Thursday, January 15, 2009

Being Fundamentally Lazy....


Stop the war within yourself and you will do the world and humanity the greatest service.

Ajahn Sumanobhikku


I admit to being entirely pleased most days with the freedom that allows me to take it as it comes. My days flow in and out in a very relaxed and pleasant manner. I love being retired and I love owning my time.

Sometimes it goes too far though. It allows me to be blatantly lazy. There's nothing in my world that can't be put off. If I don't feel like doing something, generally I don't!

And as pleasant as that may appear, it has some drawbacks.

The fact that it has gotten out of balance came to my attention under very bright, unforgiving fluorescent lights. When I caught a glimpse in the mirror, I looked like a very tired, very poor and very neglected old woman.

Yug! That's just not me! I may be old.. but I'm not tired, not poor and not neglected!

The reason is that I'd continually put off coloring my hair so that I had three-inch roots of very drab, ugly grey. I looked like a house mouse. The old color had not faded away. I mean.. you can imagine!

Again. Ugh!

I colored my hair the next day so I am back to my ash-blond self.

That is a superficial and shallow example but it does bring to light that certain things need to be done and the freedom to "put it off" is something requiring moderation. It also reveals a deeper message.

Thomas Moore wrote in his book The Care of the Soul that the condition of our surroundings is a reflection of the state of our souls.

We send messages to ourselves and others all the time without even realizing it. In not taking care of my physical appearance, I am sending a message to others that I am not worthy and that neglecting me is quite acceptable.

After all, I neglect myself... on the easy stuff at that! If I'd neglect myself on a 30-minute application of L'Oreal... well.... what must I do on the big things?

(And I am not, not, not! talking about fat/thin, tall/short, or any other natural physical inclination. The most beautiful people I know do not conform to the cultural standard of beauty. This was probably an unnecessary disclaimer since anyone coming here knows I don't hold those views - but just to avoid misunderstanding!)

For the most part, I like my strange little life, surrounded by my unique clutter, my books and things that bring me comfort. I live in a small space ~ just me and the doglet ~ and we do quite well, even with the mess. We are not dirty ~ but we are cluttery.

But these little things, you know. They are the things that reinforce old beliefs.

So that is another thing I must reconcile, another thing requiring discipline on my part and a willingness to give up old messages in favor of affirming, good and soul-feeding messages.

So who do you see when you look in a mirror under fluorescent lights?

~*

17 comments:

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I wanted to write a smartass comment asking if my world would be better if I became a blond, too, but frankly I cringed at your description of yourself as looking old, poor and neglected because that is how I look these days.

I've scheduled a haircut for next week, my first since last March, so I am also out of balance and need to spend more energy (and money) on my outsides as my inner life is presently richer than its vehicle.

Stephanie said...

This is so true. We teach people how to treat us. Not taking care of little things end up affecting us in bigger ways.

This has come up in many ways lately - the way that others see me versus the way I see myself. It has made me realize that I need to re-evaluate, and be sure that I know what my priorities are, and that I'm not just responding to expectations (both perceived and actual). In response to your example, though, I will add that when I look better I feel better. Even though I am capable of doing my "job" without getting out of my pajamas, I hate the way I feel when I stay in my pajamas. External and internal are very much effected by the other.

LittlePea said...

Oh but this also reminded me of how easily we can find things to dislike about our appearance but when asked for what we actually like, it's hard to do!I freely admit the vanity I have for own my hair so I totally relate to the bottle of L'Oreal.:O)
But lately I see a tired and lazy person who needs to get out and stop 'hibernating'.I tend to go into this weird forced self isolation in the winter months that repeated itself again this year. It's a hard cycle to break and makes me sometimes unhappy but maybe I need it? Who knows. I've been taking steps to be around people more often though. That;s just mentally. Physically I see someone who hasn't been taking very good care of herself...

Leann said...

I have often felt the same you way you do. That what surrounds me reflects who I am, and when I neglect it I am neglecting myself.
I dislike fluorescent lights, they are harsh and seem to bring out the worst, the wrinkles and crows feet and just harshness of the world. I prefer soft lighting :-)

meno said...

This is great. I recently took a good look in the mirror and then immediately made an appointment to have my hair highlighted for the first time ever.

I feel better because i look better. Reason enough.

Jan said...

Well, I stopped coloring my hair about six months ago. Now I am surprised at how white I look from the front (but not the back!) I think I am going to live with it--it is whiter than I expected and not "gray." Still a shock.

Carla said...

So, so true. We must be kind to ourselves and take care of ourselves.

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

It's funny the surprises that sometimes await me in the mirror. Sometimes I see my aunt Mildred . . . probably my least favorite aunt, but what can one do? Sometimes I see a tired woman who doesn't take enough time for herself. And sometimes I see my youth.

starrlife said...

Scary. I'm too tired to work on it today.

Anvilcloud said...

Being retired I understand how it takes time to get around to doing things. Oops ... forgot to shave today.

flutter said...

an old, old woman.

hele said...

I also see someone who has been neglecting the things that make her feel confident.

Thank you for reminding me.

Amy Y said...

I'm not sure I can remember a day when I had the opportunity to be lazy ... for more than an hour or two at least.

Sometimes I can't wait to be retired :) But I don't want to wish it all away....

RKK said...

Well, for me it was a friend's candid video of me...I looked up to see I was being taped, and had to walk around the house telling her to stop! When I finally got to see it, it confirmed my worst fears!

I'm heading for a haircut tomorrow...and am upping my efforts on working out.

Christy said...

Thanks for this, Chani! I needed it, believe me.

Sherry Peyton said...

Oh Chani, do I relate to this. It is so easy to let yourself go. Expecially when married, somehow, you find after a number of years, that you have the right to stop fussing. And it ends up making you feel rather old and decrepid. I'm doing some things as well to rectify my shortcomings along these lines. Thanks for bringing up the topic. And stop by and pick up a little gift when you get the chance.

Woman in a Window said...

It depends on the day. It amazes me that so many people live in one person.