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THANKFUL FRIDAY

Cindy Maddera

I've been fighting a patch of poison ivy on the inside of my left elbow for three weeks. I didn't think it was poison ivy because I hadn't done any actual yard work in ages. I did wrap my arm around a few trees while hanging lights on our camping trip. I assumed they were oak mite bites. This is the Fall time pest that usually attacks me, except the usual remedies that work on oak mites was not working on my elbow. I haven't really slept that well for the last two weeks. I just lay there, scratching. We were in IKEA on Sunday and I walked up to Michael as he was waiting in line at Smaland to retrieve the Cabbage. I pulled up my sleeve and started scratching away and he grabbed my wrist, yanking my arm out and said "WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO YOURSELF?" This caught the attention of the woman standing next to us who was also waiting to collect a child. She leaned over my shoulder to get a closer look as Michael said "you need to go the doctor. That woman thinks so too." 

I turned to look at the woman who was making a face at my arm. She told us she was a nurse and that, yeah...I should go to the doctor. I went to the doctor on Monday and got a steroid shot, which is a first. Usually they give me the pill pack. The first thing I noticed was not an ease in the itchiness, but extreme anxiety. I have been anxious about ALL. OF. THE. THINGS. this week. I have just sat at my desk tapping my feet with anxiety. I even started picking at the skin on my thumb, something I haven't done since I stopped playing my cello. I was fretting about how we were going to pay bills and where we were going to live when the sea levels rise and the two bags of donation clothes that I have yet to donate. Speaking of donations, I was also having anxiety about not being able to give enough money to help all of the hurricane people and the refugees in Syria. Because I'm broke. And holy crap, the lights in Suzanne's lantern will not turn off.

Michael and I had a come to Jesus talk about finances where we came up with a plan to fix the debt hole we've slowly been digging. Then I had a really good talk with my therapist and Thursday morning, I woke up to discover that my anxiety had been replaced with a case of hyperactivity. I danced around in my underwear while getting ready for work, listening to an Arcade Fire inspired radio station. I hit my 10,000 steps early in the day and did six miles in way less time than what I usually do on the bicycle. Then, a coworker asked me if I liked Arcade Fire and I rambled on and on about all the songs she should listen to and oh my god, how did she know I had been listening to that station all day!!!? Today, my arm hardly itches at all and my hyperactivity level is down to about that of a squirrel who is fully prepared for winter: still a little edgy, but not panicking. 

One of the things I talked about with my therapist this week was on the list of things that make me anxious. This would be time. In all aspects. I get anxious about being late. I get anxious about not having enough time. And mostly, I get frustrated in not having the time to do the things I want to do in a day. I told her about how I have lost my meditation practice and that I have half finished writing projects that I want to work on but can't seem to get my time managed appropriately to do those things. She knows that I get on my yoga mat every day and she asked me if I take a moment during my practice to be grateful for being on my mat. I told her that I always ended my practice with a moment of gratitude for the time I spent in my practice. She said that little moments of gratitude like that are like little pats on the back. It's like telling yourself 'good job!' What if I applied a moment of gratitude into those moments just when I sit down to work on something? Whatever that something might be. I am thankful to be sitting down for meditation today. I am thankful for this thirty minutes of writing time. That sort of thing, but to not limit gratitude to tasks you are attempting. Be grateful for the things I did accomplish.

I am thankful for the tasks I have accomplished at work this week. I am thankful for small tasks I have accomplished at home this week. I am thankful for a new perspective on my gratitude practice. I am thankful this poison ivy is mostly gone. I am thankful for you.

(This post is so long! Can you tell I'm on drugs!??!)