reframing


Yesterday, someone was reading the post I wrote on the difference between comfort and happiness and I clicked on the link and read it again and it made me so happy to remember writing it. This blog is like leaving myself little love notes; I love rereading them long after I've forgotten writing them.

Which is nice, because this morning I feel like I am drifting on a sea of fog. This cold got intense, all the sudden. It's kind of interesting (since I'm foggy in a really spaced out kind of way), but kind of super-annoying at the same time because I'm in pain.

Anyway, as a result I made the choice to stay home and not go see The Hobbit this morning. I am too sick. I woke up feeling worse than yesterday and I'd told myself I wouldn't go if I felt worse, only if I felt better. It's so hard for me to make decisions like this: I really want to go. I really hate missing out on things I want to do. (And I've been looking forward to this movie for years!! Really, years! Ever since it was announced. That's a long time.)

I could drag myself out of the house. And I'm sure I would love the movie enough that it might seem worthwhile. But I will enjoy it more and be happier with myself if I wait until I am actually better.

And my husband - who is also sick - has now taken this opportunity to go upstairs and take a nap. He doesn't get to do that very often during the week, so that gives me the opportunity to reframe* my choice this way: I was able to give him the gift of being able to rest. Ah, yes, that makes me feel better about my choice. Another reframe: I am giving myself the gift of resting (and hopefully healing), too. There you go. I do feel better about not going to see The Hobbit today.

Someone (either my mom or her friend) asked me what that lump of material is up there on my kitchen counter when I posted a similar photo to insta/ facebook earlier this week (this photo is from Wednesday).

It's my teapot cozy, which is actually bulky wool cowl I knit for myself that kept getting snagged by the velcro strips on my warmest winter jacket, so I decided it should just live in the kitchen and keep my teapot warm. Which is does very well, especially with a tea towel underneath.

That tea kettle has seen better days, no? But whatever. It's the best kettle ever. We've had it for years and years and it whistles really loud and is clean inside and boils the hell out of water. (And little Bar Keepers Friend polishes it right up, I just don't bother very often because what's the point, it's just a little patina on the outside.)

I also use it to make coffee because I have a French press instead of an automatic coffee machine. It gets used everyday in the winter (and most of the fall and spring, too - I put it away in the summer). That tea kettle is well loved, y'all.

Just like me.

(And just like you.)

Loved well.

_____________________________
Reframing is such a good way to take what can seem like a missed opportunity or a negative and turn it around. I highly recommend trying it sometime. Cognitive therapists are specially trained in the technique, but you can read about it and practice it on your own.

You might start with The Work of Byron Katie because yeah, that's good stuff on reframing - it can also maybe go a little too far into woo-woo land, but that's ok. We can all use a little woo-woo sometimes. Just pull back if you need to.

Like, seriously, am I not going to let myself be sad because someone died? No. I am going to be sad. They died. Their body is gone. Their memory is not gone, but their body is going to decompose and rot. That's sad because they don't get to live anymore. End of story. I will be sad and know that I am sad and know that I am alive and be happy I'm alive, too. Feelings are complex - we are not our feelings, but that doesn't mean we can't have them. We aren't automatons.

Reframing isn't - in my personal opinion - meant to make life perfect. Fuck that shit. As the Princess Bride so wisely notes: "Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something." 

The Buddhists call this Right Understanding and you can explore that truth more with Buddhist authors. Thich Nhat Hanh has an especially simple and graceful way of getting to the heart of truth. And for real warrior level fear or anger or grief reframing, Pema Chodron is a good guide.

But the heart of your life is you. Find your own wisdom and live it. That's the only advice that matters, in the end. Figure out how to live your life your way. You have all you need inside you.

PS: good grief, this cold is making me verbose! I could sit here and write for hours (and have)! All this week, in fact. I guess writing is distracting me from the annoyance of the cold. Distraction can be a good thing, yes indeed.