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Radical Self-Care

Last week I decided very unexpectedly to leave San Francisco for a few months, much to my dismay. I mentioned in my last post I have maladaptive stress syndrome, which if I'm not careful could lead to chronic fatigue. It became very clear to me I need to take drastic measures to take care of myself. This is INCREDIBLY difficult because I don't typically prioritize self-care (obviously) and now I'm required to make a major change in order to heal myself.

Part of the issue for me about this is I don't want to stand out. I don't want to be the only person at the potluck who is eating spaghetti sauce without the spaghetti because I'm allergic to gluten. I don't want to be the person who is dancing at half-speed because going too fast feels draining. I don’t want to be the person who has to take a nap at 4 p.m. everyday but I am. I did all those things this weekend.

At this point I'm realizing it doesn't matter if I look stupid or people notice me or judge me. I have to take care of my physical body and make that a top priority. I can no longer afford to worry about other people because I have to worry about me. Sometimes you have to go against the flow in order to do that. And sometimes you have to do things you don't like in order to take care of yourself.

Screenshot from Salmon Fishing in the Yemen. Sometimes you have to go against the flow.

As much as I want to stay in San Francisco right now I cannot. I need a quiet place to rest and relax. San Francisco is many things but it's not quiet or relaxing. Yes, I have so many friends and friends who are like family here. In fact, I'm writing this right now from the living room of beloved friends. I have to say goodbye to them for a while in order to take care of myself. I'm lucky in that I'm going to Washington, D.C. (where I'm going to stay) I've lived before so I already have an established community. I've wanted to go back and visit so this seems like as good a time as any.

It's sad for me to say goodbye but I know I have to for my self-care because sometimes radical measures are required.

I dream of a world where we prioritize our wellness. A world where we do what it requires to take care of ourselves. A world where we understand sometimes we have to do things we don't like, but in the end it's always worth it.

Another world is not only possible, it's probable.

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Say Yes to Intuition

I've been in the midst of a housing search once again so I've frantically checked craigslist looking for something suitable. I spoke to my dad the other day, describing to him an apartment and he said, "Rebekah, don't say yes impulsively."

"What do you mean? I said yes impulsively for my apartment on Post St. and that was great."
"But you also said yes to your other places and look how that worked out," he retorted.
Touché.

I told him (and myself) I said yes despite my reservations and that's why my other places didn't work out. My intuition knew they weren't right for me but I said yes out of desperation.

An artistic rendering of intuition.

Having that conversation with my dad I realized that's a big part of what this housing drama has been about — I feel desperate to find a place to live because I want to be settled and I say yes because everything looks good on paper and I'm letting my logical mind overpower my intuition. For instance, I booked a room on Airbnb.com and felt a little uneasy about the place. "Will it be quiet? Will I be able to sleep well?"

I read the reviews and everyone said they had a great night's sleep, the place was quiet and cozy, so despite my wariness I booked it. The studio apartment is in someone's garage so that means insulation between the floor and ceiling is practically nonexistent. That means I can hear when the owners upstairs cough, have conversations, and snore. It's no big deal for regular San Francisco tourists who aren't home much, but I'm not on vacation so I'm here all the time. I also fully admit the problem is me. I was diagnosed with maladaptive stress syndrome, which means my adrenal glands are super dysfunctional and explains all the symptoms I've been having for the past year.

The key point though is I knew there was something I wouldn't like about the place but because I was feeling desperate I ignored my inner guidance. It's easier for me to trust my gut about stuff like, "Walk down this street," or "Talk to this person," but a bajillion times harder when I'm desperate and fearful, when there's a looming deadline in front of me.

The lesson I'm learning (over and over again) this year is HAVE FAITH. Scared you won't find someplace to live and you have to be out by a certain date? Don't settle for the first thing that crosses your path, especially if you have misgivings about it. Trust that you will be provided for, that you are taken care of, and that all of your needs will be met. I'm not saying I'll immediately be able to say yes to intuition and no to fear when I'm desperate, but I am saying I recognize that's what I'm doing and I'm willing to change my behavior. That for today I will trust my internal guidance and say yes only if I mean it 100 percent.

I dream of a world where we trust our intuition even when it's scary. A world where we keep going with our internal guidance even if it sounds like the most horrible idea. A world where we stay in the ebb and flow of life knowing that it's important to turn up the volume on intuition and turn down the volume on the ego.

Another world is not only possible, it's probable.

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Backward Can be Forward

I can't believe I'm typing this but I'm seriously considering going back to Washington, D.C. for a little while. A friend of mine offered to let me stay in her house where she has a second bedroom and a basement for as long as I need. All of my stuff is in storage in SF and I'm having so much trouble finding a place to live, so it's an option.

One of the things holding me back is the idea I will be regressing or going backward. If you know me well or have been following this blog, you'll know I moved to San Francisco from Washington, D.C. To go back almost seems as if I'm regressing.

What I'm reminding myself of is going back to a place I lived before doesn't mean I'm traveling back in time or moving backward. A physical place is just that — a physical place. I am not the same person I was when I lived there and nor would my life look the same. Yes, it's clear I don't want to live in D.C. for a long period of time, but for a few months? Would that really be so bad?

This whole thing also brings up the notion of my plan versus my higher power's plan. To me, moving forward means never going back. It means once I've left a place it's in the dust, I'll never return. But my higher power/the Universe/whatever doesn’t see things in such a black and white way. Nor are things always so straightforward. Life moves in crazy circles and offshoots and k-turns and not the straightforward trajectory I think it does.

I guess I'm saying just because we go back to a place we've been before — either literally or figuratively — doesn't mean we're backsliding. It doesn't mean we're not growing as people, and it doesn't mean we're not right where we're supposed to be. Just because we didn't expect to be in that spot doesn't mean it's not a part of the process because sometimes going backward can really mean we're moving forward.

I dream of a world where we understand forward movement may look like we're backsliding sometimes. A world where we imbibe the idea sometimes it's necessary to return to somewhere we've been before. A world where we embrace change in all of its mysterious manifestations. A world where we understand backward can be forward.

Another world is not only possible, it's probable. 

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