Wednesday, April 25, 2012

heal thyself

(I promise the raw, honest, I-didn't-know-anyone-else-experienced-these-things-and-I'm-glad-we-can-talk-about-it posts are coming soon.  In the mean time.  This.)

To varying degrees we all experience pain daily--physical and emotional.  Some of it is temporary and some is ongoing, providing us with daily battles and struggles.  Healing is a PROCESS and takes time.  (Maybe in one way or another, a lifetime?) Yet, there are choices we can make day to day, even right now, to help.

What's one simple choice?  Chances are, you are a busy person.  You have places to go, deadlines to meet, people to love, things to write down, obligations to keep, appointments to make, projects to fund, and probably a bed to make.

I know.  Nevertheless.  Go outside.  Shut the lap top, turn off the computer, leave your phone at home and go outside.

Maybe you aren't like me, but maybe you are.  Maybe, like me, you have found yourself in bed, hunched over your laptop, after far too many minutes (hours?) cruising the interwebs, compulsively typing fac... into the url space which fills in facebook for you, so you can look for any red little notification number to see if you've received online validation for your existence.  Maybe, like me, you have found yourself looking at your old crush's now ex-girlfriend who is currently married to someone else and asking yourself questions like "How does her stomach look so flat after two kids?  Why don't I have two kids to justify my belly?  Why am I not married?  Look at her.  She's got it all.  Her blog has almost 100 subscriptions.  She's got her MASTERS?  I BARELY scraped by with a B.A.  Looks like she's been in a few plays as well.  Why didn't I ever try out for any shows at BYU?  Because you suuuuuuck, Dana.  That's why.  I have so many regrets.  Oh hell.  She started an orphanage in INDIA.  WHY AM I NOT SAVING ORPHANS IN INDIA???"

ahem.

And it is frequently after such moments that I verbally say "Dana.  Stop.  Back away from the computer screen."  I flip my lap top down and leave the bedroom.  I walk straight to the front door put on my shoes and get out.  It doesn't really matter where to.

So.  Get out.

Facebook serves some convenient purposes and heaven knows I have no intention of deleting my account.  It also fosters a creepily complex network of comparing yourself, your body, your achievements, your family, your job, your talents, your days, your VERY LIFE to others in a way that is skewed and detrimental to your self esteem.  When I spend longer than a certain amount of time on facebook, or when I scroll through the newsfeed in a certain mindset, part of me dies inside and can take hours, even days to revive.

Save yourself the trauma and just shut the laptop, wherever you are.  Go outside.

I went outside today.  I ran in Finch Arboretum--65 acres of beautiful tree covered land along Garden Springs Creek in the southwest part of Spokane.  I ran on the designated trails and I ran through bushes and shrubs under trees.  I stretched under the cherry blossoms.  They aren't indigenous to this part of the country, but I'm just glad they're here.  I put my nose in the blossoms to smell and the little pink petals stick to my sweaty face.  They are so intricate and perfect just the way they are.  I wouldn't change a thing about them.  I'm in the Arboretum with so many different smells and tastes and sights.  I am there to experience each tree, the smell of spring and pine, the sunshine on my gold hair.  I weep under the cherry blossoms.  It is good to have a body and to be alive.  It is good to be living.

Experience outside however works for you.  So you can't run (yet)?  Walk.  So you want to run but can only do so very slowly and not for very long?  Run very very slowly and very gently.  So you live in concrete? Use your internet to find someplace green and go there.  I lived in Jersey City (just south of Union City) for about 7 months.  Believe me, you can't get much more concrete than that.  Yet, I remember playing Frisbee in a grassy park along the river surrounded by trees in Hoboken.  I remember my morning runs in the park near the cliffs of Jersey City, stretching in the gazebo while the sun rose over the Hudson.  I ran very slow those days and for not a very long time.  It didn't matter.

If this post moves you to get outside, come back and share your experience here if you like--where you went, what you did, what you thought about, what you learned.

Your existance is valuable and your body is fine.  You have reasons to live and love.  WHEN you forget these things (as I do so, so often) get outside.  Let the God of Nature remind you of what you know, and teach you things you never knew.


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