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Back to Basics

“The person who removes a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.” ~Chinese proverb

I am sitting here in the silence and darkness of a sleeping house. I hesitate before going to Google and typing in my descriptive words, a lengthy list.

What’s wrong with me? 

Surprises, not-surprises and revelations appear.

  • Hormonal Imbalance
  • Extra Sensitive Person
  • Seasonal Affective Disorder
  • ADD

My constellation of sensitivities is also the core of my strengths. I know that. I don’t begrudge it, it’s just that the list of challenges from this constellation is out of balance and I’m drowning in the weight of it. This gravitational pull in the down direction is something only I can fix. I like the idea of taking a pill or finding some easy way out some days, but I know this is not the answer. I dig deeper into the websites, searching for the root, as the darkness of our night-time house envelopes me. The glowing screen of my computer draws me in like a moth to flame. I lean forward and find commonality between the sites like a salve to my wounds. Their message distills to a simple mantra:

Sleep. Drink water. No sugar. Move your body.

Not meds. Not miracles.


My wise sister speaks of this often. She calls it Back to Basics. Simplicity in the basics can be the antidote to a crazy life.

I listen. It’s either that or be committed.

It is not hard to go to bed at 10 o’clock, really. What happens after that anyway? Facebook or TV. I’m too delirious to be doing any meaningful work. If anything I stay up just so I can have some peace and quiet time to myself, with no one needing anything from me. I try it. I go to bed at 10 o’clock four nights in a row and find that soon I want to go to bed at 10 o’clock. It calls to me. Not in a “should” voice, but a “you know you love it” voice. Lay your body down and with it your cares.

My son likes me to cuddle him at night. We like to whisper to each other our love and sweetness. We hold hands. Then he turns over and falls asleep. I lay there breathing, relaxing in the stillness and the dark. I listen to the even breathing of his sleep and of my older son’s clock radio softly playing those classic rock tunes that trigger memories from younger years. I know I now have a choice, computer or bed. I take their cue and let my relaxation be an invitation for sleep.

I put a pitcher on my counter and every morning I fill it with water. My goal is to empty it by the end of the day. The trouble is my family is now drinking from my pitcher, but that’s okay, they need water too. I’ll share.:) I bring water with me in my car, in a Vente size cup. It reminds me of being at the hospital after having a baby and they gave me these huge cups. They surely helped in the milk production; I’m guessing they will help me now too. No baby is depending on me now. I am choosing health.

No sugar? I have done this before but I’m not there now. Sugar is my drug. It has it’s own hold on me. The voice of the devil has a million ways to let me take just one bite. As any recovering addict knows, there is no such thing as just one. Sugar makes me crazy. Knowing this is helpful. Simply put, if I don’t want to be crazy, don’t eat sugar. Some days that works, some days it doesn’t.

I’ve heard if you want to get rid of a habit or problem, to crowd it out with more positive choices so you don’t really want it anymore. I hold this concept up as my candle of hope and I go to yoga.

Since my body seems to be complaining more these days I show myself compassion and go to the Therapeutic class. We go through the motions in a more supportive way but have great mental clearing. I go four days in a row, the next week three.  My mind has wide-open roads now, making space for the flow of amazing creativity. I keep a notebook in the car for my yoga wisdom. Like waking from a dream, I need to write it down immediately or it will dissolve into less than a memory, it’s treasure lost.

The clouds are parting.

As I lay in Shivasana, the final resting pose of my yoga class, I feel a scattering tickle sensation along the skin of my arms. I feel the beating of my heart.

I realize it doesn’t have to be hard. Change is about decision and intention. The effort or movement does not have to mean pushing a boulder. It can be as simple as slipping into a comfy bed at ten or caring for myself like a mother with a glass of water by my side. The gift of movement means choosing myself first.

Someone recently asked me what I was up to. Instead of talking about my business or my family, I said, “I’m taking care of myself.”


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