Healing Among the Colors of the World
While I was still on the mend from two weeks of ill health, my Dear Husband (DH) MaxZine and I boarded a plane last Friday to head to Sarasota, Florida. We flew down for the weekend to spend quality time with MaxZine’s Mom and for me to perform during our stay.
From the moment we disembarked from the airplane, my body and my spirit instantly began to feel better. I left a cold and wintry Tennessee and landed in the warmth of a region much further south. In my mind, I pursued an intention to let my body relax and not do anything too strenuous—to breathe deeply, get plenty of rest, and absorb as much Florida sun as possible.
Healing has not been an intuitive practice for me in the past. I am generally the type of person who gets numerous tasks done within a day without paying attention to how I am feeling at the moment. Burnout has often been a big challenge for me, and maybe this recent bout of illness was a sign that my body’s reserves for strength and recovery were depleted. Being sick forced me to slow down, rest, and do nothing. Perhaps on a more regular basis, I need to figure out how to do this for myself (without my body going on strike).
Well, a change of scenery, outdoor sun, fresh air, and plenty of sleep seemed to do the trick this time around. Every night during our stay, I slept a full 8 hours. I took a nap at least once each day. I went on long, slow, and meandering walks through downtown. I also ate very light during this trip and kept sweets and heavy, fatty foods at a minimum. We shared several wholesome meals with DH’s Mom.
I also enjoyed a visual feast during our stay.
Several murals made my heart swell.
Look up toward the sky at the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, and you will see this.
Then, look down upon a Sarasota street and enjoy this.
I saw gorgeous art at the Ringling Museum and sweet-smelling roses in their gardens.
I spent a lazy morning lounging on a beach while DH went on a long coastal bicycle ride. I sat on a beach towel and stared out into the Gulf of Mexico. (I did not know how badly I needed to do this. It was life-affirming.) The salty air, the texture of sand under my feet, and the sound of tumbling waves felt like home.
Several birds stopped by to say hello.
I spent an hour on Sunday afternoon serenading an audience on a lovely baby grand piano. This was heavenly.
I flew back home Monday night feeling refreshed and equipped with lots of ideas for how to take better care of myself moving forward.
Get plenty of rest on a regular basis.
Feel the sun on my skin as often as possible (especially in the winter).
Deeply breathe in fresh, outdoor air every day.
Play music for myself and others every chance I get.
Take the time to greet friendly animals whenever they approach.
Go on slow, meandering walks every day to absorb the outdoors.
Seek out beauty and inspiration wherever I go.
Hug DH ferociously multiple times in a day.
Of course, none of this is new or rocket science, but no one ever taught me how to pay proper attention to my body when I was a kid in school. “Fatigue” and “burnout” were never words teachers emphasized or explored. As an adult, recovery and self-care continue to be hard lessons for me to learn.
To be fair, getting sick is a natural part of life. I have lost count of how many times I have had a cold or fever. I will always be susceptible to viruses and bugs no matter how hard I try to strengthen my body. Perhaps it will be more important to be gentle with myself in times of sickness and not obsess over what I could have done to prevent it. I can let go and allow my body’s natural defenses to forge ahead. The best I can do is carefully help my body heal in any way I can during this process.
With that said, I should not have to fly all the way to Florida to get myself to feel better.
How can I cultivate the warmth of distant suns within myself over the long haul?
If I make the intention to convalesce joyously, the healing will happen wherever it will.
12/15/2023: Opening Reception at the Southern Human Rights Organizers Conference (SHROC) at Tennessee State University, Nashville, TN
While we were in Florida, we got up early the morning after we arrived to visit the weekly farmers market in downtown Sarasota. The sight of fresh veggies and flowers in abundance always makes me feel thankful to be alive. There were heaps and piles of vegetables for the taking. I sampled a sweet ginger cookie and some delicious Mediterranean food as we strolled by all of the local merchants and farmers. What I love about these markets is that they are not huge corporate affairs with slick advertising everywhere. Small businesses run by local families are always worth supporting. We walked away with fresh greens at good prices. I will always visit a farmers market every chance I get.
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