There isn’t much that calms me down, which as I get older is becoming a problem. Stress tangles inside of me, festering in knots that I can’t find my way to untie. The furrows in my brow deepen, the acid pings and gurgles from my stomach grow to a roar. My worry launches itself from the laundry piles to the greens that are going bad in the crisper, to the jumble of ill-fitting and tired underwear in my dresser, to all the things I want to do with the girls but can’t get to because I have to be at a meeting and I still have to do a grocery shop, and for-the-love-of-all-that’s-good-why-is-time moving so fast?
“You just have to lower your stress, Amanda,” Sean will say. I completely agree, but knowing how to fix it and not feeling more stress at the thought of having to reduce stress is beyond me.
Exercise charges me and clears my mind, reading can distract me from my worries, swimming offers me quiet, but the hurdle of feeling like these things are selfish trips me up.
Do it for your health, which makes you stronger for the girls and more capable of managing the rest of your day.
Do it for yourself. Just do it.
Sometimes I do, but it doesn’t exactly make me feel calm. The only thing that really lowers my shoulders and soothes me is gardening. I love the ritual of watering, the unwrapping of the hose, feeling the water surge through in that first spray, and then guiding the arc of water from my hand to little plants. I revel in the sensation of my fingers in the soil, the gritty feel of the earth in my hands, even beneath my nails. The smell of the grass nearby or of the marigolds soldiers that keep the bugs at bay, it fills me with a sense of belonging and when the chives tickle at my legs or the cucumber leaves catch on my hands, I feel capable. I made those. I will nourish my family with these.
This week the first of three bulbs that I planted sometime earlier this year finally began to bloom. I couldn’t remember what color they had been, or even the kind of flower. The excitement of seeing that something actually grew and transformed from the odd, craggy lump, to a burgeoning creature made my heart race. I checked on it every day, until this morning when I tiptoed around the curving stone stairs and it finally revealed the full blossom to me. The payoff for my patience was intoxicating and the sight of the water droplets on the petals felt as if they were cleansing me too.
I hope something new opens for you, whether it’s a fresh start, an opportunity, or a wildflower on a walk. I hope you’ll come back and share what you discovered.
What you describe here, I feel it in my stomach, my heart, my veins and my soul. Kindred, we are, dear one. The knowing–that the bulb will unfurl, that connections with familial souls abound–softens the aching dark. xo
Thank you, Denise. This is perfect xo
This was beyond perfect for me today for so many reasons. What an accomplishment. And I know how hard it is to slow down. It’s like we feel as if we can beat time if we pack in as much as possible. The tasks never end. This is going to sound weird, but when I have some time (like right now) where everyone is occupied, I log onto bloglovin and truly like to wade through others’ words. We’ve talked about my commenting before . . . I like conversation. And I’m a big reader. So ultimately reading blogs fits me well. It’s like reading magazines used to be for me, but better because there’s interaction and over time I get to know the writers. I hope we’ll meet in person eventually!
Thank you, Nina. I wasn’t sure if this post would hit home with anyone, but I so wanted to share the emotions of trying and failing and trying again and then experiencing that unexpected lift in my sails.
I am glad I am a part of your free time and hold a similar hope for meeting in person one day!
Dahlias! I have them too. Decadence. I relate to every word. Thank you. Xo
I recently realized that one of the only things that truly transports me these days is gardening as well. Strange, considering I’m not particularly good at it. But I could weed for hours. I think it’s therapeutic because it feels like such an invisible thing to be doing–it’s not intellectual, it’s not emotional, it’s not for me, it’s not for anyone else, really. I’m not sure why it’s so easy to get lost in, but it is.
Thank you so much for sharing this. You nail it with the ability to get lost. No idea, I don’t mull other things while I’m out there.
That photo took my breath away. I’ve discovered that playing guitar can soothe me, take my mind off things, when not much else can. I’m terrible at it, but that’s just fine.
Thank you for coming by. To music in your fingers and an exhale on your lips.