I've Made My Bed
Regardless of where I am in the world, I make my bed every day. I can't remember when it became a part of my non-negotiable routine, but since reading about the benefits of this simple action, I feel incomplete if I leave the bed unmade. Since experiencing the tangible rewards of bed-making, I have no plans to unlearn the habit now. I know too much.
Gretchen Rubin's "The Happiness Project" reinforced the daily merit I've received from making my bed. She reports that the single action that contributes most to one's happiness is making his or her bed. Read that again, "the single action that contributes most to one's happiness is making his or her bed."
Don't believe it? Consult the infinite wisdom of Google. Countless articles site this bed-making-happiness connection. Rubin explains that, "your bed is a symbol of you. There’s something about having your bed feel orderly that makes your life feel that way." From the aesthetic appeal of a neater room to yielding a sense of accomplishment to lowering your stress level to inviting deeper sleep and even serving as the gateway habit to other good habits, making your bed is where it's at in terms of productivity and happiness.
The state of my physical space nearly always reflects the state of my mind. I've said this for years. Historically, when my room, home or office is a mess, something is out of balance. As much has been written about the inverse relationship, the benefits of decluttering a space to declutter your mind, I was excited to find the quote, "the state of your bed is the state of your head" to validate my experience. When my bed isn't made, something is going wrong.
Simply getting out of bed is hard on most days. I get it. It's hard for me, too. But taking two minutes to make your bed serves as mental training to prepare you for the things you don't always want to do. I like to think that making my bed each morning prepared me for the unexpected over the last several days.
Since returning to the US from my travels in Asia three weeks ago, the less than ideal transitional living situation I'd arranged erupted into a full-blown unsafe environment this past week. A discussion emerged out of left field and spiraled quickly into an actual threat of violence. Luckily, a steady mind gifted me the ability to pause. A steady mind gifted me the presence not to escalate the situation. A steady mind gifted me the ability to do something I didn't want to do, listen rather than talk, since so much was yearning to be said - to defend, to attack, to set the story straight.
Just because I'd made my bed didn't mean I had to lie in it.
Instead, I chose to pack my things and flee. Luckily, I was not alone. Luckily, I have resources and community, despite feeling alone and utterly obliterated over these last couple days. Though I'm still reeling from the situation and continue to process it, I work diligently each day to ensure that the states of my head and heart are clear.
Through meditation, writing, prayers, intentions and ritual, I actively cultivate a steady mind and an open heart. I am kind and giving. I engage in acts of service, even on my darkest days. I aim to lift my spirits and the spirits of others directly and indirectly. I even choose to send love to the perpetrator and instigator of the threats the other night. May they find their way to the peace. May they resolve the pain in their hearts.
I am grateful for the friends who have stepped in to selflessly give of their resources. I've actively sought self care to ensure that I am balanced. The past few days have not been easy. I certainly have moments where anger and upset flood my thoughts. Nothing can prepare any of us for violence or threats of violence. My friends, violence towards yourself or others is never the answer.
Seek help. Pray. Get a breath of fresh air. Dance. Write. Spend some time in nature. Take a deep breath. Cry. Seek solace in the company of a trusted friend. Schedule a healing session. Move. Close your eyes. Center. Know that all is well. Trust that you will be okay and for God's sake (and for your sake) make your bed. ♥
If you or someone you know is in danger, please seek help. Battles are not meant to be fought alone. If you or someone you know is hurting, please help them in any way that you can without putting yourself in harm's way. We can't do these things alone. Love one another. There is help out there. Some resource numbers include: The National Suicide Hotline: 1 (800) 273-8255 and 1−800−799−SAFE (7233). ♥