Being unavailable for a little while regularly is another of my routine practices of self care these days. So today at about 4pm after a busy day I turned the phone off and put it in another room. I left my little computer work room and snuggled down for a super extended evening on my own just with the enjoyable company of myself and the dog. Happy to be just quiet for a while.
I cranked up the heating for extra cosiness, put on some nice lighting, got a cup of my favourite Darjeeling tea and headed for the sofa and remained there for about 6 hours (other than further cups of tea and loo visits). Yes, 6 hours of totally and completely relaxing. Marvellous.
Sometimes I want to just be alone, without the expectations of the world out there, prepared to just be comfortable and warm, even a bit bored, with nothing in particular to do and nowhere to go. Just a little nurturing space and quiet, recovery time. It feels a little like stopping the world and getting off for a while. Permission to relax and just be, maybe read and watch a few things, and just enjoy being with myself.
Up until a few years ago I would not have ever switched my phone off, it didnt even occur that it was okay to do that. I was the kind of person who would jump up and practically run to the phone. Nowadays my phone is barely ever on. I have it on vibrate and so I see who is calling and decide if I want to answer. I don’t like the alerting sound of the phone ringing. I reckon whoever it is will either leave a message or call back if they really want to get a hold of me.
Having started to learn to embrace myself with a greater degree of warm self compassion now, means I enjoy being alone more than I used to. I am not running away from my feelings automatically any more, and they don’t frighten me as much. I let the comings and goings of the feelings and thoughts happen, and during my evening I experienced a variety of feelings, some joy, some sadness, and some anxiety when I remembered the client who is angry with me. When these feelings are experienced in a more relaxed state I get to train myself to respond with care and with less reactiveness. I need regular very low stress times to learn to experience the spaces between the thoughts and strengthen the new neural pathways of self compassion. In the precious and often fleeting space between thoughts pure awareness is experienced. And I remember that is the backdrop to everything, it all comes and goes within it.
I know it is wise not to develop a thought that occurs into a long story in my head now, so in this quiet space I just noticed the thought. I accept it. I accept the client is angry with me. I feel the twinge of uneasiness and anxiety, I don’t like people being angry with me or making mistakes. I turn some warmth towards the feeling and to my being for experiencing this bit of suffering. I feel compassion for her, and for me. I messed up a bit with her job, and I forgive myself. I let the thought go while I hold myself in care. I am okay, everything’s okay.
And it is okay, even though that threat detection scanner is ever on the lookout for trouble and never really completely agrees that everything is okay. In fact even saying that evokes a response from my threat detection system, as it doesn’t like me relaxing into okayness. It thinks it is dangerous to do that, I might miss some danger lurking around! And yet, I can rest with that too. Anxiety arrives, rest with it. Anger arises, rest with it. Sadness bubbles up, rest with it. Joy emerges, rest with it. Like a river flowing, no need to block anything.