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  Before my little trip to babysit the Grands and recharge in the mountains I had started talking about multitasking.

 Sometimes multitasking is a good thing. For instance, this morning I took a walk outside. Since I went to a mailbox about a mile away I got my aerobic exercise, exercised my dog, returned my NetFlix DVD and listened to relaxing music on my MP3 player all at the same time.

 But multitasking has a down side. As it turns out, multitasking lowers our efficiency while we are doing it. That is OK if the tasks we are doing don’t require precision or careful thought, but sometimes we need to decide if speed or efficiency matters most. 

 And then there is the fact that sometimes people get offended when we multitask. Like the time I was unloading my dishwasher while talking to my mother on the phone. When she heard the silverware clanking she said “I want you to give me your full attention when I’m talking to you, young lady!” (The fact that she was ninety years old and I was in my fifties at the time added a bit of humor to the situation.)

 So, while there are times when multitasking helps (like listening to audiobooks while folding laundry or any other boring repetitive task that takes no concentration), there are other times when it distracts, offends and eats up way to much mental energy

 Sometimes I need to nurture me by giving myself permission to do only one thing at a time, even if it means I get less done in a day.

Since my last post I took a little time out to nurture myself in a couple of different ways. 

 The first was by spending time with people I love.  The fact that those people were my grandchildren made it a double dose of nurture.  While caring for them over three days time I got to blow bubbles, run races, make-believe (chasing dragons, blowing away monsters and other things necessary to keep up with an almost three-year old’s repertoire of pretend critters).  In other words, I acted like a child.  Very fun!  And I got the satisfying (and nourishing feeling of helping someone out by babysitting so my son and daughter-in-law could get away and do essential things.)

 Following that adventure I took a little time to nurture my husband and myself by spending time in our favorite mountain getaway.  Going to the mountains never ceases to refresh me.  The more trees the better.  While in the mountains we got caught in a surprise snow storm so we got to experience a nice dose of novelty (for us).

 So I’m wondering, do you have a favorite recharging station, a place you retreat to restore your energy when your batteries are low?  Tell us about it, please.

One of the greatest gifts I have received in my journey to self nourish was the gift of cancer.  The disease and the two subsequent major surgeries forced me to stop the frantic life I was living.

 B.C (Before Cancer), I was an overscheduleaholic, trying to cram as much as possible into a day.  And yet, I frequently felt stressed and was often irritable with those around me.  I did a lot in a day yet I seldom felt satisfied at the end of the day. 

 Then cancer arrived.  During my post surgery weeks I was reduced to doing nothing all day long.  Or at least that’s how it felt.  I read, watched TV and talked to friends on the phone.  I got oodles of sleep.  I played with my dog and petted my cat.  I sat outside and watched birds.  When I was recovered enough to walk I took leisurely strolls in the park.

 It was wonderful.  Not only was I extremely grateful to be alive, I also became grateful for the little things in life, for having the time to enjoy them.

 But, time has moved on and so have I.  While I am not as busy as I was B.C.  I have forgotten many of the lessons of those post surgery days.

 One of those lessons was the concept of underscheduling.  When I was recovering from surgery my daily to-do list usually had only one or two items on it compared with my twenty or more items B.C.  The post surgery to-do list contained only items that were absolutely essential.  I had to pare my list down to necessities because that’s was all I had the strength to do.  And you know what?  At the end of the day I felt satisfied if I had completed my one or two items for the day.  I felt that I had accomplished something.

 That brings us up to today and the concept of time affluence.  It turns out that once our basic material needs (food, clothing, and shelter) are met, gaining more money doesn’t make us any happier.  Instead, it is time affluence that increases our sense of well being.

 What is time affluence?  Stay tuned because that is what I am going to talk about tomorrow and Thursday.  Until then, here is today’s question to ponder.

 Have you ever learned a major life lesson and then later, forgotten to apply it?

Our family got a delightful new camera recently.  It’s so much fun that I’m actively looking for ways to use it.

I’ve started taking walks around my neighborhood, deliberately seeking interesting scenes to photograph.

In my photo safaris I’ve discovered that there is a lot more beauty in my world than I had noticed before.  Each time I find something good I have one of those “wow!” moments that lights up my soul.

This exercise reminds me of something I used to do as a child.  Walking the same route to school everyday got boring, so I challenged myself to find ten new things I had never seen before.  And you know what?  I never failed to find ten new things.  I usually found more than ten.

Sometimes nourishing ourselves has to do with taking time to notice what has already been provided for us.

My challenge for you today is for you to look for something beautiful.  Maybe it would help to pretend you are looking for something to take a picture of.  Then, tell us what you find.

A couple of years ago I visited a home with a lavender-rimmed pathway to the backyard.  You couldn’t walk the path without brushing against its fragrant flowers releasing a cloud of sweetness into the air.  I decided that day that I too wanted a lavender path.  So I planted a small plant next to my back gate.

Occasionally when I am out in the yard weeding I will sniff the lavender, but usually I just forget it is there.

Today I picked a sprig of lavender and brought it in to the house.  I  set it next to my computer, a place I spent a lot of time during the day.  Every few minutes I pick up the sprig, hold it to my nose and inhale.  Ahhhh!

Why do I plan nice things for myself and then not follow through with them?  That lavender plant has been in my yard for almost two years.  Why did I wait until today to bring some into the house?

Maybe self nourishing takes both a deliberate intention and a commitment to keep that goal in mind.  Maybe I need to put “sniff lavender” into my PDA.

Whatever it takes, doing simple things that bring joy to you is worth it.

Are there any simple pleasures in your life that you have overlooked or needlessly deferred?

What made Superman so strong?  How about Lex Luthor?

A new study that will be published in an upcoming issue of Social Psychological and Personality Science may point the way to developing superhuman powers. 

Okay, if not superhuman, at least more humane.  It turns out that doing something kind for someone else increases our own physical strength.  The link is so strong that even just thinking about doing something nice makes us stronger. 

Interestingly enough, doing evil also makes us stronger.  However, I’d rather grow through kindness than meanness.  I sleep better at night that way. 

Kind of reminds me of that old saying, “Flowers leave some of their fragrance in the hand that bestows them.” 

Another old saying along the same line is “Give and it will be given to you… (Luke 6:38).

So maybe being unselfish is actually being selfish—or at least doing something that benefits both self and others. 

I think I’ll try this out before I lift my dumbbells today.  Who knows, maybe I’ll get an extra set of reps in.

Because I am a reader my first instinct in learning how to do something is to turn to books. That’s why I searched Amazon for books about how to nurture oneself.

Three titles that I found and purchased (used, of course—goodness you don’t think I’d pay full price for a book on how to take care of myself, do you?) were Simple Indulgence by Janet Eastman, 50 simple ways to pamper yourself by Stephanie Tourles and 2001 Ways to Pamper Yourself by Lorraine Bodger. I’m sure there are other titles out there but these are my starting point.

I’ve decided to use these books as my springboard. I’m going to pick items from them and try them out. Then I’ll let you know how it goes. Maybe you’ll want to try things out also. Or maybe you’ll come up with better ideas. If so, I hope you’ll share them.

I love to research, so I’ll post goodies that I find from other sources also. After all, isn’t practicing the things you love to do a way to take care of yourself? Doesn’t following your passions nourish your soul? Okay, if it doesn’t, I don’t want to hear about it.

Like so many other who saw the movie Julie and Julia, I am intrigued by the idea of trying to learn something new and to share the joys and perils of that process with an audience.

Unlike Julie, however, I have no interest in French cooking.

Instead, I share the plight of many women. After many years of raising children, caring for a house and husband and pursuing a career, I seem to have lost my ability to care for myself.

I am finally at a place in life when I can take a little time out for myself—but I’m not sure how to do that, if I ever even knew how.

So, this blog will be a chronicle of my attempts to nurture and nourish myself. I am making my journey public so that the many others who are like me, unpracticed in genuinely caring for oneself, can join with me in dialogue and adventure.

Perhaps together we can nourish ourselves in the ways we often seek to nourish others.

What do you think?

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