There’s No Sin in Being Good to Yourself

A blog called “Toil, Solitude, Prayer: Writing as a Practice” caught my attention recently. It is a secondary blog for author Patry Francis who is returning to her writing after a six month hiatus following surgery for cancer. The blog is recording her attempt to add several daily disciplines to her life that will help her finish her next book. It’s such a commendable goal and I settled in to read all of the posts.

 

I found myself wondering how, just six months after her surgery, she can have the mental stamina to tackle such a regime. Four years after my surgery I am still not there. Yes, the body is healed. But the mind? Having cancer, regardless of its severity, is a life-changing experience. Hearing that diagnosis does a real number on your mind. For a long time after physical recovery is complete the mind will continue holding you hostage in places you don’t want to be. Overcoming that inertia is a bear!

 

As I read Patry’s daily account I know what she is attempting would have been too ambitious for me.  Setting achievable goals is important but the operative word for me is ‘achievable’. Compounding a series of goals over a short period of time is putting additional stress on a mind that isn’t ready to handle it. It sets a person up for failure, and failure is devastating to the morale.

 

My remedy for getting back into my writing was to set one reachable goal — to write something every day – with no pressure to rack up a specific number of words or do it within a set time frame. Maybe it was only a minor challenge but by not being overwhelmed with the immensity of a more impressive one, I succeeded. It was satisfying to look back after each week and see the word count growing. And with each success came increasing optimism and energy. I finished that manuscript and the sense of achievement was wonderful.

 

But first I had to give myself permission to find the one goal that was realistically within reach. I also had to accept that there are times in life when there’s no sin in backing off a bit and being good to myself.

4 thoughts on “There’s No Sin in Being Good to Yourself

  1. JaxPop says:

    Cancer – Not a good topic for me this week.

    I read about Patry about a year ago. A very brave & determined lady.

  2. Careann says:

    I hope that’s not hinting at a problem. (E-mail if you prefer.) I admire Patry’s determination to get back into stride although after reading of her daily disciplines I do wonder if she is requiring a lot from herself.

  3. JaxPop says:

    In my case, it’s no big deal – but when you hear you’ve got it, you wanna get rid of it ASAP. All is good. Thanks.

  4. joylene says:

    My experience was so long ago that I can’t remember much right now. I think having 5 boys probably helped. I had no time to think. The only real horrible thing that comes to mind is they stuck me on the maternity ward. My roommate was a 15-yr-old girl who’d just given birth. I spent more time in the nursery rocking her baby than she did. In fact, I think she only showed up once. I wonder how that baby turned out.

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