Two Questions to Get You from Wallowing to Wellness

Choosing wellness over wallowing is not always easy.

IMG_7094Especially when we look out our bedroom window in the morning, and it seems like overnight the backyard filled up with a deep, dark, slurry of all the challenging emotions we aren’t quite ready to face without a strong cup of Starbucks in our hand.

It’s what was happening to me these past couple of days as I was adjusting to life after a big passionate project wrapped and I arrived home to cats and their litter boxes, boys and their laundry, and my teen de-planing from an overnight flight from Japan with summer homework still left to type before the first day of school—-TODAY!

Jumping in with Both Feet

I’ve gotten much better at recognizing when life hooks me and draws me into thoughts and patterns of activity that don’t serve me. But sadly, that’s where my skillfulness ends. The lure of jumping into the mud with both feet and splashing around in the mess for a while is still too tempting.

Let’s face it. Wallowing feels good.

For a moment the mud is refreshing and there are people to blame and situations that aren’t our fault, and a whole host of other ways to feel good about being the only human on the planet who is right and sane. It’s even kind of energizing to get all worked up about it.

But today, I didn’t want to wallow.

I know that wallowing never ends well, because at some point you have to climb out of the mud to cook dinner—-and then it can take days to get all the dirt off. You keep finding it behind your ears, and under your fingernails—-even in your belly button. You keep stumbling on reminders of what sent you tumbling, and for a long while, nothing of substance gets done.

Getting to the Bottom of It

So this morning, just as the mud was cresting my knees, I decided to get out.

“What’s going on?” I asked myself. “What is really going on?”

Fear, uncertainty, follow up phone calls, pieces of my life that needed to be put into place, holes I was not sure how I would fill. Feeling overwhelmed. Kind of alone. Weighty. Wallowing.

“Ahhh! I get it. You’ve got a lot going on right now. I get that it doesn’t feel good, and going back to bed seems like a really good idea.”

Simply acknowledging my feelings—-being able to put my finger on what was bothering me—-created space and gave me something to work with. It also gave me just enough energy to be open to the next big anti-wallowing question:

“What can I do right now to feel just a little bit better?”

Of course, my ten-minute walk came to mind, even though I had no faith it would help me out of the pit today. But I gave it a shot, and by the time I reached the other side of the pavement, I felt . .  just . . .  a little . . .  bit . . .  better.

I had my phone, so I began snapping pictures of the walking path and my view up to the mountains. Looking through the lens at the Sycamore trees shedding their late summer leaves, I felt a hint of fall. I was reaching, but in that moment, I convinced myself that my favorite season was here.

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Then I remembered my best friend from Georgia called yesterday. I’ll call her back as I walk, I thought. We always laugh.

She picked up, and told me that she was on her computer typing with her golden retriever, Jonesy, sitting in her lap. What did I tell you? I imagined Jonesy slobbering all over the keyboard, trying to convince her to play instead of type. It made me smile.

We began to talk about our businesses.

I make people feel good about wellness, she has an amazing product called YogaKnees™  that makes people (and their knees) feel good while practicing yoga! How cool is that? We’re both going through growing pains, but we discussed how we could help each other. She’s a forever friend. The feeling of aloneness I had earlier eased.

And then she said, “Meg. We have a choice not to fall prey to our day. If we go with our spirit, instead of our brains, we’ll be much happier. We’ve got to do this!”

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Wellness Feels Good!

And there it was.  Wellness in all its glory. The exact message I needed to hear to stop wallowing and step back into the magnificent messiness of my day and my life.

Later, a funny e-mail from my sister and an offer of help from my brother. Then some time to write the rest of the way through all this wallowing, and a triumphant first day of school for my kids.

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Baja inspired dinner.

By 5 o’clock, the sludge in the backyard was gone and I had enchiladas in the oven for dinner.

Wellness Always Wins

Sometimes we have to wallow. In fact, if you don’t get destructive about it, a good pity party while binge watching your favorite series on Netflix can provide some much needed relief from always manning up to life.

But when you’re ready to get productive again—when you’re sick of wallowing and want to feel well—-two simple questions can get you there:

1.  “What is really going on?” (Take a moment and feel for the answer. Acknowledge what’s going on using the compassionate voice of your best friend and their slobbering dog.)

and then . . .

2.  “What do I need to do right now to feel just a little bit better?” (Be patient. It will come to you.)

Trust me, I still have a ways to go with my anti-wallowing practice, but today was a reminder that wellness trumps wallowing every time—-and there’s no messy clean-up afterwards!

Feel good. Be well. Meg

Is anybody else out there taking a mud bath over something going on in your life? What do you do to step out of the pit? I’d love to know!

. . . or try this week’s wellness prompt on your own:

IMG_7108Wellness Prompt: Try answering the two anti-wallowing questions on paper so you have them handy when you’re knee deep in sludge. Think of something that gets you hooked and makes it difficult for you to lighten up. Then write a go-to list of simple things you can do to feel . . . just . . . a little . . . bit . . . better. Tape it up on your office wall where you can see it and use it to walk your way back to wellness. 10-minute write . . . go!

14 Comments on “Two Questions to Get You from Wallowing to Wellness

  1. I’ve started focusing on the second question both with myself and with my daughter. With myself it’s reminding myself I have the ability to make myself feel better if I choose and with her – – since she’s young – – it’s helping her learn how to self soothe.

    • Wow! I can’t imagine where I would be if I learned this as a young girl instead of now! I think these things are actually more important than school. Way to go, mom! Thanks for visiting.

  2. I just simply adore the way you think!!!! You are an amazing woman I am honored to say that I have known you since you were a amazing little girl 🙂

    • Thanks so much Tracey! Right back at you–and the Starbucks line was for you! And so fun to watch your dog fostering adventures. You sure have saved a lot of lives.

  3. Thank you for this Meg. I have been in a deep wallow this year until recently. You wrote about my way out. Recognize and guestion what is going on. I reached out and began to talk to my best friend,to find she was in wallow also. That alone takes a huge layer off. We decided on our next right moves and check in with support. We think of this time as the wabi-sabi phase in our lives,applied with love and mindfulness.

    • It’s amazing how many of us are wallowing alone! We need to start wallowing together . . . that could actually be fun. I love the “wabi-sabi” idea for this time of our lives. So true–but I have a sense that it is rich with wisdom if we do as you suggest: live with love and mindfulness. Thanks for chiming in. Great thoughts.

  4. Hmm… this piece of advice could really come in handy in the next couple weeks. Thank you for sharing!

    • Ha! Always good to be thinking ahead and have a plan. Hope it helps. Let me know!

  5. I wallow as little as possible, because I know once I start, it’s hard to get out of that mud! When I feel a wallow coming on, I either do a yogic sun salutation, or dance in the middle of wherever I am, or sing a tune (off key, always off key). It helps. That and a long walk and a deep hug from my guy.
    Great post. Great blog you have.

    • Yep . . . that’s my goal . . . to not even step in–and I love your ideas–a quick yoga pose or some music. Simple and effective. Thanks for stopping by.

  6. Meg,

    I marvel at the way you take “everyday life” and show me how to see it differently. And with a beautiful twist, that always rings true. You make me exceedingly grateful to have a wonderful mentor and friend like you.
    Please, please, please keep the wisdom coming! Keep me, and the world, focused on what matters in life.
    Deb

  7. Meg…my mud bath is daily with my toddler. I get so frustrated with her constant no’s and tantrums and sometimes I go to Target for paper towels for like 4 hours just to get out of the house. I love her and she is an amazing little human but sometimes she does get the best of me. I need to stop getting muddy over my toddler situation and find better ways to cope then my 4 hour target runs.

    • I knew there was a reason I liked you! I spent a lot of time in the mud when my kids were that age. Dentist appointments seemed to be the only place I could find some peace and quiet–kind of like your toilet paper run! I think if I had it to do over again, I might only change the way I talked to myself about it–allowing myself to acknowledge that it isn’t always easy, finding wellness places like Target or Barnes and Noble (my favorite) where I can go to get in touch with myself again, asking for help more often. Because I think the mud often is more about beating ourselves up than just allowing things to be just what they are–the challenging mommy years. And guess what–they grow up–and it becomes a lot more fun! I’ll look for you next time I’m at Target!

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