When one’s spirits are not high, it is a wise thing to find and use resources to help lift the spirits. Some of those resources are perfectly healthy, and some are rather vice-ish.
Lately, I’ve been sitting with the fact that I have used self-indulgence as a coping strategy. It’s been fine, except that now I’m left with some side-effects, and I am not so fine with that. In surviving, I was not wanting to create another set of problems for myself. Now I am thinking that tapping too often in to vices is unwise, and something I will avoid in the future.
It is not necessary to make broad, dramatic statements about what I will or won’t do to cope from here on out. I think I would rather mentally divide my resources in to healthy/unhealthy categories and then think in terms of how often I would like to engage in healthy coping, and how often I/my personality can tolerate some indulgence.
Overdone indulgence left me feeling rather fat and dull. For the last two weeks, I have been working my way out of fat dullness. I feel lighter, my brain feels sharper, and I noticed that I have been not only laughing more often but creating humor within myself far more easily than I was during my age of indulgence.
There is room in life for debauchery. A hint of it can make life rich, but more than that can just make a person who appreciates discipline feel crummy inside. It’s not about guilt; it’s about moving farther away from who one wants to be. And that is not a good feeling.
Walking away from the artificial apathy that is created by habitual self-spoiling, however, IS a good feeling.
I love hot showers. Taking them is one of my favorite parts of the day. In the shower this morning I was thinking about a rather odd work meeting I had yesterday. So involved was I in thought that I really didn’t know whether or not I had already washed my face. Thoughts can become pleasure robbers. Instead of paying attention to the glorious sensation of hot water on my skin and the light aroma of lavender hovering around me (which told me that my body was clean, thank you.), I was mentally REattending a work meeting?? That is not enjoying life. Washing my face for possibly the second time, I REreminded myself to pay attention to pleasure.
Since the bathroom was steamy, I stepped out of the shower and vigorously waved my towel toward the window to shoo out some of the moisture. *tweak* I felt that sensation in my neck that has historically preceded a few days of neck pain and neanderthal posture. Over the course of the following hour, I indeed felt myself undergo a devolutionary process. Before I become a primate or a tadpole or something, I am writing these words about pleasure- even when there is pain. The lesson about paying attention to pleasure was so fresh in my mind that I couldn’t help reveling in how good it felt to lie down with the heating pad under my neck. And it was good to notice feeling good.
It’s up to us to highlight those moments of positivity, and to be flexible enough to shift our definitions of what it means to feel good from day to day. If I had known yesterday that today I would have to spend a substantial amount of time on the couch due to a sore neck, I might have felt sorry for my future self. Today, I am happy to have a couch, a heating pad, and time to use both.