The Plan: What a Ficus Benjamina taught me.

FullSizeRender (71)My office window at home faces north onto the avenue in front of our house.

My desk is tucked into the bay window overlooking the front yard and beside it sits a large Ficus Benjamina. It is full and bushy and beginning to take over the right side of my desk area as it reaches out from the corner towards the light that filters in between the venetian blinds.

It has survived two moves, one of them in winter, and has continued to lay claim to life since I first brought it home over ten years ago. Which means, in spite of being mostly ignored by me, it is determined to live.

Sometimes, that’s how we treat our bodies. In spite of our best efforts to ignore them, they lay claim to life, seeking light in even the most inhospitable of environments.

I made a commitment to Mr. Ficus this morning. I agreed to feed him, nurture him and to mist him (which according to the literature is best done with boiled water that has been allowed to cool to room temperature).  He deserves my loving attention.

So do me, myself and my body.

Deserve my loving attention.

And that can be challenging some days. To give myself loving attention.

Sometimes, the best I can do is stay out of my own way. Unfortunately, staying out of my own way has become a practice of ignoring what my body needs most. Regular exercise. Healthy food. Solid sleep. Care and attention.

So, today, in this public space, I commit to stop getting out of my own way and to get back on my way to well-being.

To do it, I have decided to create The Plan.

The Plan is my map to staying focused, on target and on the path of well-being.

The Plan is composed of six steps:

  1. Acknowledge the problem/issue/situation.  Be honest. Caring. Non-judgemental of myself.
  2. Define what I ‘want to’ change/shift/create.  Be realistic. Practical. Caring.
  3. Identify what is keeping me in the current problem/issue/situation.  Be honest. Caring. Non-judgemental of myself.
  4. Make a commitment to what I will change/shift/create.  Be realistic. Practical. Caring.
  5. Describe what ‘my world’ will look like when I shift one thing, two things, three things. Be positive. Fearless. Caring.
    1. Describe what ‘my world’ will look like in 6 months if I do nothing today. 1 year. 2 years. 5 years.
    2. Describe what ‘my world will look like if I do one thing, two things, three things… in 1 year. 2 years. 5 years.
  6. Breathe deeply and begin. Do the things I’ve committed to do. Stay true to my path. Be loving. Be caring. Be kind to myself. Be committed to me.

So. Here goes.

The Plan.

  1. Acknowledge the problem/issue/situation.

Over the past many months, I have allowed myself to become swallowed up in the frenzy of being too busy, of telling myself I’m too tired to exercise, eat right. I have allowed myself to drink more wine then I’m accustomed to, or is healthy for me, eat food that is convenient, not always balanced or nourishing. I have hunkered down into inertia and have become rooted in inactivity.

2.  Define what I ‘want to’ change/shift/create.

I want to shift my attitude of ‘why bother’ to ‘I care’. About me. My well-being. My health.

3.  Identify what is keeping me in the current problem/issue/situation.

This is a toughie. Okay — that’s a judgement. This is what it is.

First, on a spiritual level — It is deeper than just ignoring myself. It’s embedded in fear — of aging, of giving up, of giving into not caring about this vehicle that is the container of my being present in this world. It’s enshrined in some deep place of self-denial. It’s not about self-loathing. I know I love myself — but there is some place of denial within me that says – you do not matter. You do not deserve your loving attention. It isn’t a ‘real’ place, but it is a place where vestiges of the past still hold reign over my common sense, my lovingness towards me, and my knowing of what I deserve.

On a physical/mental level — It’s about feeding myself too many messages of why bother? You’re too tired. You’ve got enough on your plate. What’s the point? I’ll begin tomorrow. It’s dark out. Ah yes. This place is all about making excuses so I don’t have to turn up for me.

4.  Make a commitment to what I will change/shift/create.

First thing to shift — my negative self-talk. Time to feed myself thoughts of what is possible, what I deserve, what I want — is important. That I am worth fighting for. I am deserving of feeling good about all of me — not just my place of giving back to community, or doing things to make a difference in the world — but my place of deserving to look good and more importantly, feel good, while I’m being me!

Second thing to shift — taking care of me. I will begin with the little things. It struck me at dinner the other night when T. commented that he’d never been that busy at work he didn’t feel like he had time to think — I often do. Feel like I’m so busy I don’t have time to think. Doing without consideration of what the doing is all about is not healthy, productive nor constructive.

See, it all begins with my thinking. Change my thoughts and change my life.

5.  Describe what ‘my world’ will look like when I shift one thing, two things, three things.

In 6 months if I do nothing, I will feel worse. Same as in 1 year, 2 years, 5 years.

If I begin with getting conscious of my thoughts, shift my thinking from ‘lack of time’ to abundance of opportunity to take care of me, in 6 months, I will have put myself first. In a year, I will feel healthier, more content, more balanced, more productive and directed in my activities. I will feel fulfilled. 2 years. 5 years. I will be on fire. I will be energized. Satisfied and passionate about living my best, not just settling for doing my best.

6.  Breathe deeply and begin. Do the things I’ve committed to do. Stay true to my path.

I begin. Right now.

And what that means is I will get more detailed in The Plan. Like adding in a commitment to regularly report back here on my commitment to staying focused on nurturing my needs, my desire to be whole-heartedly present; body, mind and spirit.

Thanks Mr. Ficus. It’s a beginning where I see, there is light peeking through the darkness. (And I promise. I will remember to open the blinds today so you can see out and let the sunshine in.)





7 thoughts on “The Plan: What a Ficus Benjamina taught me.”

  1. good piece, well describing how so many of us feel ‘planted’ in our place – without a clear path out

    I laud your analysis and action plan

    I’ve been finding great success lately with one of the key ingredients, which for me, has provided fantastic benefit so far. Sleep. More sleep. Going to bed early. Earlier still. Not ideal yet, but being in bed by 8, asleep by 9, has not only made my mornings more energetic – I seem to have more time as well as more energy

    maybe it helps that I’m trying to eat less, eat better, exercise more – the never ending viscous circle .. but I think sleep is the key

    snoring is a bonus, as are good dreams …

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Louise, I love your plan. I have been through a lot of trauma and crises to deal with in my life but looking back now sometimes I think I kept busy in those crises as an excuse to never focus on me enough to keep healthy – because I felt I did not deserve it. I have now been on a serious HEALTH plan for fourteen months (which so far has been successful) and the first step I took that I feel made the whole thing work (whereas previous attempts had failed) was the ‘H” for getting my HEAD where it needed to be. Part of getting my head straight was caring for myself enough to focus on me and let go of all the other noise in my life for enough hours in every day. It proved to be THE most important decision I have ever made.

    Liked by 1 person

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