This is an instruction I hear a few times a week in my fitness routine. It’s a group class, and our instructors–especially one of them–when they lead the warm up say in one way or another, “Relax what you’re not using.”
I breathe as if for the first time when I hear it. I feel spoken to. I feel embarrassed because they are always talking to me even in a room of 30 people.
They’ve told me for a while that my trouble is in relaxing. Release your shoulders. A tight mouth does nothing for your power. A hard stare is not helping. These are things I need to keep hearing.
Focus on what I’m using. Conserve the rest for when their time comes. Breathe.
Photo Thanks by Julien Sister
I’m posting quotes as we go through the fuzzy zone of being new parents again in these next days. This quote comes from Gerald May (Simply Sane, 107):
Whatever is being held, one can ease one’s grip. In the midst of any situation, no matter how tense or pressing, it is possible to relax. First the body, just easing the muscles and allowing the limbs to become flexible. Then the mind, in the same way, relaxing. Not avoiding the tension of the moment, it is possible to relax into it. Deeply….Whenever a knot is found, it can be allowed to loosen and perhaps unravel completely. Never by picking at the knot itself, but rather by easing the tension upon it.
Photo Thanks to Kirsty TG
I’m posting quotes as we go through the fuzzy zone of being new parents again in these next days. This quote comes from Parker Palmer (Let Your Life Speak, 48):
One sign that I am violating my own nature in the name of nobility is a condition called burnout. Though usually regarded as the result of trying to give too much, burnout in my experience results from trying to give what I do not possess—the ultimate in giving too little! Burnout is a state of emptiness, to be sure, but it does not result from giving all I have: it merely reveals the nothingness from which I was trying to give in the first place…When the gift I give to the other is integral to my own nature, when it comes from a place of organic reality within me, it will renew itself—and me—even as I give it away.
I read these strategies over at the Crunk Feminist Collective, and while they’re especially written for Black women, I think all women and all men who love women and want to love women well should ingest them. We need to know how to live, how to address the stressors in our lives, how to stop pushing away our “needs and desires down until we can’t feel them anymore.”
I think mothers, fathers, and friends of mothers and fathers need to be aware these strategies for staying alive. I think of this list, and lists like them, as little love points for the people I care about. I think these are some of the ways we ought to push each other live and thrive and flourish.
Read the full post here. Because there’s a steeped personal introduction to the tips, a poem you really need to sip, a lot words I’ve left, and a few other things that are worth seeing over in the Collective.
- Take some time to/for yourself and be unapologetic about it. At least one hour a day should be yours.
- Say no! Be impolite. Say no (without an explanation/reason).
- Reject negativity. …we don’t have to take on other people’s baggage.
- Pay attention to your body. When your body speaks, listen! And do something about it.
- Have a bi-annual or annual check-up. While sometimes our family histories can be mysteries, it is important to know what hereditary diseases or ailments you may be at risk for.
- Do a regular inventory and purge anything toxic in your life. This includes people, relationships, thoughts, habits, and hobbies.
- Let people go. If someone fails to treat you like the queen you are…on to the next one.
- Don’t be a people pleaser. Living your life for yourself and not for other people makes a world of difference.
- Have a confidante. We should all have someone in our life we don’t have to “put on” for.
- Celebrate yourself and your accomplishments even if/when you have to do it (by/for) yourself. Don’t miss an opportunity to acknowledge all of what/who you are and where you come from.
- Take care of yourself mentally, physically and spiritually. Figure out how best to take care of yourself.
- Kick it, regularly, with your homegirls. This can be magic.
- Let people do things for you. When someone offers to do something for you, let them!
If I didn’t suggest this already, read the full post here.