Monday, July 21, 2014

I Bird Watch So I Don't Choke People

Facebook has all of kinds of faults but one of them lately is the “targeted advertising”.  I was actually tempted to buy a product being advertised on my newsfeed the other day.  It was a t-shirt that said “I bird watch so I don’t choke people”.  While I resisted due to the fact that I would really never choke anyone or encourage others to, as a birdwatcher I thought it was cute and emphasized the relaxing aspect of bird watching.

We face stress every day, me included.   Things like traffic, annoying coworkers, relationships, financial strains, etc.  While I don’t have a boss, some days I feel like I have multiple bosses – their names being United, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Aetna, etc.  Every insurance company questions my treatment plan, diagnosis, etc.   They’re just doing their job, but it’s frustrating just the same (especially when you sit on hold for twenty minutes or even worse, talk to the computer operator......which never seems to understand me…..maybe it’s my southern twang?).    So we have to have some ways to replenish.  I use the analogy all the time of a Styrofoam cup with all the stress representing holes in the cup and our emotional energy representing what is being lost.  So we have to refill our cup.

I’ve received some criticism due to some personal choices I’ve made to refill my cup.  I love to travel and have tried to pass on my fondness of travel to my son.  We’ve enjoyed visiting beautiful locations all over the world.  With that said, I don’t have the kind of budget most world travelers have.  I don’t have a large savings account, I drive an old car, and I don’t own any fancy clothes or furniture.  My other hobbies are not considered “cool” or “hip”.  I hike, read, bake, and of course…..bird watch.   I mention this only to say, refilling your cup is priceless.  Nurturing ourselves is what gives us the strength to nurture others, to be compassionate, and to be patient.   There is a Buddhist saying “If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete”.  I think sometimes the fear of being selfish gets in the way of us doing the very things we need to do so we can serve others. 

So….what refills your cup?  Is there a hobby, a pleasurable activity you enjoy, or a little splurge that you can do for yourself?  When was the last time you did something to nurture yourself?  Are you feeling overwhelmed and drained?  If so, it might be time to do some good self-care before you feel like choking someone.  For me, I’ve got several trips planned and if you see someone at the park with binoculars… maybe me bird watching.