Hello my lovelies,
I heard Antony Robbins do a talk, years ago on Youtube about paying attention or paying with pain and at the time, I kinda understood the idea but hadn’t felt it in quite the capacity that I have recently.
You see, I have never really been the ‘stop and pay attention to my body’ kind of girl. I’m more the, ‘if Nelly Neighbour can work full time, have four kids under five, breastfeed until the early hours, have an immaculate home, look like a model, bake instagram worthy cherry pies, be a size zero and hit the gym 7 days a week’ then so can I! And I will push and push and push myself into exhaustion and wonder why I land up putting laundry liquid in the fabric softener section of the washing machine and burning the second oven pizza in a row all in a space of ten minutes and then dissolving into a mammoth flood of tears. You ignore your body and your needs and your brain literally goes into overdrive. The amgydala, like a guard dog comes out barking and snapping and when it can’t figure out if it needs to fight or take flight, the floods of overwhelm rush forth and completely swamp you with emotions.
You either pay attention or you pay with pain.
This simply means that every action has a reaction or consequence. We’ve all heard it, read it, reposted it and liked the reposted post about filling up your well or you can’t give anything to anyone else, yet so few of us listen. It seems so hard to take care of ourselves in the same way that we care for others. As Mums, we ignore our own basic needs for sleep, decent food, soul lifting pursuits and spirituality in the constant melee of wiping our kids snotty noses, doing the laundry, driving the kids to Brownie, getting a hot meal on the table, buying new socks in our lunch time instead of eating a decent meal and everything else that lands up on our to do lists. We ignore our bodies. We push through the headache, the body aches, the overwhelm, the cries of our over stimulated brains and other messages from our bodies because they seem inconsequential compared to our mammoth to do list screaming for our attention. We rush around completing tasks on our list and land up ignoring our spouses request for a hug, we’re too busy to play with our kids, we’re too wrapped up in doing, doing, doing to call our friends. Who gives a crap if we don’t do everything on our to do lists? Would the world cease to exist if we delegated some of our tasks? Would we create a tear in the space time continuum if we didn’t dust the skirting boards or hoover the car? Does Nelly Neighbour even care that we haven’t weeded the front verge? And if she does, do I care that she cares?!!
I’m not going to lie. In December, I was reaching the exhausted point. It had been an extremely tiring year as I had gone back to work full time but with Christmas looming, I had no time to take a rest. The silly season was demanding my time and energy and I promised myself I would take a break in the new year. I tried taking a day off and headed into a local town to try to find a quiet places to recuperate for a few hours but hadn’t counted on the fact that on the 31st of December, a lot of shops and the tiny little vintage tea place where I had envisioned ensconcing myself would be closed for the day. I landed up sitting in a very crowded Costa coffee, miles from home, eating a tastleless cardboard like toasted panini and trying to block out the screaming kid next to me while I tried to read my book. I could have sat in the damned Costa in my own damned town and saved myself the hour’s journey! I got home headachy and unfulfilled and headed out to a New Year’s party that I had to leave early because I felt so rubbish.
Fast forward a few months of pushing through day after day after day and I feel shattered. When I thought about it this weekend, I couldn’t remember the last time I meditated, or had an early night, or read in bed until I got sleepy instead of dragging myself to bed at 10 pm after doing the ironing or even had a proper lie in. Not this, ‘oooh I got up at 6:45 instead of 6:15 am malarky that masquerades as a lie in. It’s little wonder that I am paying with pain because I didn’t pay attention. I didn’t make myself a priority for a few short minutes every day. I thought I could get away with eating half a sandwich on the run and forgetting to take my vitamins. I thought I could get away with a few less hours of sleep a week and I thought I could get away with not going to the dentist regularly. You know where this kind of neglect has led me? To this exhausted and overwhelmed place where I have a damned cavity.
The funny thing is, I know full well that a few short minutes a day doing small things to nourish my body and mind make a huge difference. Just taking my vitamins, eating a decent breakfast, making myself a healthy packed lunch, listening to a podcast as I walk to work, making plans to meet friends or getting a good night’s sleep do wonders for my mind and body. And I don’t even have to do all of those things in one day. Regular meals make a huge difference to my energy levels and makes me less likely to snap at my spouse because I’m so hangry. Drinking enough water makes me less grumpy. It’s tiny things done consistently that make the biggest difference. Gretchen Rubin said, ‘What you do daily matters more than what you do once in a while,” and she is absolutely right. We encourage our families to look after themselves and even help them out with nutritious meals and seeing they get to bed on time. We MUST do the same for ourselves. To thrive, we MUST take care of ourselves.
Remember that and act like you matter because if you don’t pay attention, you pay with pain.
Right, I’m off for an early night.