I’m embarking on a crazy scheme tomorrow, involving one U-Haul truck, two boats, four border crossings, a futon set…and eleven hours on the road.
I’ve written no fewer than 44 articles here in the Listening Post about about HSP self-care. That self-care includes space between activities. It requires breaks. It includes regular healthy meals.
Have I lost my mind?
No. (Not yet, anyway.) For me, this is the HSP Olympics. I always cry my way through the Olympics. I’m so moved to witness athletes do things they’ve never done before—or in some cases, things no one has ever done before (l think this UHaul scheme might fit that category!)
However, I doubt anyone will be moved to tears as I deftly handle the customs agents tomorrow. And there certainly won’t be a podium, a bouquet, or a medal awaiting me as we drag that new futon onto our cottage porch. So why do I break my own thoughtfully crafted rules of self-care?
3 reasons I throw out the rule book sometimes
- To stretch myself: When I push my limits, I feel more alive. I return to my usual routine with a new sense of perspective and possibility.
- To transcend my beliefs about myself as a “sensitive person:” My life is so much better because of the self-understanding and self-care that have come from realizing I’m built sensitive. At the same time, any label creates limits. I enjoy the freedom to surprise myself, outdo myself, exhaust and overstimulate myself sometimes.
- To meet my need to serve: Self care is not my primary purpose in life. Rather it is the means to and end, and that end is service. I’ve stretched myself as a mother, a sister, a partner, a colleague, and a professional, and these are the accomplishments I hold highest in my life.
BUT….how do I discern between rule-breaking and self-neglect? Between inspired effort and sheer irresponsibility? How do I decide when and how much to push my limits? The answer is simple:
I only break my rules when I’m guided to do it.
That’s it: my Golden Rule of rule-breaking. I get very quiet in myself, I ask for guidance, then I listen. I’m listening not so much for words as for a sense of inner rightness. This is a sense I’ve come to recognize over the years. I know it well, and I’m sure you know what your own inner knowing feels like.
The great thing is, once I’ve accessed this guidance, it doesn’t matter how many U-Haul trucks, customs agents, or futons are involved in my latest HSP Olympic bid: I know from experience that all I have to do is fasten my seatbelt, relax, and let my spiritual GPS do the driving.
By the end of the day tomorrow, I’m sure I’ll be beyond tired. But I’m equally sure I’ll experience a sense of indescribable satisfaction. I will have served my extended family, who will really appreciate that futon on our cottage porch. And I will enjoy the freedom and aliveness of having done something that pushed me to the limits of my perseverance, stamina, and logistical expertise.