Adventure. Change. Freedom. Comfort. These are some of my values and I”m sure they seem conflicting when you notice the word. “comfort” thrown into the mix. The thing is, I don’t always do the change thing very well in my life. At times, I’m really tested by change. Throw me into a new situation and at first, I feel a little “off,” wondering where I am and if things will be okay. I’m dong my best to honor my human side lately. My human side wants comfort and to have some constancy in my life. It’s okay to need those things a little bit, I’d say.
I think it’s okay to have a little bit of comfort, especially when you’re not physically well. End of last month, I became really sick with an upper respiratory infection, probably the flu. It has taken about two weeks to completely go away. I’m still working on feeling better.
I really need hot beverages when I’m sick. I need a bed, blanket, book, and journal. Such small comforts, but for me, they mean the world. At times, some of my ways of bringing comfort into my life do not serve me well, such as always checking my Facebook for things such as private messages or my news feed for cool or inspiring things. I procrastinate way too much at times. So, I wonder if comfort isn’t always a good thing. It serves my ego at times, but not my soul.
Addictions show up in different forms for people. We’re just trying to do our best to bring comfort and homeostasis into our lives. I myself notice that when I get stressed out, I can’t eat, so comfort eating is not something I have to worry about luckily. I also rarely drink alcohol and well, I don’t do drugs or smoke cigarettes. On the other hand, I do like to zone out with digital fixes such as Etsy browsing, Amazon book browsing, blog reading, Facebook or email. I also can find a zillion and one things to do around the house, such as cleaning or organizing to lose myself in and avoid doing my important work (writing, art, music, yoga, meditation, and marketing). In the past, I bordered on addiction with my fitness stuff, racing my bicycle and training like a madwoman. I think, too, I used to be addicted to achievement and trying to be a success. I let go of the fitness and success addictions too. I do still really love a decaf espresso and I don’t plan on giving that up anytime soon.
In the past, I used to try to find comfort through being with other people. I’d sit and talk about my problems. I’d try to support the other people. I’m not sure if I was a good friend or not. Then, I noticed some of my friends leaving my life. I think that this happens naturally with relationships. It’s that whole “reason, season, or lifetime” cliche bit. It wasn’t until I reached my 40s that I found comfort more from art, music, writing, and following my callings, instead of trying to be comforted outside of myself by people. I guess some vestiges of this remain with some of the remaining aspects of my digital addictions that I’m working to heal.
One thing Buddhist teachers of mine talk about is how as humans we’re all trying to avoid suffering. It’s what we all have in common. We want to feel good and avoid pain. The past two years, I’ve noticed that my pain has really tried to get my attention. At times, I think it’s gone, but other times, I notice it’s still there, just a bit. The disappointment and heartache of not living up to your own expectations might seem insignificant or like “first world pain,” but when you’re going through the waves of emotion and processing through it, it’s very real.
As I’ve healed my post-publishing depression, I’ve looked closely at my habits each day to see where I’m avoiding myself or life or my emotions and feelings. I’ve tried to be compassionate towards myself the best I can. It’s been really hard for me. My health suffered and I had a relapse of chronic fatigue syndrome, which I’ve been working to heal since early 2013. I thought I was done with those lessons, having healed it in early 2000s.
Then, when I really started to feel better, it seemed like all of these critics came out of the woodwork. Some were kind enough to write me privately, ha ha. All of them were woman. Their main criticism of me and my work was that I seemed to be a “kept woman.” I’m paraphrasing and no, they didn’t use that term, but they basically suggested it. The thing is, my life and finances are no one’s business. Also, I’ve had massive health challenges over the years.
So what if I don’t work a traditional day job. I work for myself and it works for me and yes, I do make money and hell yes, I work hard…maybe a bit too hard. I’d like these critics to see my medical bills, many of which I’ve paid out of pocket because I use holistic treatments. While they’re typing away about how “privileged” I am, I can’t help but wonder how they don’t see themselves as having privilege too. They have a computer, a job, and can read and write, which not everyone in the world can say that they have. My British friend said to tell them to “bugger off,” ha ha ha! I should have, but I’m not wanting to be mean to others. I know what it’s like to be on the receiving end of that and I’d rather be kind…but, I have started to speak up for myself.
Zoning out is sometimes way easier. I don’t have to feel the hurt that others try to project onto me. I don’t have to feel the disappointments I’ve experienced from living on the planet and not living up to my own or others’ expectations for me. I don’t have to be disappointed when stuff goes awry.
What works for me is being gentle with myself in this process of returning to my true self. I’m not trying to live others’ dreams any more. I’m actually zoning out much less and working on some fun projects that I enjoy. I am working on enjoying and loving the moment as much as possible, even if I’m not a success on paper or according to what some in society dictate. It’s liberating and it “only” took me some 42 or more years to sort of get it.
What is comforting to me is knowing that I have so much to be grateful for, including my creativity, my connection to the divine, and my relatively good health. I feel comforted by nature, including friendly animals and birds. I love how the sun shines on my back and how the clouds look so yummy. I enjoy the rainbows and the rain. Good books are good friends, as are journals. I love to get messy with paint, Mod Podge, and glitter. I love sunsets, but there’s something so tranquil about the sunrise, being up before everyone else. Comfort can come from these so-called small things. I don’t need fame, fortune, or media placements. I’m so over all of that.
What brings you comfort? Are there addictions you need to release? Is there a way to be gentler and more kind with yourself? Share in the comments. I’d love to hear from you.