I acknowledge that I come from a place of privilege. My self-care and enhancement are more accessible and possible than people from oppressed identities. I struggle because I am young and inexperienced, naïve to some of the cruelties and hardships, and I acknowledge the range of trauma experienced by those in this world.
As part of my privilege, in my own times of personal suffering, I am able to revert back to the simplistic nature in which we’re born with. This ability is one of the ways I take care of myself.
Especially in the colder weather and darker (literally, metaphorically and spiritually) days, there is tangible pain and sadness. On these days, I find that the negative energy is there, its shadow at times all consuming. As I sit writing this at a coffee shop window, I am watching the sun descend behind the trees. The sky is shades of blue, the clouds tinges of orange and purple. Breathless. Although I know the sunset signifies the oncoming of darkness, I work my hardest to see its beauty in this present moment. Is there truly an accurate way of describing the beauty of a sunset? Does any language provide us with those words?
I find that unless I make a conscious effort, I can consume my days with negativity. I can often forget about the little things that can bring out a little bit of sunshine. A little bit of beauty. A little bit of happiness. I focus so much on the bad, that I pass over the good. I am working to retrain this reflex.
As part of my retraining, I ask myself, “When is the last time you relaxed and thought about nothing but our innate five senses? When is the last time you stopped for a moment and embraced pleasure?”
I take a moment in the morning. I sit, feeling the warmth (or coldness) of that freshly brewed cup of coffee or tea. I inhale the intoxicating smell, working to feel bliss with every sip. In these awake moments, I forget about the rest of the world.
In my mind and body, I am aware that Winter is encroaching. I make my best efforts to ensure that the chill in the air doesn’t keep me locked inside.
I try every day to do things that help me to be awake and alive. I breathe in the fresh air, take a stroll in a quiet neighborhood or woodsy path, in a park or along the beach. I get away from the televisions, the computers, the phones, society and just breathe. I try and take advantage of my health now because I know that in a blink of an eye, it could vanish.
I always seem to forget how short life is, and I get a sense that I am not alone in this. I only have one life, and because of my privilege, I am able to focus on the positive aspects this life has to offer. I ask myself, why should I be spending my days dwelling on the negative, when I have the option to retrain my focus to the positive?
I tell myself to read that book, watch that movie, talk to that person I’ve been meaning to catch up with. I allow myself to spend an extra minute feeling the warmth of a nice shower, to indulge in that sweet I’ve been eyeing. I’m often reminding myself to start doing that thing I’ve been telling myself for ages to do, such as teaching myself how to code or start dabbling in painting again.
I know that there are many lived experiences that are vastly different than my own, with challenges that I cannot imagine. However, I find it helpful to pause the chaos that is life for even a brief second. I tell myself that it’s okay to be okay. This is my strategy for holding my light in this darkness.