ROADS TO RECOVERY: DO SOMETHING… ANYTHING…
Hostility Versus Gentility
I don’t really care whether you like Martha Stewart or not, but one thing I appreciate her for is her ‘gentile’ approach to the world. Be gentile with yourself!
Let me generalize for a moment. Our culture has been severely upset by the social upheaval in the sixties, the sexual freedom of the seventies, monetary acquisition of the eighties, and back to natural nineties, it makes me curious about where the new century will take us.
For hundreds of years, people in our culture yearned for a sense of gentility and fine breeding. I am talking about a way of approaching life. If you could afford it, days were filled with idle past-times, travel, painting, and leisurely sports. Nights were spent reading or enjoying the pleasures of others’ talents – singing and music. If you were not of the privileged class, your days were spent in hard labor, but nights were spent singing, crafting, or in deep conversation with loved ones by the hearth. You could revisit the places of your childhood and not see them altered or torn down.
Over the past half century we have come so disconnected from years of this cultural conditioning that there is bound to be some upset in our system. Most of us live alone or in small micro-family groups and are isolated from friends, family, and community. I am not knocking the advancements that civilization has gained for us, but many of the positive aspects of the pre-industrial age and pre-information age have been lost on today’s generations.
I believe Ms. Stewart has become so successful because so many of us are yearning for a time when things were not so complicated, not so ‘ugly.’ A time when things were accomplished only through craftsmanship, because the mechanized world didn’t even exist yet. Her life’s work focuses on honoring the small details of fine living.
How does this relate to your picking. Easy. Hostility and violence has become an accepted part of our daily lives. Every time we pick at ourselves, we are contributing to the hostility. We are taking it out on ourselves. We have lost touch with daily gentility. I encourage you at every opportunity to bring it back into your own life.
Do it in any way you can. Attend free concerts in the park. Visit museums. Volunteer for an organization that interests you. Buy yourself flowers and take the time to really arrange them in a pleasing manner. And most importantly, make your home a haven for your spirit. Make a conscious effort to be aware of the visual environment around you wherever you are and start to take notice of the things that make you feel relaxed and happy and the things that don’t.
If you pick your cuticles wear gloves whenever you can. If you are a woman, you’re lucky. Gloves are back in fashion and you can usually find very nice looking ones around in the accessory departments of better clothing stores. And wearing gloves will certainly make you feel gentile.
Also for cuticle pickers, buy yourself a good hand moisturizer. Look at the chapter entitled External Cures for some guidelines on buying a good product. And if you’re not absolutely in love with the bottle it come in. Buy a decorative bottle to put it in. This will help encourage you to use it more often and add to the gentility in your life.
If you pick your face, stop looking in the mirror and look around you at the room. If you like what you see, enjoy it and hang out in that feeling for a moment. If you’re not happy with what you see – change it. Get a new shower curtain. Reduce the clutter. Throw out or combine all those shampoo and conditioner bottles into 1 or 2 attractive looking containers. And so on.
If you feel you are too financially strapped to do anything about your surroundings, it doesn’t cost any money to clean them. This may seem silly, but little things like cleaning up after yourself will help you feel less depressed and less likely to pick.
I recently saw one of those daytime talk shows go into a slum apartment. I listened to the young girl complain about her living conditions as they panned around the room. Yes, there were rusty hinges on the cabinets, peeling wallpaper, and other unacceptable conditions, but there was also trash all over the floor and an unmade bed with rumpled clothes piled everywhere. There were things in her control that she could do to better her surroundings that were not being done. Trash thrown out, bed made, clothes folded if there are no hangers or no closet, etc.
The lesson learned from this is that you have the power to make a change in your surroundings. No matter how small or insignificant it may seem, you can make a difference, and that difference is a victory towards your dreams.
You have another choice. You can do nothing. Sometimes I feel that all the energy I spent on doing masks, applying nighttime acne creams, steaming, drinking carrot juice, and all sorts of other activities ALL FOCUSSED AROUND MY SKIN, just served to make my subconscious mind aware that there was a problem. It reinforced the fact that there was a problem.
And I simply forgot to be.
The times when I simply forgot to do my facial rituals and forgot to wash my face, and forgot to focus on my healing, my skin often took to healing itself. In other words, when my attention strayed from correcting the problem, the problem diminished by itself.
Sometimes focusing on a solution can reinforce a problem. The concept of ‘solution’ in itself admits there is a ‘problem’. The mind is a very powerful thing. If you continue to believe that you have a problem, it can become near impossible to remove the blocks to healing it. In the Science of Mind philosophy they have a unique way of addressing this paradigm: refrain from thinking of problems as problems. From this perspective, a problem is only a challenge that you have been given. It is an opportunity to grow.
So keep this in ‘mind’ as you continue down your path to healing. Maybe the next time you feel like picking. Do nothing instead.