Monday, May 17, 2010

Reminders, Retreats, and Reaffirmations

I have been writing lately about trying to figure out where I'm headed, and what I need to do to get there. I have been so focused on the material side (ie: getting a new job), that I have tended to neglect the more basic, psychological and spiritual side of my path.

A good friend of mine has been trying to do an at-home "retreat" lately, as she wrote about here. That gave me pause for thought.

A retreat.

What does that mean, exactly? From what or to what should I be withdrawing? What would be the purpose of such a thing?

And then I approached the word again. Not a "retreat", but a "re-treat." As in, treating myself. As in doing something just for me, not for anyone else. This is a very novel and difficult idea for me, I must say.

And I realized that even the things that I THOUGHT I was doing for myself, have actually become about other people somewhere along the way.

I tend to do that, unfortunately. I lose myself in giving to others, or taking care of them, or doing things to help them. And along the way, I stop paying attention to me.

So this weekend, I decided to do something about that.

I took a "re-treat."

On Saturday, I took a long, decadent nap with my husband and pets, neglecting the long list of chores and activities that I SHOULD have been doing. Saturday night, we went out for pizza and wings, and I ate until I felt I would burst. And I enjoyed every bite.

I picked up a novel and started reading just because I wanted to do it. I am reading Jules Verne's Mysterious Island - a wonderful tale, full of mystery and adventure.

And yesterday, I painted my nails, for the first time in almost a YEAR. I took my time, first filing and smoothing them, and carefully choosing a color (from the bag of about 40 bottles that I own), and then painting not just my toe nails (it is sandals time, after all) but also my fingernails.

Now THIS I see as truly decadent, since polish lasts less than a week on my hands before I have it chipped and messy. But that hour (or less, I wasn't counting) that I spent on myself yesterday had a marvelous effect. It made me feel pampered, beautiful, and important.

And I realized that my life has become a long list of chores that I perform for other people. Some chores are more enjoyable that others, of course, like the chore of feeding my husband (I love to cook), but they are chores none the less. They are expected and routine actions that I am forced to perform on a regular basis.

And I made a conscious decision to de-chore and re-treat my life. Starting with a long snuggle on the (unmade) bed with my kitten and puppy.

Oh, and the painted nails? I think they're staying.....

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