My face has been breaking out in acne spots. This has been going on for weeks and I've tried all sorts of things to clear my skin. New face wash routines, creams, heat-pads, more sleep, more drinking water, different diet. All these things.
Symptoms. Symptoms of stress. I've been trying to treat symptoms instead of addressing the underlying issue. I don't think I am alone in my folly here.
Today I am thankful for acne. I'm thankful that our bodies try to speak to us.
Mine is asking, "What happened to your smile? Where is the bounce in your step?" My body put a post-it note on my face that says, "slow down and try to find yourself."
So I breath in big gulps of air. I sit down now, if only for a couple of minutes.
I'm trying to do good things for the right reasons, too.
You see, I feel this weight to teach my children wisdom and goodness and truth. The danger comes when this responsibility to teach them becomes my main motivation for everything I do.
Like when I read my scriptures just so that the can see me read my scriptures.
I've stopped doing things for the sheer joy. Instead I have been doing things out of duty.
This past Saturday was the fist day that I made a strong effort to work from the motivation of personal joy.
I learned a few things that day.
I learned that I want to do good things. The things I'm drawn to doing are happy and peaceful and loving.
I found myself in ballet class, working hard, thinking about ballet and only ballet in that moment. I watched myself in the mirror and smiled at me.
Then I felt like cleaning around the house, so I did.
Later that day I found myself getting out of a swimming pool with Ossi when he was being impossible. I wanted to get out and get him dressed so I did. I didn't stew about all of the moral consequences or what I was teaching him. I just got out of the pool.
At home I braided hair and rubbed feet with lotion. I put everyone down for quiet time and sat with each of my children and my niece and nephew for a little bit of time. I liked just being still and not talking. I liked the way the lotion smelled and the way their little toes wiggled.
I stopped mid-sentence reading to our kids at bedtime and kissed matt for like five solid minutes.
There were other good things about that day but the ones I already mentioned were my favorite.
I was also pretty honest about the help I needed, the feelings I was experiencing, the direction I wanted to go.
I told kids in the pool that I don't like to be splashed and I asked them to stop.
I let my mom help me with dinner instead of being stubborn and prideful.
I asked my husband to act less like a little boy and more like my strong, protective man. (He'd been pulling little pranks on me trying to get a little attention.)
In this balancing act I would never want to become selfish, unaccommodating or all-demanding. That's not what I'm trying to say... I hope you can see what I mean.
I just mean that sometimes I put too much importance on trivial things at my own expense. When I stop thinking so much and just try to follow my body, my heart, my spirit... life works out.
There are things in this life that naturally bring unforced joy if we don't overthink things too much...
Relationships. Self-Mastery. Service.
So here's the experiment... I'm going to listen to myself when I want to build or heal a relationship. I'm going to obey my urges to practice and learn new skills. And I'm going to serve others, especially my children and husband, in ways that bring peace.
And we'll see if my acne clears up.