I have a short drive to the office every day, and over the past week, I’ve noticed that it is exactly long enough for a spirited pep talk.
If you see me on my way to my job as the editor of a weekly newspaper, you may assume I’m hooked up to Bluetooth and having an urgent and spirited phone conversation — or that I’m barking orders to a hostage tied up on the floor in the back. But no — I just have some urgent messages for myself, and I use this reliably available road time to convey them.
It’s becoming sort of a spiritual practice of mine, and a hedge against a very mild depression that dogs me from time to time. (“Dogs” is an accurate verb. My type of depression is very much like a long-eared, droopy-faced hound dog that constantly presses against my leg and demands attention as I try to make my way through the day. I’m lucky in this way; I know that depression for some is an angry cur that snaps unexpectedly at the throat.)
During my small morning commutes, I’ve found it valuable to remind myself of all that is good around me. My little monologue looks something like this:
It’s a beautiful day — blue skies, green fields, trees pulling on their summer leaves.
I’m lucky to have a front-row seat for the Ozarks’ best show.
I’m lucky to have this time to reflect on the goodness in my life.
I love my family and friends, and I’m glad they get to experience this lushness, too.
Today is going to be good.
Today, I’m going to get things done.
It’s early! I haven’t screwed anything up. I have a perfect record today.
I am so capable and smart; I can face any challenge today brings.
I work with talented people who are always ready to help me and to serve our community.
I have a beautiful community that is a pleasure to cover.
Even when I have to cover things that aren’t pleasurable, I’m doing a valuable public service that people rely upon, and I do it with a loving servant’s heart.
I am in a perfect position to bring even more beauty to my small corner of the world.
I am an integral part of the beauty as someone who both beholds it and contributes to it.
I am a perfect reflection of my creator.
I am good, and I expect good, and good always finds me.
That’s kind of how it goes, but out loud, and longer. For as long as I’ve been doing my morning pep talk, I’ve devoted all of my available time to reminding myself of my great value to the world.
It has felt pretty good.
A challenge: Why don’t you give yourself a morning pep talk tomorrow? See how it feels for you. I predict that if you take this charge seriously and harness a few solitary moments simply to cherish yourself, you’re going to want to make it a regular practice.
In my year-long “I try” project, crocheting and hip-hop dancing and djembe drumming may not stick, but the practice of loving myself intently just might.