Last April, I went on a retreat in Round Top put on by my dear friend, Jeanne Guy. I’ve been going to her workshops and gatherings since my friend Rey and I did a fourteen-week workshop with her in 2007 on Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. I love her. Time with Jeanne always leaves me feeling more hopeful.
Last night, I went to what she calls a Re-Story Circle. Twice a month, she offers these gatherings of women that are intended to help us re-story our lives. When I’m in circle with Jeanne, I always learn something about how to process my experiences and maybe change the way I look at what I’m facing. Last night was just such a night. The gem I uncovered during the circle was actually a list I made during the last retreat I went on with Jeanne. I came across the list as I was scanning through the notebook I use for all of her workshops.
We were asked this question at the retreat: “If I were to give some good advice about being fully me by loving and taking care of myself, it would include…” She called this “tending to ourselves.” Here’s the list I came up with last April. I think we had maybe ten or so minutes to write.
- Keep up the training because you love it.
- Eat well because weight loss improves your health and your confidence.
- Sleep more.
- Write every day. No excuses.
- When you are feeling alone, write about something you love.
- When you are feeling down, write about something that makes you happy.
- When you are feeling hopeless, write about your dreams.
- Don’t guard your heart quite so much. Be willing to give it to someone who proves worthy to receive it.
- Clear your house of anything that doesn’t bring you joy.
- Save money right now. Not forever, but for right now.
- Spend time with Mom and Dad as often as you can.
- Rest at unexpected times. Take a half day here and there to just be.
- Limit your time on Facebook. Focus on creating a life you love rather than a Facebook profile that makes you appear to love life.
- Take chances.
- At every opportunity, choose love.
- Have the hard conversations that you need to have.
- Seek God.
- Stop waiting and start building the life you can see for yourself.
In my notebook, I put asterisks next to 5, 6 and 7.
April was a hard month for me. The weekend I spent in Jeanne’s company and in the company of genuinely kind women gave me such hope.
During that weekend, we took this photo with each of us wearing bracelets that Jeanne gave us:
Since then, I’ve been wearing my bracelet every day because it reminds me of the support and love I received in that community.
I hadn’t looked at this list since I wrote it in April. I’ve done some of the items on the list. I haven’t done them all. But every item on the list still rings true to me. And those that are marked with an asterisk still are practices that help me to lift my own spirits through something I love to do.
Thank you, Jeanne, once again. Thank you for a wonderful evening in the company of kind women. Thank you for helping me discover for myself how best to tend to myself over the next couple of weeks and perhaps even months. I appreciate you always.