Contentedness is not a feeling I know well. Typically when I’m happy, I get scared wondering when it will end. But I’m just pretty content now that I’m feeling healthier than ever. My yogi, Ira, believes all ailments come from a lack of love. I have been very sick for the last 10 years, propagated by the fact that I’m a pro at acting like I’m ok when I’m not. I’m strong, but I have my limits. If there’s one thing that reiki is good for, it’s acknowledging that the sick should not treat the healthy — they have to recover before you can level up and heal others.
I’ve been thinking about this metaphor lately, which I kind of hate because it involves a Disney movie. But there’s this scene in The Little Mermaid where Ariel is heading down into Ursula’s lair to sign her voice away in an act of dumb sacrificial romance or whatever. She swims over Ursula’s garden where there’s all these things that look like seaweed but are really just shriveled up mer-people:
As Ariel swims over, they kind of extend out to her. At one point I think one tries to grab her fin and she shakes it off with this spooked expression. And that’s kind of what it’s like sometimes in New York. It’s not like Ariel doesn’t want to help all the “poor unfortunate souls,” it just takes her a while to understand how they came to be that way, why they can’t be blamed for their condition, and how to help them. The plan ultimately means swimming past them for the time being and coming back to help them later.
Tomorrow will mark the 50th day since I quit smoking. I am virtually withdrawal symptom free now, although I still secretly love second-hand smoke. One of my friends suggested that I reward myself on cessation milestones and buy myself something with the money I would have spent on cigarettes, so I am buying a flute! I found a nice silver-plated used one on Craigslist and am picking it up tomorrow. I’m super stoked, I used to love playing the flute when I was in 5th and 6th grade and won a few competitions playing Mozart, but quit because I had a mean teacher. Getting back into it seemed thing where I’d always be playing catch-up, so I never picked it back up. Furthermore, an activity that requires blowing for extended periods of time is not that feasible for a smoker.
Go ahead with the flute jokes.
Anyway, that’s just phase one of my new health kick. The second phase involves joining my favorite Belarusian refugee’s sticker club where we set daily goals in a spreadsheet and get stickers if we meet them. On Friday she asked me to edit her scholarship essay to knock the “Russian propaganda vibe” out of it and make it sound more colloquially American, and after reading about what a productive and disciplined life she leads I was amazed! I asked her if she thought being in a daily goals club could work for me, and she invited me to join. My goals include waking up at 9, morning papers, eating breakfast, meditation, eating one raw meal a day, doing yoga or cardio 4 times a week, blogging, and not bringing my phone/laptop/tablet into bed because it disrupts my sleep.
It’s funny how rudimentary this all seems, but I’ve realized recently that I really do need to start from square 1 when it comes to learning how to take care of myself. I’ve been skirting by on coffee, cigarettes, take-out, drunkorexia, and cheap thrills, so it’s really no wonder I get stressed out sometimes. My self-discipline is pretty abysmal, and I’m skeptical that I can stick to this regimen. But if anything is going to teach me discipline, it’s an Eastern European health guru.