Every day begins with an act of courage and hope: getting out of bed. ~Mason Cooley
When I first read this quote it made me laugh.
Yes! I thought. Courage is definitely needed as winter begins to hint at its arrival.
As hope for a dry, crisp day replaces the hope of a warm, scented one.
As mornings become darker and colder, the changing seasons do that to you. They can make you want to hold the covers high around your body and squeeze your eyes tighter to stop the grey light from seeping in.
I wonder how many of you feel this way on a Monday morning. (Or Tuesday or Wednesday....)
Sleep is a quiet, contemplative space. A time where you can retreat inside of yourself, into your dreams and thoughts and nothingness.
You may have had the odd day like that. Or many in a row.
I have learned that when you live with chronic pain, emotional turmoil or serious illness as patient or caregiver, as parent or spouse - sleep is a balm,
and a break
from the unpredictable, relentlessness of the situation.
I have learned that as a spouse, parent and caregiver sleep is nurturing and restorative and something that is yours alone. (Unless you have a newborn or sneaky 2 yr old).
And lack of it is detrimental to your mind, body and soul.
In these cases I think it truly takes courage and hope to get out of bed and face another day.
It takes tremendous reserves of energy, when previous days have been measured in
the volume of tears,
the number on the pain scale,
The quantity of pills swallowed,
multiple doctors' or therapy visits
or phone calls.
When previous days have felt like you have been dragging yourself through treacle, or quicksand then each day seems to present itself in the same gloom, over and over. It becomes something you expect.
If each day's focus has become a monitoring of pain of some kind, how do you register that there is less of it or none at all?
When you or your loved one is pain-free even for a few minutes:-Do you mark those days?
Do you take note and write them down?
Do you stop and marvel at the fact that that minute, or that hour or even that whole day was a good one?
It is not easy to pull yourself out of the waiting, fighting, recovering mode that a chronic situation can put you in.
But I for one am trying.
Because I've realized that I want to remember the good moments, I want to go to sleep more peacefully and I want to wake up with courage and hope for the new day ahead......
If you do too, here are 5 ideas I am working on and you can try.
At night in bed just before you go to sleep, in your head, list the people in your life you are thankful for from the day that has just past. My list might include the plumber who fixed my leaky sink. My son's pediatrician who responded quickly to a phone call I had made to him and my youngest son who made me laugh ( again) with his sweet jokes.
In the morning I try to set an intention for the day. As I open my eyes, before anyone can change my mind, I set out my goal. I say to myself "Today is a good day."
As the day goes on, even if it is a tough one and believe me, just 5 minutes into it, I can be seriously challenged try to find a moment that feels good to you -
I try to notice the sunlight streaming through the branches, the comforting buzz of a coffee shop as I write, or an email from an old friend. So that I can say "This is a good moment!" or a marvelous minute or a happy hour.........
Sometimes it has been really hard to find that 'good' moment.
But if/when it occurs I want to remember it happened. If we don't forget the tough ones, we need to balance them and take a snapshot of the rosier times!
I am slowly learning to say "Let it go!" when I can't do it all. And then remember not to perseverate over it.
So even when I know a friend could do with some extra support, the school needs volunteers or I should invite my neighbors over for lunch, when I feel that 'trailing through treacle' feeling coming on, I give myself permission to let it go. Really. LET IT GO
Create a soothing morning ritual and stick with it to carry you from the comfort of your bed to the first challenge of the day.
No way am I getting out of bed if we've finished the teabags... so I always make sure we have a good stock of strong British tea. And even if it is for 2 minutes, Jonny and I sit together and sip that cuppa, before the morning mayhem begins.
These are all a work in progress.
What gives you courage and hope each day?
How do you mark the good moments in the tough times?
Leave me a comment with your thoughts.
Wishing you many hopeful moments this week and the courage to recognize them. :-)
Thank you to my dear friend N for inspiring this post.
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