You have help. You have support. You have friends.
This is my mantra as the first day of the spring cleanse begins. March 1st just so happened to coincide with the first day of Lent and my Catholic upbringing (although now a historical footnote in my life) raises the urge to do the binge and purge of Fat Tuesday followed by giving something up for Lent until Easter Sunday. If you believe there is power in numbers than why not jump on to the wagon with millions of others and do a great big group spring cleanse together! Some will give up smoking, some will give up video poker- and I for the one millionth time, am giving up sugar.
That number one millionth sounds like a lot. Well, I can tell you that's how many times it feels like i've given it up and failed. Sometimes I last a day- sometimes not even 4 hours. This Lent is 7 weeks long. I'm at the end of the first day. So far so good. The reason I have more confidence in my ability to stick this one out is because for 2017 I chose three words that would guide me to a happier life. Self care, Abundance and Friendship.
I've already blogged about the first two and now it's time to talk about friendship.
There are lots of reasons that friendship made the list for this year. Friends are the people in our lives who will stand by us when things go wrong, who will point out our faults when no one will, who give us perspective, a shoulder to cry on, a place to feel heard, seen and loved and they are not as complicated as our families or partners to deal with. Friends are fun. They are the connections we have to the world outside our homes.
Through friends and community we learn about how to relate to ourselves and how to be good to others. When we stop making friends or stop making time to hang out with our friends we limit our support network. We become more isolated in our own habits and thoughts. We can start feeling like no one understands us or cares for us. We can put too much stress on our partners to supply us with everything we need instead of having friends as our release valves.
What does this have to do with giving up sugar? Well even though I grow healthy food for a living, I still cling to the patterns I developed as a child. I use sugar to numb out when I feel overwhelmed. It is a coping mechanism. In my over worked farmer brain the lettuce is what I live on but the sugar is the reward- the band aid for the bad day or for the fact that I didn't give myself time to take a bike ride or journal or do yoga. My inner child demands justice and everyone knows sugar is an easy way to soothe a screaming kid.
Where do friends come in? I noticed that my need for friendship and for self care are linked. If I feel overwhelmed and make time for friends then I get the support I need and don't start the numbing out process. Friends remind me that I deserve to take time for myself. When I take time for myself I am much less likely to fall into the cycle of sugar numbing followed by shame and beating myself up for lack of willpower.
For the past two years I have been a pretty bad friend.
I focused so much on my new marriage and on the huge job of starting a new business that I felt I didn't have energy for anything else. I didn't want to go to parties or be in public. I became more and more aligned with my working and doing and lost my ability to remember how to just be myself and relax. That is until I crashed and I just couldn't "do" anymore. I stopped everything for January and over the last 2 months I have made it a point to make new friends and to spend time with the ones I already have.
My friends are awesome people and so very few of them held it against me that I had been so out of touch for so long. The new friends I am making are like finding new parts of myself I haven't spent time with yet. Every person brings out a new aspect. Some are more bold, some soft, some brilliant, some funny. Instead of seeing new people as a burden I now see them as such wonderful gifts. You never know who or what will bring about the next steps into your future.
I also have heard from many friends that they too are feeling the urge to reconnect. We are reaching out for each other for support and community, to remember what is true and good in our lives. At North Fork 53 I have begun hosting women's full moon circles which has brought me many new and interesting friends this year.
Women in particular suffer without the ability to express and share with others. We socialize as therapy and even simple talking circles can fill big emotional needs. I am grateful that North Fork 53 can be a place for new friendships to begin and also to provide space for old friends to reconnect and spend time together.
Some days I think that the most important thing I might do in life is to be a good friend to someone and maybe the most valuable thing I have are those friends that will be there for me.
Now a picture of beautiful salad greens as I remember to listen to the needs of my oldest and truest friend- my body! Sugar is a fair weather friend but veggies will stand by you for life!
Are you are looking to make some more friend time this spring?
Join us at North Fork 53 on Wednesday March 8th for International Women's Day! We are having a gathering from 6-8pm along with a world wide coordinated event focusing on peace and solidarity with women everywhere. We will have a short meditation at 7pm and lots of time for sharing, socializing and meeting new friends. RSVP and learn more on the Face Book event page!
Keep an eye out for our Women's Self Care weekend
Coming up at the end of the Month! Spring break is a great time to relax and retreat on the coast with friends. We are planning a wonderful weekend of spring cleansing spa, yoga, art, gardening, hiking, cooking and more! Sign up on the email list below and get your invite!