell breaks loose. Sundays I kayak, walk the beach, frequently I don’t even bother leaving my house. I do some yoga stretches, write, draw, putz, do laundry and just be. I don’t have a plan and move where I move, doing exactly what feels best. Sometimes that is a marathon of Breaking Bad or Nurse Jackie other times reading from 2 to 3 different library books, journaling and napping. It is a very busy day.
Moving from one thing to another with no plan, no expectations, no schedule is the antidote to my week, a week where I work three jobs and am scheduled to the minute, so I run flat out. I try to build walks, stretching and breathing on those days, but it is hap-hazard at best if anything gets checked off the to do list. I try to make time for a walk to get my lunch or a moment to step outside durning the day to breathe, but hell sometimes I don’t get to pee for hours and have toyed with the idea of Depends when I have 8 interviews and two meetings in a 9-hour-day.
I am in crunch time now so it is even worse than usual, but I am conscious of what rushing non-stop does to the trifecta of wellness: my mind, body and spirit. Rushing jams everything all up and makes me smaller and my needs seem inconvenient. “Oh you have wrenched your back? Take 15 Advil’s and try to keep up.” That is what the bitch in my head says, along with, “Don’t be such a baby walk it off!” My mind is never my friend here; it will always rationalize anything that moves me forward. My body is screaming, “Slow down, take a breath, pause just a fricken minute will ya?” All those things that make for better judgment, health and more peace.
The trick is to center myself so I am at the eye of the storm, not whirling around in the mess of pigs, pitchforks and feces. I can do it, and sometimes effortlessly. Those times I am not thinking of adding Depends to my shopping list because I have over-booked myself for whatever good reason my head has bossed me into. I have taken walks after work to decompress; I have started the day with 5 minutes of stretching on my yoga mat. I have mediated for 10 minutes. I have read something that makes me think, laugh or let go during my day. I have prepared for a good day instead of muscled through a bad one.
Late on Sundays I turn on some music, open some wine and start to cook. Sometimes there is dancing involved but I can neither confirm nor deny the presence of rhythm, grace or gravity. I cut up veggies and fruit for later in the week for snacks and meals. There is a whole lot of knife play, but the meditative quality I find in washing dishes and chopping things up is soothing and I can let my mind wander. I wind up enjoying a wonderful dinner and have food to freeze, which feeds me for the week.
As I said, I have been in crunch time for the last few weeks and my Sundays have helped immensely, but I needed more. I didn’t realize it at the time but I have been rushing about even in my home. I was walking into side tables and cutting my toes and slicing my fingers with everything from foil on bottles to kitchen knives. Small cuts were appearing on every digit. I was leaving little pieces of myself all-round the place. Talk about making myself smaller, this was not good!
The topper came on a Sunday night when I was in my routine of cooking dinner and slammed my finger in a drawer so hard I saw stars and got dizzy. It was very hot and I had a glass of white wine with a little ice in it on the counter, so I removed my finger from my mouth, where it went first after slamming, checked it for damage or cuts, and then plunged it into my chilled wine/ice mix. On a side note here: I generally do not put ice in wine but it was 106 degrees in my kitchen and watered down cheap white seemed like a more balanced way to go, hard to tell in hindsight though. My finger hurt like a son-of-a-bitch in the cold liquid so I pulled it out and ran it under cold water, but it was so hot out there was only tepid to be had out of the tap. I put it back into the wine/ice concoction again, and it throbbed. I looked at my poor damaged digit and saw that it had started to bleed along the nail. I got dizzier and looked down at the wine glass to find a small pool of thick red liquid at the bottom of the glass. I want the defense to show I only thought of drinking it for a nano-second before I sat down on the floor to breathe and let go wave of the nausea and dizzy. After that I was able to settle and find a good sized Hello Kitty band aid. I chucked my now blood twilight cocktail, refilled my glass with only wine, turned off the burners and sat down and stopped everything for the rest of the day. I was done.
I was still moving too fast and in my rushing hurt myself. I needed to settle. My life-long friend Charles tells me this constantly and is his mantra to me. “Settle”, started when I was learning Stand Up Paddleboard and then he moved it across my whole life. He had to… I rush, get excited, feel things deeply, over book, overdo, over think and rarely pause to breathe, sit and be. I was truncating myself, again. It sneaks up on me, I think I’m being productive, but mostly I am just rushing. I need to remember that I am not living fully if the scenery is a blur. The body, and the blood, settles to the bottom, it is heavier and more grounded than water, wine or work. I highly recommend not trying this at home kids. Please just take the short cut and take the wine directly to sofa, or a more languid pace in the kitchen, and skipping the twilight cocktail experiment. Ok folks let’s be careful out there!