Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Soul Nurturing

I'm having a soul nurturing day today. What is that you ask? Something I made up at 8am this morning when I realized that I needed some good self care today. In the past I have called them rest days. Rest days for me are days in which I promise myself that I will stay home and read or watch TV/movies. No work, housework,exercise, etc. Rest days are what enable me to get through my life living with Sjögren's.

However soul nurturing days are rest days in which I also do a few things that feed my soul. Things that I haven't been doing lately or not doing enough of. Coloring, reading, sitting outside, etc. are some examples of things that nurture my soul. For today, I decided that my priority would be that no matter how I felt physically, I would write something. Anything. It doesn't have to be good or even make sense. I just have to do it.

I miss writing. Many people have asked me if I will ever write another book about Sjögren's, or another book at all. I don't foresee that happening right now, and while I don't think I will write another book about Sjögren's, I may do something different. Who knows. What I do know is that I miss writing, especially for this blog. Going back to work on a regular basis has definitely shifted a lot of things for me, but I have to make more of an effort to get some words down on paper, or computer. Life isn't the same unless I do.

I started my soul nurturing day today by looking at my 14 year old dog, Molly, who looked all eager and happy that I was home today. It's finally cool enough to have the air conditioner off and at 8am this morning, I realized it was a beautiful morning. Typically it is my husband that walks her on the weekends, but I was overcome this morning by the feeling that it would be good for Molly and I to venture outside. I made a silent promise to myself in my head that it would be a short walk and I wouldn't overdo it; especially since I worked yesterday and still have two more days of work to get through this week.

Molly does this thing with my husband on weekend mornings. She KNOWS by his routine that he is not going to work and that she may be going outside for a walk. When my husband goes to his dresser and starts rummaging through for clothes to put on, she starts spinning herself in circles and barks. It's quite cute actually. Then when he goes to put his sneakers on, she really starts to lose it and starts running around the house. This is the same dog that oftentimes struggles to get up from a lying position because of her age and arthritis.

So this morning, I did the same routine my husband does on the weekend and sure enough, Molly started flipping out with excitement. We headed off to the rail trail and the weather was as beautiful as I expected it to be. The rail trail we go to has a lot of wildlife and vegetation and can be a very peaceful place on a weekday morning. Molly set off at her usual pace and honestly, I was struggling to keep up. It's amazing how well she can do when she is excited about her walks. Similar to how I am with my autoimmune symptoms when I am excited about something. I get a little temporary relief.

The air was crisp and cool. I watched Molly explore the various scents on the trail and my soul sang a little. I got to thinking about how it's been her and me for so long now; keeping each other company on days when the rest of the world is at work or raising children. I've been thinking about that a lot lately as she continues to show signs of aging: more grey hair, her recent loss of hearing and as of last week, urinary incontinence. I know her days are numbered and I have to say, I certainly appreciate the time I spend with her nowadays; even more so than I used to. There is something special about ushering a dog into their later years. The bond deepens. Or maybe it's just that I appreciate the bond even more.

I think that soul nurturing is something that we don't take enough time for in our fast-paced and hectic lives. We are so busy doing and going from one place to the next, that we don't often stop to think about what it is that feeds our soul or nourishes our spirit. For me, feeding or nourishing my soul often involves quiet or solitary activities, especially because I can also physically rest at the same time. But that is not always the case for me or for others. A perfect example is this Saturday. I am signed up to spend quite a bit of time on Saturday working a taco salad stand at my church for our town fair. It's something my husband and I commit to every year. It's also the only commitment I made during the month of September besides work and medical appointments because I am giving myself time to adjust to being back at work on a regular basis.

Working the taco salad stand is probably not in my best interest physically, but it certainly is a big soul nourishing activity for me. Besides volunteering where I am much needed, it gives me a chance to spend time with my community and friends in a place that has become a second home for me. To me, a soul nurturing activity is anything that reminds me of my purpose in this world and/or calms my spirit. Sometimes it is something that feeds other people's souls.

I almost always wrap up the end of my blog entries in a neat little package, but not today. My goal was to write and nurture my soul and that is what I have done. Hopefully, you also get to do a little soul nurturing this week also!

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