Forgive Yourself

I believe it is Wednesday. I’m fairly sure because the teenager keeps talking about taking the garbage out, and I had a chiropractor appointment this morning.

She and I talked a bit about the mental component of health and wellness.

My blog post yesterday reinforced it for me. The “do one more” mentality.

But at the same time—

No matter who you are:

  1. Forgive yourself when your house is dirty. Sometimes you don’t feel well; sometimes you are emotionally stripped; sometimes you are busy living life and enjoying the ephemeral moments.
  2. Forgive yourself when your values and what is important to you doesn’t line up with the rest of the world. Yes, I’m a crazy cat lady and I work in a warehouse even though I’ve had a professional career and lots of education.
  3. Forgive yourself when you can’t keep up. Yes, people want you to do things and people need you, but sometimes you can divide a project that you could do in one day over four days.
  4. Forgive yourself when you feel needy. Sometimes you have to ask for that hug or for help.
  5. Forgive yourself when you want to be alone. Don’t guilt yourself if you need rest or merely some quiet time.
  6. Forgive yourself if you aren’t where you want to be. Sometimes the journey goes unexpected places. Embrace it.

Blogging while exploring the June 2021 Silk & Sonder planner

My new Silk & Sonder planning arrived today (no wait, yesterday) after some mishaps with the postal service. To read more about that, Silk & Sonder’s marvelous customer service and my previous experience with the product, allow me to direct you here: Silk & Sonder posts.

I already did the boring stuff— the data transfer of dates already scheduled and associated what not like what Hello Fresh meals we still have coming. Now I will sit with the book for a while and interact with it while blogging my feelings. I received the May journal late in the month and used the time to experiment and test how I wanted to use the book so I feel ready to commit more fully.

So let’s open the book.

1. I find the space “if lost return to” a tad silly and makes me feel five. As in five years old.

2. Table of contents.

3. Editor’s letter. Let’s actually read it this month. Meha, the author of the letter, does a really great job articulating why June is a great month for this theme of “play.” She also has a great thought that addresses my fear of play. “Play can be nurtured in seemingly ordinary ways, but it’s up to us on how willing we are to open ourselves up to new characters, stories, and settings in the midst of our chaotic schedules.”

Play can be nurtured in seemingly ordinary ways, but it’s up to us on how willing we are to open ourselves.

Meha, Silk & Sonder creator

Calendar stuff…

4. May reflections: wins, hiccups, favorite moments, hard moments, changing habits… I feel like I can answer these now and my answers will help frame the month ahead.

And coupled with this… on the same two page spread is space for June intentions.

So let me fill this out and I’ll be pausing there for right now. Until next time…

Arrival of June Silk & Sonder and some silliness

Greetings my readers — apologies for the lackadaisical level of blogging but in addition to mandatory overtime at the Bizzy Hizzy my life has been a tad repetitive.

I ended a beautiful work week with hitting my QC quota not once but twice, learning that my favorite nurse is leaving to take a job in hospice, introducing my daughter to some of my Stitch Fix colleagues, finding out I have to get the Covid vaccine* and wear a special sticker in the warehouse if I want to work without a mask this summer, and binging on fried food and a Swedish fish milkshake at Sheetz.

The new Swedish Fish milkshake at Sheetz (my favorite junk food spot in the middle of the night — scrumptious jalapeño poppers and Wisconsin-style cheese curds) topped off my night although I was a little “drunk” on sugar when I got home and slept like garbage because of it. But the sweet flavor and the tiny gooey chunks were a lot of fun.

And to make life exciting, my replacement Silk & Sonder June journal arrived. The excellent customer service made right for the difficulties incurred by the postal service. My original June journal has been sitting in the regional post office 8 miles away for two weeks and at one point did arrive in my local post office two miles away only somehow to be rediscovered at the regional post office yesterday. The post office claims it will be delivered today.

If I end up with two I will give one to my friend Gayle who is often my partner in crime. She’s a graphic designer, a college professor and, in my opinion, a professional and talented doodler. So if we use this “self-care” journal together, it could lead to some interesting feedback.

Another random side note, teenager #1 is considering returning to therapy. She has struggled to find a good match as she is a teen but an unusually mature teen with more adult than teen problems. I have reached out to a friend of a friend (we all went to college together) about the prospect of her professionally seeing my daughter and I was suddenly struck by the notion that I am now old enough that my friends have such fully developed skills and careers that we are, well, the grown-ups in the room.

Anyway, back to Silk & Sonder, the June 2021 theme is “play.” I am numb with fear. My mother and estranged husband all insist I don’t know how to play. I had carved away this small block of time before dinner to explore more of my June Silk & Sonder planner…

I transferred the June-related notes from my May planner. The basic layout is the same but I see they do try to change up the mood tracker and some of the pages. I didn’t try last month’s recipe or complete all of the “creativity” exercises.

But I was surprised at how distressed I became when I no longer had it. I’m a little behind on all my hopes for today so as I start working with it more there will be another post. Or many.

Previous Posts on Silk & Sonder

* Now, please don’t lambast me for not wanting to get the Covid vaccine. I am very glad there are products available for those who need it or would feel safer with it. But the research on this virus is still happening, the current products on the market are not approved by the FDA and the mRNA vaccines are new technology (using the same techniques developed by crispr to genetically modify mosquitoes so they can’t carry disease and the same technology was used by a Chinese scientist to modify a female baby so she can’t catch HIV) that is not a vaccine at all.

I had an appointment to get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine as that is a more traditional (do they call it viral vector?) product. My appointment was on the same morning the FDA called for the pause, so it was canceled, not by my choice. I don’t understand the fuss about blood clots when plenty of women get blood clots all the time from hormonal birth control pills.

And if that wasn’t enough to make me think twice, the new guidance from the CDC suggests that natural immunity generated by the body after contracting and recovering from Covid, which I had in December 2020, should last for at least a year if not for life.

So I probably don’t need an experimental vaccine product, not yet.

And, I have anecdotal reports from a friend who works in Washington DC as a medical technologist who has attended events at the CDC regarding this virus, that the next round of vaccine products, boosters as it were, may allow those who have not been vaccinated to receive only one shot instead of two.

And, I think finally, I am concerned that since I had Covid, the vaccine may cause a reaction on the first dose and since I had Covid once, I’m not ready to volunteer to repeat any of that experience. In addition, vaccinated people often test positive on Covid tests when they don’t have Covid and this can cause unnecessary quarantine and prevent travel and delay necessary medical procedures as one friend can attest.

End of May update on Silk & Sonder self-care planner

This is the second part in an ongoing series about my experience with Silk & Sonder self-care planners. Click here to read about My initial impression of my Silk & Sonder May planner.

Earlier this week it was 90 degrees and sunny. Yesterday was 60 and cloudy and prone to dramatic cloudbursts of dramatic rain.

Today, the high was around 45.

My knees ache and my ankles keep giving out. I collapsed on the floor at one point, scraped my knee and tore my fancy, super soft and cozy joggers I bought at Stitch Fix’s Bizzy Hizzy employee pop-up store.

So I’m currently in bed with my electric blanket and two three-legged cats.

Louise, one of our fosters

Tomorrow I will finish my May edition of the Silk & Sonder wellness/self-care planner. Even though June starts on Tuesday, apparently Silk & Sonder starts all of its planners on Monday, so Monday May 31 is part of the June planner.

The June planner shipped in mid May, with an anticipated delivery date of May 24. According to the tracking information, it arrived at our regional post office about 10 miles away in the early afternoon on May 18, but didn’t arrive at our local post office 2 miles away until 4 days later on May 22.

It has languished there for a week.

Now, in the great scheme of life, this planner is not vital. But it is rather pricey, and I find a weird emotional sensation in stressing over planning my mental wellness strategies because my calendar is lost in the mail.

Receiving a calendar that suggests you plan for the future with reflection and mindfulness AFTER the month starts defeats some of the purpose.

And if there are problems with the United States Postal Service, shouldn’t the merchant find a new method of delivery? The product is time sensitive.

Honestly, I find it difficult to evaluate if the planner has allowed me to plot a calmer and more mindful future/existence because I’m too busy freaking out that tomorrow is Sunday, that I have to not only work Monday but work day shift, and I can’t even fill out my to do lists, meal plans and other Silk & Sonder pages.

Mindful planning: a preliminary review of Silk & Sonder

As you may know, I am a daily journaler. What I journal from volume to volume may change, as I have been doing this for 30 years, but I have filled hundreds of notebooks.

Thanks to social media targeted ads, I discovered the Silk & Sonder planner, a self-care tool. Every month they will mail new a new planner with a new theme.

May was creativity.

See the unboxing here: Silk & Sonder May 2021 unboxing

My subscription was due to start in June, but as tomorrow is my birthday I thought it would be fun to request the May book. I ordered it Saturday night. It was scheduled to arrive Friday, May 7. My mandatory overtime at work began May 10, so this would be the perfect way to organize my mental health.

Except it arrived Monday, May 17.

Regardless of this, and what feels like a very hefty price tag for an aesthetically pleasing but, in my opinion, cheaply manufactured spiral bound book (it’s not cheap, but I struggle to find the right words— the paper is not thin, but it’s also not as heavy as I would expect for the price).

For instance, it’s flimsy. You can’t write on your lap. You have to have it on a hard surface. For $20 a month, the cover at least should be a cardboard consistency to ensure it will withstand travel and daily use.

The interior is lovely. Ninety percent contains elements I already do in my journal, financial book, and/or on my phone: sleep tracker, expense tracker, habit tracker, mood tracker, meal planner, to do list, etc.

There is a weather tracker, goal lists, coloring pages, thought/writing prompts, and poetry and inspirational quotes.

My journal should contain what I have done and my Silk & Sonder should foster my goals, I suppose.

I’m definitely going to experiment with May and then decide on a system for June, which the company has already shipped.

I will revisit the product upon more use.

The Lost Week and the Random Thoughts Within

It’s been eight days since I last posted, in part because of the mandatory overtime at the Stitch Fix Bizzy Hizzy. I had some scheduling difficulties regarding the commitment and had scheduled 13 hours of OT this week and 5 next week to meet my minimum commitment of 16 hours. I was told last night that I had misunderstood the communication and we had to work 8 hours each week.

So now I will be working 10 hour days and 9 hour days for the upcoming week of my birthday.

My Silk & Sonder planner which was due to arrive May 7 is still not here with no update to the tracking information. I will probably receive the June volume before the May one. They warned this might happen, but I really really hoped to have it for my birthday. It seems like the right time.

I bought some new gel pens at the Grocery Outlet and it’s been fun experimenting with colors.

Working so much overtime reminds me of the simple pleasures in life—

  1. When you’re working mandatory overtime, it’s okay to buy coffee out. Even better if you find good deals.
  2. Teenager #1 ordered us food from Tic Toc Diner for after her shift and my shift. We had a picnic in the backyard.
  3. I have missed having my nails done. Having them done (currently I have birthday unicorns) bring me joy.
  4. There was a new season of Hoarders on Netflix. That show is mesmerizing and terrifying at the same time. I once went into a hoarded house. I have huge admiration for the people who work with those who suffer from hoarding disorder. That one experience was enough for me.
  5. Teenager #1 introduced my blind friend Nan to Spotify. Hearing Nancy’s enthusiasm and seeing my daughter’s altruism really cheered me.
  6. I had an observation at work where I scored 101%.
  7. Fresca is a fun soda.
  8. I ordered a new pair of jeans. Button fly. Because I love button fly. I hope they fit. I bought myself some things at Rainbeau and Stitch Fix and am slowly transitioning to a casual versus professional wardrobe.
  9. Teenager #2 gave me socks for Mothers’ Day. And even hand-selected every design on them!
  10. Sleep.

Lessons in Mindful Self Compassion, part two: Core Values

This won’t be a long entry, and I didn’t get a chance to review my notes on my seminar yesterday. You see, I was up until nearly 4 a.m. tending to Louise the Foster Cat who suddenly decided she needed to explore the closet and making multiple trips to the bathroom since I drank about 24 ounces of water on the way home from work.

One of the concepts we discussed in our Mindful Self-Compassion seminar was discovering our personal core values.

I haven’t really considered core values since I attended an EOS management training through ProJeCt of Easton.

The point of core values on the personal level is to identify what is key to your own self and live according to those priorities. The example facilitator Vira gave was “spending time in nature.”

So what are my core values?

Let’s just consider some ideas:

  • To embrace new experiences and new ideas and keep expanding my horizons.
  • To express myself in words and sometimes other arts as well. Finish my recent publishing project and write more novels.
  • To gain new knowledge, pursue education and share information with others.
  • To engage in my animist pagan spirituality, practice yoga and meditation, exercise and hopefully someday resume bodybuilding efforts. I consider all of these part of my spirituality. I want to strengthen my abilities as a witch.
  • To travel more, but not as a tourist. See places as the people who live there do.
  • To eat well.
  • To help others in need and give back to the world. For me, right now, this primarily means my work for cats with Feline Urban Rescue and Rehab, hopefully guiding teenager #2 into independence and my work with local non-profits including my public library and ASPIRE to Autonomy.

Lessons in Mindful Self Compassion, part one

I push myself—hard. I can be relentless and tenacious.

It can come in the form of trying to get over that 90% hump in metrics at the Stitch Fix Bizzy Hizzy warehouse. (I picked 495 items on in my 5.5 hour shift tonight.)

It can come in my past fitness challenges (but apparently not in my current battle with stress eating).

It can come with my personal projects and grades and overachiever attitude when it comes to research.

I can go on and on.

When I saw that my friend Fausta and her co-facilitator Vira were hosting a free online seminar on Mindful Self-Compassion, I was very excited to sign up. The seminar was 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. which meant getting up early and potentially rushing out the door at 3 to get to work for my 3:30 shift but I had to do it.

I wasn’t even sure exactly what Mindful Self-Compassion was but based on Fausta’s enthusiasm for it, an educated guess that it involved some meditation, and with Fausta’s background in therapy and being a holistic life coach, I had to do it.

My therapist has been telling me for years to be gentle to myself and this Mindful Self-Compassion stuff sounded perfect for that.

I even requested a late start at work. Now me being me, that made me anxious. Should I start at 4? I might have to eat something. 5? (I never considered 4:30.) What’s the point of starting at 5 p.m. if break is at 5:30? I opted for 6. And it was approved!

And then this week happened—let’s just say teens and animals and an incident with the dog and the hammock and the new fosters and my body hurting and the hormones of a 40-something woman… I didn’t make it to work the night before the seminar. And do you know what? My supervisor told me to “take care of myself.” I felt like I was being treated like a person.

That time— that sick day on Wednesday night— gave me the space to rest, clear my head, and focus on the seminar.

And it was so worth it.

I’m responding to it now from memory and will gladly talk more about specific exercises and lessons if anyone desires. I bet we can ask Fausta for her input too. And my apologies to Fausta if I misrepresent any of the concepts as it is 1:30 a.m. and I am not looking at my notes.

I learned:

  • That Mindful Self-Compassion is a way to process emotions that combines meditation exercises and rational analysis to allow yourself to feel the feelings but also try to heal the feelings.
  • A big part of the practice is to accept/embrace your own imperfections.
  • We explored a Japanese concept of life’s purpose.
  • We examined physiological responses to different emotions.
  • We designed a personalized loving-kindness metta meditation.
  • We developed our individualized core values.
  • We grounded ourselves via a soles of the feet meditation. I’m using the word grounding since I’m a witch and that is totally what it felt like to me.
  • Meditation reminds me of the prayer practice of centering— and I had forgotten how good I was at that.

I’ll review my notes and write more soon. In the meantime…

My previous post on the seminar is here: https://angelackerman.com/2021/04/02/ironing-out-the-anxieties/