This has been a long and productive week for me as I adjust to getting back into the “school has started” routine. I’ve begun working on the list of Fall projects I have, which mostly consists of cleaning out drawers and closets. I have much yet to do, but it’s been a good start!
After a few chiropractic adjustments and a visit to my acupuncturist, my back, although still not 100% better, is improving each day (which I am very grateful for).
I’ve eased back into exercising, and I have resumed my weekly Pilates class. I took off this summer from doing any exercise outside of walking and running. My pilates trainer warned me that I shouldn’t do that and should continue to train during the summer. She said I could more easily hurt myself, but of course I didn’t listen…thus the back injury!! Live and Learn..right?
This week I also began my volunteer lunch duty at my youngest’s school. I enjoy working lunch because it keeps me connected to his life. I get to interact with his classmates and see how my son is doing on a social level. I also get that extra moment to talk with his teacher so I’m aware of how he is behaving in class too! I very much enjoy the other moms I volunteer with, and always get a good laugh from being with them. I’ve worked lunch duty for all my kids, so after 15 years spanning two different schools, I’m quite the lunch mom pro! How's this for a factoid? My lunch duty career is as long as my computer industry career was!
Now, for my shopping report! I am happy to say that I am following my goal to use my urge strikes tool app. I don’t know exactly what has kept me from caving in to my shopping urges. Could it be the pause and insight I get just from using the app? Or is it simply because I know I must avoid shopping for a bit for fear of the consequences that will occur if I do not?
After my post reflection on the swirling mix of emotions which led to my most recent shopping binge, I was left with the question:
“What now? “What do I do when I get an emotion that urges me to shop? If I don’t shop - what do I do instead?”
I expressed this dilemma to my therapist and she helped me find an answer. Although the answer surprised me, it made complete sense. First, it is important to try and seek out why you are having the urge to shop. Am I angry? Sad? Worried? What is it I am trying to fix or run away from? After that, I need to simply accept the mood I’m in, reminding myself that it is not permanent…it will pass. This is why taking a “shopping pause” can be so effective. If you wait, you give the emotions a chance to pass and then you likely will find you don’t really “have to have” that item you were about to purchase earlier. My therapist read me a poem about how we should welcome all the emotions that we feel, and also recognize that these emotions will come…and then go. The poem resonated with me so much that I couldn’t wait to share it.
The Guest House
By Jelaluddin Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
So next time I am feeling down on myself, irritable, lonely, or sad, I will think of this poem and in my mind I will invite the emotions in, maybe even have a little chat with them inside my head. I’ll remind myself that the emotion is just visiting and will be leaving soon enough.
On a last note, I am traveling this weekend to Tennessee, and needed to pack for a three day, mostly casual trip, with the possibility of a fancier dinner one night. The weather will be considerably warmer than it’s been in the Northeast and thats always tricky for me. I know they say you can wear white all year round now, but I don’t feel comfortable wearing a summer white dress in September. So should I pack a floral maxi or my above the knee sleeveless black dress? What if I get chilly at night? I’ll need a sweater or my denim jacket…or maybe both. Will I wear shorts during the day or should I just wear my yoga pants since I'll likely walk the beautiful mountain trails? I’ll pack both. Hmmm…if we don’t go to a fancy restaurant then I need a different dinner outfit…dark jeans and a black top with heels? What if we decide to eat in? I’ll need a more lounge around type outfit. This is the type of internal conversation that is streaming through my head as I try to determine what to put in my suitcase!
Next thing you know I could barely zip up my carryon bag. If only I could upgrade to my next size luggage without my husband getting aggravated…he was already starting to steam when I said I would be bringing a backpack too besides the carry-on bag. I honestly can’t defend myself. I know I am not going to use the five pairs of shoes I packed, or the four pairs of jeans, but I just don’t know right now which ones I won’t use!
I need choices because I am just never sure what I’ll need. And if I ask my husband he just says, "Hon, I don't care what you pack...just don't pack a lot". Very useful advice -duh. I know many women who can pack quickly, simply, and only include two pairs of shoes! I wish I could be that way, but I’m not.
Maybe if I just threw out all my clothes and started over, only buying clothing that is white or black. Everything would match and I’d only need two pair of shoes…white and black. Nope..that wouldn’t work either because I’d need black and white flats, and black and white heels, and then there are casual wedges and sneakers too. Oh, and my slippers - I always bring my slippers!
I was so upset with myself after packing that the next morning I decided to repack and try to do better. So I took everything out of my carry-on, sorted through it all, and decided to swap a few things out…and in. When I was done it was actually worse - I couldn't zip up the suitcase! Somehow I had managed to add more than I took out! At that point I really started to stress and was suddenly overcome with the worse hot flash that I had ever experienced! I just kept repeating to myself "this will pass..this will pass" as I began undressing down to my underwear in order to cool off. I realized then that there was no point stressing. Clearly I am both an over shopper and an over packer...so I just gave up on trying to trim down my suitcase contents. I am just not the “carry-on” type!!
I’d love to hear from you on what type of “packer” you are! Are you efficient, or are you also afflicted with the over packing syndrome? If you have any helpful packing tips please send them my way!