If you wrote a post for this month’s check-in, I invite you to join the One Word party, share in Comments below, or reflect on your own–whatever works.
I’m just glad you’re here!
I’ve scrapped quite a few versions of this month’s check-in, because my mind just isn’t in it, to be honest, and my heart is full to capacity — for some of the same reasons yours might be…and, for some reasons of my own.
But something good did come of the month. And I hope something good came of yours:
As I said in my May 1 prompt, I started the month rather…agitated. Nothing serious. But nagging. And I shared because it happens to all of us. Unless you’re reaaallly enlightened, you, too, get bogged down by an occasional energy suck that, frankly? Doesn’t deserve you.
So I’ll share what helped me address the ‘negative drain,’ as I called it. The slow drip we’ve lived with the past 6 weeks. (An Air B’nB owner unfit for ‘host.’ Rude! Plus…mice. Numerous mice. No smoke detectors*. Ants. Lack of privacy. The list goes on. And on. Why didn’t we leave? We tried. Don’t ask… But! It’s over. By the time you read this, we’ll be on the road.)
May’s prompt was a direct response to the challenge our temp housing posed:
How can I use My One Word to swing the pendulum from negative to positive, nagging to nourishing?
I kept this page nearby and noted several different strategies over the course of the month — starting with humming.
I hummed a lot in May.
I hum a lot anyway, but I hummed noticeably more. My go-to’s are meditations put to song, which helps by way of distracting me and putting loving kindness out there. It’s triage more than solution…but the vibration is soothing.
Other attempts from my list : :
- Write it down to release it.
- Confront the energy vampire! Be honest (and calm). Listen. Repeat back what I’m hearing. (Note: This is very hard for me. But I did it. And wow! It felt good.)
- Get out! Change up the scenery! Change the cast of characters!
- Ask myself, Does [issue] really matter? (Remembering Curate ’21 last March.)
- Ask myself, What’s the worst that could happen?
- Ask myself, What about this bothers me so much? Why? If it persists (which it does, because that’s what drips do), keep asking. Keep asking. Follow the trail, like bread crumbs. What’s there?
- What would it look like to consider this person with compassion?
Oh, May. You were full of opportunity. Every darn day.
Of all the tactics I tried, nos. 2, 3, + 6 packed the biggest punch. In the interest of word count, I’ll only talk about no. 3, today:
Change of scenery is self-explanatory and always helpful. (Yet every. single. time. I end up asking, Why didn’t I think of this sooner? Even the smallest break from a toxic space can make a big difference.)
Cast of characters, too! One of the best ways to mix up my energy is engaging with people much older, or much younger, than myself. When I was little-little…like, before kindergarten…I’d tell my parents I was ‘going visiting,’ and I’d make my way up Watson Avenue to visit our neighbors, often with my dog, Rhoda, in tow. Mrs. Orlando gave her a bowl of milk and I’d read us a story out loud; a few doors up, Mrs. Louch gave me hard candy and we’d toss peanuts to her squirrels from our seats on the porch. It’d be hours before I went home. Or what felt like hours to me, at least.
Recently, I had lunch with a family friend who turned 89 this spring. We laughed, shared stories, toured her new building, and decided that if we were closer in seasons of life, we’d have made great roommates.
There was one moment among the many, though, that crystallized so much [of May] for me:
After sharing what she said were ‘…old stories I can’t do anything to change, so let’s forget about that…!’ we changed gears and looked at her outfit for an upcoming family wedding. She opened her closet and pushed aside hangers, saying, ‘I’ve got to go through all this one of these days. There’s so much in here that’s too big for me now — the door hardly shuts! And I don’t wear half of it. Terrible, isn’t it?
My mind was on the reason her clothes were too big…hoping that nothing is wrong…when she jammed the doors shut, swiped the air with her hands and said, Who cares, anyway! (Which made me laugh.) Then she showed me a fantastic chunky choker she bought on Etsy that she’s wearing to the wedding, instead of ‘the boring one’ her daughter-in-law sent with the outfit. (We laughed about that, too.)
At almost 90, Lois is right. (And so much about her reminds me of my Gram, who always put life in perspective for me.) The relatively little things…the FWP’s…the ‘shoulds’…Who cares, anyway?!
(Thing is, I know this! In my brain, I know what matters and what doesn’t! But — my lesser self takes over so darn easily that if I don’t pay attention? I’m like a dog with a bone.)
Maybe it’s Lois’s nature; maybe it’s 90 years’ talking. Whatever it is, she made a difference for me in the balance of our stay: Nothing about the house or the owner changed (and maybe it never will). But I changed. I dropped the bone. And I can still hear Lois laugh as she swatted the air.
Because there’s so much more to care about. So much more that deserves…and needs…our energy. Today and every day.
I know this isn’t a one + done. And it wasn’t the most fun prompt for me. But it is one I’m going to keep top of mind, because I know I’m prone to slow drips here and there…and if I can change how I engage over the course of the year, Engage will be One Word well spent!
* To the owner’s credit, she had smoke detectors installed the same day I inquired.
Such words of wisdom! I love the notion of changing the cast of characters. One of the cares groups I tried was for the bereaved. They did me no good, talking about being miserable. I suppose we had been sensible with my husband poorly for 12 years we planned together how each of us could get on alone. He was my best friend. He has been with me as I make a new life without my pal.
What a wonderful post! I like your humming strategy. When I had my first baby, one of the things that I noticed about our nurse is that she laughed at EVERYTHING! Every cry my baby made, every messy poop, she laughed and laughed through it all. So that’s one of my favorite strategies when I’m at the top of my game: I try to remember to laugh at whatever comes my way. It’s helped me through a lot of really difficult moments (when I remember!!).
I am nodding with the change of the cast of characters… gosh, that is such a good thing to do! (and I am almost always singing something… it is such a calming thing to do for my mind!)
But can I just YAY for being on the road! May your journey be so enjoyable and may the days ahead be ones that you won’t have to practice your coping strategies as often!
I love the mental image of little you walking down the road to visit with the neighbors! I can’t imagine a kid doing that today, sadly, but I do love the idea of changing one’s scenery by visiting with new people. I go for a change of scenery (meaning taking a walk), and even though it is part of my daily routine, it’s especially welcome when things are stressful or I’m worried about something.
wow, Carolyn – another wonderful testimony to the power of these words – and to talking face to face! (also, I need to try your #6 next month … maybe naming the thing that bothers me will help me let it go)