I am back! I ran away from home, as it were. I was so OVER everything — over-worked, over-committed, over-tired, over-whelmed, over-weight, completely overcome with responsibility. I needed a rest and I took it!
As far as I can see, this has been an excellent start of a new year.
January is Self-love month. And if it weren’t, I, Queen Mama Donna, would declare it so! So for the rest of the month I will focus on the ways that we can show love and support to ourselves.
There is only one person who is absolutely guaranteed to be with you loyally every day until you die. So you might as well live her! Will you join me in showering your Self with love starting right now?
On the first page of Even Cowgirls Get the Blues by Tom Robbins; his character calls in well to work. He maintains that he just feels too darn good to report for his job. That always struck me an excellent idea. Why waste a perfectly fabulous day in bed when you are feeling too poorly to enjoy it?
For years, I have maintained a Day in Bed ritual practice. There will simply come a day ?- never predicting which day — when I wake up knowing that today is my Day in Bed. I know with a deep knowing that if I don’t lie down, I will fall down, collapse under the strain.
I do not feel sick, mind you, just out of steam. In my mind, this is not a sick day, but rather, a Well Day, a day to devote to my own inner needs. Over time, I have learned not to fight this overwhelming laziness. I gladly give in and let go of my driven goals.
I get up long enough to make a cup of tea and bring it back to bed with me where I stay for the next 24 hours. Oh, I get up periodically to pee and drink and muster up something to eat, but after each brief foray, I return to bed to spend the day blissfully quiet and alone.
I read. I nap. I write a letter or list or two. I daydream. I read. I nap.
I luxuriate in doing nothing. I imagine myself to be Elizabeth Barrett Browning or Colette or some other fabulously romantic invalid writer propped up on pillows, her devoted dog or cat nestled in the covers at her feet. Or a privileged consumptive patient pampered in the sanitarium in Thomas Mann’s Magic Mountain, eating six cream-rich meals a day and lying down after each one of them.
But of course, thank all goodness, I am not an invalid; I am not even sick. And I intend to stay that way. These short periods of respite and regeneration work remarkably well to keep me cool, centered and balanced. And best of all, I rarely get ill.
This is not to say that I never lose my cool, center and balance. This dis-ease usually happens when I feel compelled to stick to some horrendous schedule — natural or self-imposed — where I work until I breakdown. Which is, I guess, why they call it a deadline.
The insidious sickness of the treadmill deadline syndrome is that I delude myself into believing that if I don’t do this thing, whatever it is, then no one can, or no one will, or I myself won’t do it later. In too many cases, my breakdown takes the form of a fall or other accident of some kind. I literally fall apart, which is my body’s undeniable way of reminding me to go to bed every once in awhile.
This year I pledge to sit down occasionally, to lie down more often, to spend as many healing Days in Bed as I need, so that I don’t have to fall down to get some rest.
Donna Henes is the author of The Queen of My Self: Stepping into Sovereignty in Midlife. She is the Midlife Midwife™ offering counseling and upbeat, practical and ceremonial guidance for individual women and groups who want to enjoy the fruits of an enriching, influential, purposeful, passionate, and powerful maturity. Consult the MIDLIFE MIDWIFE™
The Queen welcomes questions concerning all issues of interest to women in their mature years. Send your inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.