I was vacuuming near our Christmas tree when I bumped a branch and a pine needle punctured the tip of my thumb. It hurt for a brief moment as I wiped away the blood, but then I ignored it and continued vacuuming. Sometime later I noticed my thumb bleeding again, so I took a washcloth, cleaned it up, and finished my chores.
The following day, because of where the cut was located, I kept bumping it while I worked. It was hard to keep a Band-Aid on it, so each time I hit it, the cut grew. Finally, because it kept getting worse, I went to the medicine cabinet and found a butterfly Band-Aid – the kind that keeps a wound closed, and put it on my thumb. It stayed securely in place and in a few days, the wound healed.
For some reason, this incident stayed with me all week. I kept wondering why it took me so long to tend to the cut properly. I knew when it happened that the location of the puncture would make it vulnerable to further injury. And I actually thought about getting a butterfly Band-Aid. But I was in the middle of a project feeling industrious, and I wanted to finish what I started. So, I ignored the wound and allowed it to grow.
I often joke that in my wisdom years, my suck-it-up muscles have gone slack and that I can no longer push myself to get a job done at any cost. But you know what they say about old habits.
Ah life, a daily growth opportunity.
Just last night, after settling into bed, I noticed my mouth was dry and I felt thirsty. I told myself I’d be asleep in no time and that I didn’t need to drink liquids before bed. But then I remembered my thumb. I got up, chose a favorite cut crystal glass from the cupboard, filled it with cucumber water that I had in the fridge, and went back to bed. I placed the glass on the nightstand after a good long drink and went to sleep.
Who do you think you are to not treat yourself well, I said to myself as I closed my eyes and snuggled under the covers. My small act of self-kindness made me smile as I drifted off.
“Every inch a Queen,” Marion Woodman, the Jungian analyst used to say when she caught herself neglecting her needs. She taught me a lot about self-care in the wisdom years and this week’s little incident was an important reminder. Tiny acts of self-care add up. And how we handle the little things will determine how we handle the big things later on.
© Copyright 1999-2023 Cheryl Richardson, P.O. Box 13, Newburyport, MA 01950, www.cherylrichardson.com. All rights reserved. Used with permission.