Pardon the blogging silence. I’ve been having difficulty finding time to write lately, which is odd considering I now have 12.5 hours each week to myself while both boys are in school. (Not to worry, even when they’re gone, they leave plenty of reminders of their existence…exhibit A: the viking battle axe tucked into the towel hook this morning.)
I thought my blog frequency would explode with the start of school.
Instead, I’m using the time to do lovely and important things like execute my freelance work, vacuum the clumps of dog hair, take in an occasional yoga class, prep and make dinners, run errands, put laundry away and walk the dogs. I’ve even taken myself on a couple soul-dates. The idea comes from Julia Cameron’s book, The Artist’s Way, in which she recommends you take your inner artist on an “artist date” each week. For my purposes, they’re “soul dates” and I hope to do one each week with a mission of connecting with and honoring myself on a deeper level in some way. I set a specific intention before each soul date.
For example, in the yoga class I’ve attended a couple times, my intention was to just be with my body and to love it, nourish it with powerful movement and appreciate what it can do. I may not be runway-ready but, wow, my body surprises me with its strength, flexibility and courage to try anything.
The other soul date was a trip to King Spa, a Korean sauna, which bears a little more detail. For this adventure, I had three intentions:
1. To dedicate a full five hours to being silent, still and open to releasing toxins. After five years of nearly constant motion chasing my kids around, the variety of uncrowded saunas there were the perfect place for ushering in this new era of increased opportunity for stillness. I particularly liked the charcoal room for its grounding, the amethyst room for its cleansing and the Bul Ga Ma for the penetrating but not overwhelming heat. By the end of my visit, I was able to lie completely still and my mind was equally as quiet. For an always-moving girl like me, it’s hard to get still on the inside. But, for all you similarly fast twitching ones out there, it can be done!
2. I also wanted to take another step in getting comfortable with myself, exactly as I am, so I spent some time in the women-only area, taking steams followed by dips in pools of various temperatures, all without the comfort of clothing. It was terrifying, to say the least, to be naked with other women. At one point, the attendant reminded me to leave my tiny towel on the shelf before proceeding. I’d been using it to try to cover up as much as possible and, to my surprise, when the tiny swath of cotton was taken away, I was somehow able to make it from the steam room to the cold pool to the hot pool to the body scrub area and back again without once panicking. I daresay I even felt relaxed by the end of my time there. The gap in comfort levels between me and the older Korean and Polish women scrubbing their own skin in the open showers was notable, but I’m making strides. And it feels pretty awesome.
3. My final intention was to pave the way to fresh, new beginnings. So I decided to brave the unsmiling 60-something Korean woman wearing only a bra and panties for a Korean body scrub. Scrub away the old, welcome in the new. I planked my naked self down on a slippery plastic table as Sally yanked my arms and legs and head all over the table, scouring every patch of skin on my body with a brillo pad. I can’t explain it any better than one Yelp reviewer: “The body scrub was uncomfortable, at times painful, embarrassing and borderline humiliating. That being said… where have you been my whole life, Sally? I will be back in a couple months for a S & M fix.” Unfortunately, or I would’ve enjoyed both the scrub and 50 Shades of Grey a lot more, I’m not cut from the same cloth as this reviewer, but her words rang true and I had to appreciate the amount of dead skin that was removed (goodbye, golden tan, sniff-sniff) and the therapy of the whole thing. In the past, being naked in front of other people in full light would’ve been the most horrific torture I could imagine. Now, I’m happy to say, I’m conquering that fear. It was a silly fear, anyway, when I think of it. We’re so much more than our bodies.
Since the body scrub, I’ve been filling my non-alone time with couch snuggles, live music, weddings, city exploring, dog cuddles, kid pedis and just regular life. I’ve been going to bed early so that I can get my requisite eight hours of sleep before rising at 6:15 a.m. to get the boys out the door to school each day. Until I stabilize in the new routine of school life, I’ve accepted that my blogging and social media time will take a back seat to the deep exhale of “me” time. I miss posting each week, but it feels essential to me that I enjoy a nice, long exhale before beginning to inhale again. It’s that basic, and that true.
I’m unsure of what my next soul date will be, but I’d love ideas if you have them. Please share!
Following are some snaps of life the past few weeks: Kip contemplating the sky while listening to Bestfriends play at the Chipotle Cultivate Fest; the pic Kip snapped of me after he put the headband on my head all by himself at Cultivate; symphony concert at Millennium Park; the Field Museum; the beach; baking cookies for after-school snack; my plate of delicious BBQ heaven at Ben and Liz’s rehearsal dinner in KC; enjoying the Ben-and-Liz love fest with a few of my beloved Fogel cousins; laughing with my beautiful sister at our cousin’s wedding.