This afternoon a small group of kids played football in the street outside my house. That might not seem so strange, but it has been years since we’ve had kids this far down the block. In fact, I haven’t had kids outside a home of mine in so long, I felt like I was in a movie. I stood behind the blinds, peaking out, secretly wishing to join them.
Today is the beginning of Summer. This Summer feels like the ones I had when I was younger; there is a sense that something wonderful might happen. I have just graduated with my masters degree and been through the loss of a dear friend. So part of me is screaming to slow down while another part demands that I pay attention to my life. These two things seem to complement one another, thus the “something wonderful” feeling.
Each night when I turn on my side to greet the gates of dreamland, I find myself beginning my nocturnal journey with thoughts of what my slower, more mindful life might look like. It is a process I have begun calling dreamcasting. I dream on aspects of life with the intention of fleshing them out in my mind and heart so that they can ultimately be fleshed out in reality.
This process is perfect for Summer because inwardly it feels like a hot blazing ball of potential. My mind twirls with the gentle winds of intention, causing the fires of creativity to burst to life.
My dreamcastings have centered around deciding what to yes to in my life and what to say no to. Saying no is not easy for me. Like many women and many in the helping professions, I finding connecting with others meaningful and energizing. But recently, I have noticed that the majority of my time is spent connecting. Looks like I am getting too much of a good thing. So I am wrapping up some commitments and then, I am committing to myself.
I have been practicing saying yes to me in my mind by rehearsing saying no to some of the invitations I have had or foresee having in the future. As I go over the make-believe conversation in my imagination, I like to pay attention to the messages that float around in there with it. For example, you know that judge we each have that likes to tell us what we should do and how? Mine has really been challenging my decision to say yes to myself. In fact, I have noticed a double standard that surprised me. When someone else makes the decision to take care of themselves by saying no to me, my inner judge quickly honors their decision and proposes that I take up the slack. Being curious about the judge is one of the ways I have kept this part of me in check. I keep an eye on it without judging it, just noticing it.
So what am I saying yes to? Well, this week I am going to begin a Saying Yes to Me Self-Care Strategy. It will start with brainstorming a list of 50 things I have been putting off or denying myself while I have been in school. It will also include some of the ways I have practiced self-care these last three years while in school. I find this kind of list can be the perfect way to jump start a new phase of life.
If you find yourself craving the transformative potential of the Summer, feel free to join me by making your own Saying Yes to Me Self-Care Strategy. You are welcomed to share all or part of your list below. Who knows, we may inspire each other.
Until then, here is to the Summer of 2010!