Pouring From an Empty Cup: Taking Time to Be

Shiva and I on the same page for once…

I went into the office Friday morning feeling somehow off; my stomach a bit iffy, my joints a little achy, my sinuses feeling drippy. I attributed it to spate of rocky sleep and the sudden return to freezing temps here in Birmingham, thinking it would clear up as the day progressed, as I rarely get sick. That wasn’t the case, though, so by lunchtime I rescheduled my afternoon students and headed home to get in jammies and join Dan (recovering from surgery to remove a cancerous spot on his forehead) by the fire for the day. Some of my students have had the flu, and I wanted to rest up and be proactive just in case it was trying to knock on my door.

It felt very strange to be home on a weekday doing nothing- that is a rare thing for both Dan and I, as we are workaholics; if we aren’t working at our careers, we are working on the house or yard or something. We love being busy and engaged…but sometimes life tells you to slow down and just be still for a while. It’s tough for me not to feel guilty about doing nothing (though I did do some work on my computer), but I realize it is a healthy thing to disconnect from the routine of everyday life and go inward, focusing on my own needs…something I often put off doing as a teacher and a spouse. So many women put others first always- we are hardwired to do so.

Medicinal dawg…

There has been a lot of life happening lately; some pretty wonderful things and some tumultuous and heart-rending things, as well. I realized that I am feeling like the proverbial empty cup, drained emotionally and physically. I think maybe my body was telling me it was time to check out for a while to recharge my batteries and sit with the events of late. Knowing myself, if I don’t sort through and process things and take care of myself for a little bit, I am not able to give myself to others.

Double decker treat time…

As I sat listening to the peaceful hiss of the gas fireplace, I felt such gratitude for my sweet husband, our peaceful home, our animals who bring us laughter and joy, and a career that I love. I thought about the importance of finding balance in my life, and also of facing and dealing with the things that trouble me, rather than always delaying that self-reflection and realization or distracting myself from facing tough stuff with staying too busy, eating too much, or other potentially harmful behaviors. It’s such a frustrating cycle- the worry leads to sleepless nights, leads to exhaustion, leads to illness, leads to more worry.

I keep hoping that one day I will become a truly enlightened woman, one who is able to face challenges and sadness without absorbing so much of the emotion of it all into my core. I care too much sometimes, care about things, worry about things, that many would find silly. Part of that is because I have a very soft heart, and I’ll never apologize for that. Part of it, though, is because I need to learn when to step back and realize that I can’t fix everything. Sometimes life is tough and ugly, and that’s just the way it is. However, those times of tough and ugly only make the times of beauty and joy all the more vibrant and special.

Sophie helping me plan ahead…or telling me to put the work away for a while…

Today I am feeling better, grateful that I allowed myself a couple of responsibility-free days to let my body and spirit rest and heal. I know that when I go into the office in the morning, I will be much better able to give of myself to my students and colleagues- and to myself, as well. I haven’t figured out all of the answers, but for today I am at peace with things. One day at a time…and sometimes that day has to be on the couch.

Balance. Let go. Be.

Even Shiva seems to feel a bit better about things…

8 thoughts on “Pouring From an Empty Cup: Taking Time to Be

  1. Shiva knew you weren’t feeling well, so she cut you some slack for this weekend. Enjoy it while you can!

    Soft Hearts are good things. The best people have them. Just keep your body and mind strong – that will protect the soft heart.

    Hope you are feeling much better by the end of today, whether you watch the Super Bowl or not. Take care of you.


  2. I second your observation that women often give until empty because we feel such guilt when we say no in order to take care of ourselves. I often worry that I do not feel deeply enough. I have developed a “teflon” outlook as a matter of self preservation in a toxic work environment (which has now been detoxified). Finding that balance is tough. Sounds like you’ve got a handle on it…

    1. We all do what we have to to survive, and it sounds like you did what you had to do. I’m so glad that your work environment detoxified- that can make life so challenging when we spend much of our day in a bad environment. Sending good thoughts your way. ❤️

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