Asking Questions as a Practice of Self Care
How do I write about the bad things that happen? How do I write about sad things and not relive them? Instead, being able to process them and reflect on them, to take those nuggets of wisdom from the experience and move forward better for having lived through it.
I once tried morning pages, the practice in the book The Artist’s Way where you write 3 pages every morning dumping everything out of your mind and onto the page. I found I would write over and over each day about the things that were bothering me. As I did this practice each morning, I found that they got bigger and bigger in my mind, filling more and more of my thoughts each day. Because I was paying attention to them, I was feeding these thoughts my attention and they were demanding more and more of it. After about three weeks of this practice of morning pages, I found myself depressed in a way that I don’t naturally ever get, so I stopped.
In the last year and a half, I have found it to be a delicate balance to write about the hard or the sad things that have happened, to write about them in a way that allows me to process them and to learn from them without diving back into the emotion of them and continuing to relive them. It is a practice of awareness to ensure that I am processing and learning rather than reliving and rehashing. Processing and learning allow me to move beyond them, heal and leave the experience in the past while taking the lessons into my future. If I get caught in reliving and rehashing, I can get stuck there, stuck in the emotion of the experience which isn’t helpful to me or anyone around me.
I have found this to be a very delicate balance over the course of the last year and a half as I have grieved the loss of my marriage and have tried to move beyond it, move into my new life. Because of this, at times, I have needed to turn away from my writing to avoid the reliving and rehashing. I have needed to turn away from letting the words flow onto the page so as not to feed the sadness my attention in a way that expands it but wait for a time when I can examine the experience with a bit of emotional distance, to examine it from a perspective that can find the wisdom in it, to be able to find my part in it, taking the lessons forward.
I have found that recognizing when I have needed to do this, needing to wait for a different perspective before writing has been a gift, in addition to the gift of giving myself permission to put my writing aside when I have needed to. Taking the power away from my inner taskmaster that loves nothing more than to tick that box at any cost.
This process has turned into yet another practice of self-care and self-love, a way for me to take care of myself. When I need to, I give myself permission to step away from my writing and my daily practice of Writing Wisdom. By becoming conscious of what I need to do to take care of myself in any moment, I have stepped back from many things and then picked them up when I felt ready again, this granting myself permission to take care of myself has been very important in my own process of healing and moving forward.
I have needed to name this process my self-care/self-love practice so my inner taskmaster doesn’t try to make it about me turning away from my passion or not seeing things through, it is crazy how that voice, at least the one in my head will not stop one second in its desire to tick a box even if it is punishing for me to do so. I have had to spend some time building awareness to recognize this voice and I am still not perfect at it.
My inner taskmaster is sly, she is always looking for a way to get me to tick something off the list, but I am learning to recognize this voice, recognize that its motivation isn’t about love or care, it is solely about productivity. It is not a voice that serves me 99% of the time, the voice that serves me all the time is that voice that questions, that voice that asks, “Are you taking care of you right now? Is this too tender to look at just yet? Is there any harm in setting this aside until later? Do you really feel up to this right now?”
Questions are saving my life, the power in the asking of them is what builds my awareness in any given moment and allows me to make my choices from a place of consciousness.
Therefore, the most powerful question that I have found to ask myself each day, several times a day is this, “Is this choice, the one I am inherently making in this moment, is it a conscious choice?” The power of asking this question brings my awareness into the present moment and reminds me to consider myself and my own care in the equation of any decision that I am making. I know without a doubt if I would have had this practice over the years my to-do list would have been miles shorter and the many, many things that I said “yes” to would have been a “no, thank you” instead.
Here are some questions for you to ponder:
- What are you saying yes to that if you considered taking care of you would be a no?
- Are you making all your choices consciously?
- Are you stopping when you need to, even if it is your passion?
- How do you take care of yourself?
I hope that you are taking care of yourself!
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