Shadow comforts are the things we do (often in the name of comfort) that don’t replenish us, and time monsters are the choices that take us away from our dreams of what we really want to create or experience.
While recently preparing a sampler class on this subject, I, of course, was paying close attention to my own patterns. One morning, feeling frustrated with myself for scarfing down nut crackers, I suddenly wondered, “What would happen if I were grateful for these habits? What might shift or be revealed?”
So in the spirit of love and gratitude, I wrote this:
Dear nut crackers ripped from the package and crammed into my mouth, crunch after crunch: Thank you for teaching me I can bite hard into life and trust myself to handle whatever life brings. Thanks for reminding me of my grit rather than my whine, and that the grit makes the pearl, not the other way around.
Dear sea-salt-and-almond dark chocolate, gobbled two or three squares at a time while I’m doing something else: Thank you for teaching me to stop and savor the fullness of my life. Thank you for giving me the chance to remember not to miss a thing. Thank you for reminding me to feel everything.
Dear Facebook feed, Twitter stream, email, email, email: You so beautifully remind me that every time I search frantically for connection, it is already here — in the connection with myself. And in the hummingbirds outside my window, in the fir tree and the Chinese maple; in the light in Bob’s eyes and the devotion in Luna’s; in my sweet daughter’s love waving hi across the inland sea; in the wind, the poems, the stories. I am always connected.
Dear busy, tight flutter of anxious doing: Thank you for reflecting back to me how much I love to help, to serve, and that my soul’s lesson is to serve myself, and to savor life, first. You are so very good at teaching me this again and again and again…
Dear chocolate again: Thank you for reminding me to open the door to my true desires. I don’t often really want you. Thank you for reminding me to ask, “What do I really want?” and to remember this is my life to choose.
And if I choose chocolate or email or that box of gluten-free almond crackers? Then well done. For, whatever choice I make, I have learned to choose boldly and completely.
I thank you, my companions of food and distraction, for always welcoming me home. You will never stop appearing, and now I see that is very good news. Because now I know to welcome you, to bow to you, for relentlessly helping me awaken to this life.
May we each welcome what seeks to help us live our true lives.
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Jennifer Louden helped start the self-care movement with her first bestselling book, The Woman’s Comfort Book. She has written five more books, including The Life Organizer, just out in paperback.