Posts tagged as:

self care

being Persephone

by kye on March 18, 2010

Nearly six months ago I descended into one of life’s winter seasons.  My mother and sister had already been very fragile for several years.  Then last autumn, my sister’s husband had a heart attack and became mostly disabled too.

My mother lives in the same city I do, but my sister lives a thousand miles away.  Trying to support my loved ones in both places, I’ve felt extremely inadequate to the task.  Guilt has been my daily companion as I’ve tried my best to balance regular daily life, the extraordinary needs of my family which I couldn’t begin to meet, and also enough self-care to keep myself in decent running order.

My creative life dropped into the far background.  I’ve not been to my studio in months; and this blog has received little attention.  This seemed necessary for a while, but a point comes when the inner well needs a more profound kind of replenishment than that offered by time at the farmer’s market on Saturday, or reading a few pages at bedtime, or appreciating the small blessings of the present moment.

At the peak of this season of challenges, my hard drive crashed and had to be replaced, at the same time as all three of my ailing ones landed in the hospital.  I felt incredibly overstretched and responded by dropping an exciting new project that felt ‘optional’.  But after that I began to get sick–first the flu, then, a week and a half ago, scarlet fever.

That, finally, stopped me in my tracks.  I couldn’t do anything for anyone.  I ate takeout sushi instead of cooking.  The dishes piled up.  After the first couple of days in bed I began to pick up tiny tasks related to my dropped project. A missing energy began to glimmer.

Yesterday, I emerged into the springtime.  My son and I went on a ‘playing hooky’ kind of errand.  The redbud and mountain laurel were in full bloom and the new green everywhere was so beautiful that it still brings a mist to my eyes to think of it.  We stopped by my studio and I brought several panels back home to live with.  I became ravenous for vegetables and made a big pot of vegetarian chili for supper.  My vitality soared.

And today, I’m writing.  My heart is full.

What gives meaning is not optional.  It’s where we gain our strength.


A reader just wrote and told me that he was trying my focusing/relaxing exercise for his shoulders–but he suspected that his own tension was from hunching over his laptop.  I wrote back with what I’ve done myself about the laptop-in-lap problem.  At some point in the ensuing interaction I realized that this might be helpful to others, so here ’tis:

Start with a compact, lightweight laptop-sized USB keyboard.  Mine’s a Datavision with super-easy key action–I can type on this thing for hours without wearing out my fingers.

Next add a good solid music stand that will let you adjust its height.  Mine is made by Proline and is stable, portable, and highly adjustable.    Since it’s made from aluminum, it also keeps the laptop cool.   Adjust the height of the music stand so that when you put your laptop on it, your eyes are at the same height as the screen when you are sitting comfortably.

Plug the keyboard into your USB port, put it in your lap, sit back, and enjoy.

There’s one last important detail: taking good care of your eyes.  It works wonders to look away from the screen every 20 or 30 minutes.   But it can be hard to remember to do that.  Easy solution: a desktop timer/reminder.  I’ve been using OneAlert.  Besides guarding my eyes, it helps me remember to take out the recycling and water the plants, too. :)

Total cost?  Just over $100.

If you have other good tips which can make using a laptop more ergonomic, please share them in a comment below.