Bayfront Living – June 2022

Practice, practice, practice. That is the punch line for the old riddle, “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” There is also the ever- popular aphorism,” You know, practice makes perfect!” And as much as it hurts to admit it, mom was right. When I was a kid, I was privileged to take piano lessons. My mom would tell me to practice while she drove my sister to school. I would sit dutifully at the piano, which was just inside the picture window in our living room, one eye on the music book and the other on the driveway. As soon as the car exited the driveway I would jump up and enjoy cartoons on TV until I saw our 1960 something Mercury Montclair return. And then, you guessed it! Back to my painful butchering of “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.” There are so many things in life I wish I had been more diligent at practicing. My failure to practice the piano left me with merely a wistful sense of regret when watching rock stars and virtuosos but was not a threat to my well- being. There is another practice I have neglected that, in this season, is requiring a crash course. That is the practice of self-care. Most of the hats I wear…mother, wife, wellness practitioner… come with clear instructions about sacrificial caring for others. References may pop up here and there about recognizing the need for self- care…usually referring to a bubble bath, a massage or a girls’ road trip, and those are very healing. But intentional listening is required to hold deeply compassionate space for oneself.
As our family continues to navigate the waters of a very challenging journey, I am finding that I must pay close attention to what nurtures me. In recent days, my equilibrium has been so askew that I am forced to remember that we must take care of ourselves to care for others. Guidelines for self- care include embracing our imperfections. It is okay to make mistakes. Be sensitive to healthy boundaries, including saying “no” to activities that are draining and not nourishing. Reach out for support! I prefer to process grief alone, so I must remind myself that asking for prayers is a blessing to others. I may not want to sit and emote with them, but I will never refuse a prayer! Checking in with yourself in a quiet space is important as well. Awareness of body sensations and negative thought patterns can function as guides to meeting your needs. Journaling or other forms of expression can be healing. Most of all, my friends…cleave to God through scripture, prayer, nature, community, ranting, or tears. Sit with God in silence and listen. Regarding these lifelines, I cannot say it enough…PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE!