The other day, I went with some friends for an hour-and-a-half Thai massage. It was one of many I’ve received since arriving in Thailand. And to be completely honest, I was a little upset because I got an older woman who didn’t put much pressure into her motions. If I didn’t know better, I’d have thought my niece was giving the massage. The gentler she was with me the more frustrated I became.
I’d had an odd morning, and more than anything, I just wanted to feel a little bit of pain. I needed to release the tension from my body, and these gentle nudges weren’t doing it for me. The longer I lay there, the more frustrated I found myself becoming. So I did what I always do in those moments. I brought my focus to my breath. And when my frustrations calmed, tears began to spring in my eyes. Be gentle with yourself. Show yourself some compassion, I heard my inner voice say.
My body and mind amaze me. When I tune into them, when I slow down and listen to what my body is telling me, I know exactly what I need in that moment. That day, I needed some self-love, a little self-care.
While I thought I really wanted that woman to force the tension out of me through the pressure she applied, my heart knew I had already pushed my body to its limits. I’d done several strenuous yoga flows, walked, hiked and danced until dawn the day before. More pressure was the exact opposite of what I needed in that moment. Compassion. Love. A gentle hand.
Breathe in compassion, breathe out frustration. Breathe in love, breathe out hate.
Showing compassion toward myself is hard for me to do. A friend recently asked me how I choose to spend my time on the road. His timing is impeccable because I’ve recently been giving a lot of thought to this very topic.
As a former event planner, I’m used to planning ahead. I’m always thinking about logical steps – what do I need to do now to get me where I need to be in 30-60-90 days.
As I write this, I am sitting in the cutest coffee shop in Pai, Thailand. In fact, I felt right at home when I walked in. This is where I come alive. This is where I get creative. This is where my energy flows. But lately, I’ve not been feeling so much energy or creative juices. Ideas come and I have some really great things in the works, but the creative spark has been nonexistent.
In fact, I may do one or two things a day on my projects, then go for a walk, do some yoga, lounge in a hammock, read, hike, ride my scooter about town, grab a coffee, or play a card game. Slowing down is SO hard for me. And if I’m being honest, I actually feel guilty for doing so. But why? In America, especially, we work so hard. For years, I worked 40-60+ hours per week. So now, working 2 hours a day feels like plain laziness.
But want to know a secret? I’m happier! And the work I do is much more productive and creative.
So this week, as opposed to last week, I’m showing myself a little more compassion. I’m giving myself permission to go for a hike, disconnect and not feel guilty for it. I’m getting a massage and laying by the pool. I’m drinking fruit smoothies and taking wheatgrass shots. I’m napping in the middle of the afternoon because that’s what my body says it needs. And you know what, I’m loving every minute of it.
Take a minute to tune in this week. What do you need? Where can you reset? Where can you show yourself compassion? Give yourself permission to do the things you need.