Of spring, cream puffs, self-compassion and freedom

source: tumblr
source: tumblr

I woke up this morning thinking it’s spring for God‘s sakes, and everyone is probably thinking that my last post had something to do with death and depressing stuff like that. It didn’t.

I should explain that “the journey” was not about life in general – only the bits on the road where we are challenged more than usual.

The “surrender” is not about merging into the spirit world but growing up beyond self-sabotage.

And the “release into joy” refers to living, dancing, and smiling in this world, feet on the ground, with one’s beloved held tight if possible. (also with great food, great wine and some sort of excellent puff pastry filled with delicious cream waiting on the table!)

Most people make New Year’s resolutions and start making changes come January 1st. I say spring is the time to start. Good riddance to sweaters, boots, coats and heaviness. Welcome self-tanners, pretty dresses, pink toenails and sparkly things. And flowers. Beautiful flowers.

But seriously, I’m rather pleased to have finally done something I’ve been telling others to do since forever. Instead of stressing over everything I have to do (and I have a LOT to do on a very urgent list), I settled for doing what I can. As for the rest…oh well.

And so….I purchased pre-made lasagna which is, at this very moment, baking in the oven. It’s not organic, but it’s handmade, so it will have to do. Hope the kids like it. If they don’t, they don’t.

I did not fold the laundry. I did not put all the dishes away or wash the pan from last night. I allowed the little one to eat not one, but two sugary doughnuts. I didn’t pay my phone bill.

And most importantly, I didn’t spend even a minute contemplating my inadequate housekeeping, parenting, and similar. I didn’t even chant any positive affirmations so as to boost self-esteem. I cuddled with the cats instead. And I didn’t notice the fingerprints or paw prints on the sliding doors in my room, or count how many weeks it’s been since I last washed them.

I know this might not seem like a biggie at first glance, but it is.

The universe approves, because I stumbled over some articles critical of our relentless, ambitious quest to build self-esteem and personal success on a rigid schedule, which, just as I always suspected, comes with nasty side effects. Unlike nurturing self-compassion, which is the way to go. I’m so done with trying to compete in the super-wonder-human-woman-enlightened-person olympics.

So…

Next week I’m not baking anything or volunteering for the school fair. I might not even take the kids!

Instead, we will wake up late, probably go to the movies, eat popcorn, drink a sugary soda and have a blast. I will not feel guilty about it.

I will also not feel guilty about the cream puffs waiting in the fridge (which I will savor later with chocolate sauce drizzled on top), or about the relative mess in the bathroom, or that I’m not the world’s best writer with a million Facebook likes and thousands of fans here.

It’s been a loooong winter. Lessons have been learned, struggles have been endured. It’s time to take a deep breath and say enough. Like most of you, I’ve earned the right to a break from so many rules and expectations. And I’m officially giving myself permission to take one.

I think it’s something we should all do or at least consider from time to time: practice self-compassion, indulge a little, stop counting stains and scratches, stop making schedules and lists, stop beating ourselves up with worry and guilt over what we didn’t manage to achieve.

I don’t mean being irresponsible, selfish or self-indulgent. I simply mean putting things in perspective, stop being so concerned about properly fencing the garden, and actually getting down to plant some flowers. And not with the intention of ending up on a magazine cover, but simply for the joy and pleasure of seeing something beautiful and real grow.

Just so we can enjoy the colors. So the kids will have what to pick and the dogs what to mess up. So we can have a nice view when we eat those cream puffs, and even when we eventually do pay the phone bill.

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