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Everyday I wake up to...

Everyday we wake up we see what is in our immediate environment. Maybe a person, dim light through curtains, a dog or cat. We are also met with the reality of the start of a new day, which can take us on a roller coaster of emotions.

  • I have to get in the shower for work - heart beats faster knowing you laid in bed 5 minutes too long and now you need to rush your shower to get to work on time.

  • I have to make breakfast for everyone in my home and send them off to school/work - Will they get up in time to eat AND get the bus or do I need to prepare to drive them?

  • I have to take the dog for a walk - I need to put pants on

If any one of these items is remotely familiar, or think of your own that would fit the theme of starting a morning. What is the common theme?

Your first actions and thoughts are of other beings and not your well-being.

When your day starts concerned about other's how can you recognize what you need and how you feel? How does that manifest in your behavior?

  • I have to tell my employer I was stuck in new construction traffic and got stopped at a R&R crossing. - These are lies you think don't hurt, you tell them out of fear of reprimand, or more seriously, being written up by HR resulting in job termination. * Telling a little lie out of fear in order to keep you out of trouble is still acting out of fear and contributes to anxiety - because the "trouble" you are afraid of doesn't actually exist, it hasn't happened.

  • I don't have time/forget to eat. - Grab a quick coffee and bag of chips at the gas station.

  • I have no energy to do any more exercise than take the dog for another walk. - Feel drained and uninspired with life, possibly resentful and guilt-ridden for not feeling grateful because you have a job and a family who loves you.

How to even begin to think about your well-being?

I personally have read suggestions by others out in the internet and book world, things like: wake up earlier so you can have that quiet time for yourself. The reality I've discovered is that by setting an alarm to wake up earlier, that time is filled with "getting a head start" on duties with hopes that you'll save time for yourself later. Training yourself for a new habit is just that, training. You don't need to wake up any earlier to take care of your well-being.

Of all the duties you take on, is there something that someone else can do or help you with? Maybe if you take the responsibility of making breakfast each morning for everyone, start by asking your partner, or kids, to do it one day a week. Make themselves breakfast, and why not throw in having them make breakfast for you? Even if that means they put out cereal and make the coffee. They need to be given the opportunity to train in new behavior as well. That one day at breakfast time, you still don't need to fill it with anything to "get ahead" but re-purpose that time to something you've been meaning to do, like read a chapter of fiction. Take a walk without the dog (and your phone) and look at the day, feel the breeze, shiver, sweat, notice how you feel. Then eat your pre-made breakfast and continue with your day. One action will lead to more awareness of how to care for yourself. Take time for therapy: in nature, in the gym or with a paid mental health professional.

Let go of "reality" to find truth.

This piece, "Riding the Wave" started as something a bit different. I love water, the ocean in particular. I also love surfing. I imagined a glossy surfing wave, with sunlight or moonlight glistening through the barrel. I decided to do the painting unlike any method I have used: paint what it feels like to surf. The calm, then movement, smooth breathing. I started with painting in a zen circle style. Just let the wave flow from the brush onto the canvas on a single exhale, letting the circle land where it may without judgement. I then kept going with circle after circle on exhales. Then I used the pallet knife to give depth of light shimmer points, still on the exhale with staccato flicks. Then suddenly, with paint still on my pallet knife, I knew it was done. Adding more paint, or changing it somehow was ego-centered and counter to the feeling of surfing. I felt a little guilt for not making it realistic. But taking a full breath, and a step back, I realized it's the painting of mine most based in reality.

I am a person who does many things, one of them is paint. Living artfully doesn't mean anyone has to learn to draw a perfect stick figure, it means allowing yourself the time, space, and outside support to breathe; and just ride the wave.



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