Saying no to multiple things can be the ultimate self-care. -Claudia Black
Last two weeks were really crucial for me, an important part of my self-nurturing and self-discovery in my life.
I was covid positive and my whole family was covid positive including my youngest two and half years old.
When I found my daughter was covid positive, I was suspecting myself personally because I was also experiencing a mild headache and chills on that day.
I was in the office but I didn’t want to give the covid positive information to my 10 years old daughter via message or phone, I wanted to be with her with the result.
I knew my daughter’s habit, she could be very reactive very soon.
I went home, she was constantly asking me the test result, and I told her you are covid positive.
She cried initially, I saw her scary eyes but I hugged her and said, “don’t worry, viruses will go away in two weeks, we all the family members will be isolated from the outside world for two weeks. We will expel this virus from us very soon.”
I couldn’t do anything except to strengthen the morale of my daughter, make her as positive as I could.
After knowing the test result of all the family members, we all did nothing except taking medications, resting, sleeping, drinking water, juice, soups and ginger tea.
I did a little bit of reading and writing completely out of science, my professional area, if I didn’t feel tired.
Most of the time, I felt really tired.
I couldn’t eat much so I was feeling very weak.
I could feel my weakness quite easily due to fatigue, dullness, and body pain.
My body is accustomed physically to running, which I couldn’t do. Even though I couldn’t eat solid food much, I drank plenty of water, juice, soups, and ginger turmeric tea.
When our body hosts contagious viruses, we start to think a lot.
I realized this for the first time in my life.
Thinking became my notorious tool even if I wanted to ignore it.
Thinking becomes more contagious than viruses, when we’re awake.
Why is this never stopping tool so corrosive?
I have no clue.
I wanted to shift my moving brain to something positive, something creative like sitting for longer period meditation.
I knew I couldn’t go out and do other activities so that I could only calm my active brain by indoor activities. I was locked physically but my mind was not locked.
In the past two weeks, I slept two thirds of the time to decelerate my thinking.
I forced myself to sleep even though I wasn’t feeling sleepy.
The only time I felt relaxed is immediately after I wake up from a deep undisturbed ibuprofened sleep.
When the body becomes weak, the only thing the body needs is rest.
Full rest is possible only if we go on deep sleep, our mind shuts its doors so that we can recharge and refuel.
I did some creative light synthesis work in the kitchen.
I made tuna soup for my family.
I fried some onion and tomato pieces with fenugreek, carom, and cumin seeds.
After two minutes of frying, I added tuna chunks and stirred for a few minutes.
I added turmeric powder, salt, and I stirred again.
I grinded ginger and garlic pieces and made a paste and stirred with tuna chunks for at least five minutes.
I added two small chillis, a little bit of cumin seed and coriander powder, and half spoon mixed spice powder again.
I poured 5 cups of water and boiled it for 10 minutes.
After that I transferred it in the bowl, squeezed the fresh lime on top of it and took a sip of it with my favorite spoon.
I felt really energetic with each spoon.
I used to drink the soup, and then I tried to sleep but I couldn’t sleep again.
This became a routine for more than two weeks.
What to do next, I used to sneak inside my daughter’s dark room, I checked them.
I also used to check my wife’s room, she was sleeping next to my two and half years old son.
I touched both of their foreheads.
My wife opened her eyes, a mild face, she held my hands for a few seconds but didn’t say anything.
No need to say anything, I could understand her eyes because I had been reading those eyes for the last 15 years.
I felt both of them hot, I checked their temperatures, both of them were around 101F.
When we have viruses in our body either our body will fight or flight depending upon our body immunity or strength.
I told my wife to take a few sips of cold water which was next to her bed.
She did but my youngest one was in deep sleep.
Every night was a new beginning for me, I knew that.
But I was forgetting it as I moved through pain and fever.
I needed to do one thing that was ahead of me, I didn’t know what was ahead of me, but I needed to do one thing: be calm and positive as much as I could, do meditation as long as I could.
Many nights, I couldn’t sleep.
Next to my bed was a book “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron.
I used to read a few pages.
Julia was talking about our inner artist character which we usually kill very early in our life to avoid unnecessary hurdles and pain.
Julia’s book reminded me why we humans think so much about other people’s opinions to kill our creativity.
I also thought why am I so scared to share my own personal feelings?
Why do I need to share only formal words?
I’ve written many things in my diary but very few things I have shared with the outside world. Why?
Is my life only formal?
Don’t I have private feelings to share?
Then why am I hesitant to share it?
I know everybody has bad and good feelings depending on their personal journey.
Another thing I learned from Julia’s book is we have many things to do in our life, but we have only one thing to accomplish at one time.
This time one thing for me is to take care of my health and my family’s health, and get rid of covid viruses as soon as possible.
Filter every other noise and concentrate on one thing only.
I didn’t want to surf facebook because I was not happy. Facebook is the place to share happy faces, nobody posts authenticity there, everything is edited, but our real life is always unfiltered.
I turned off facebook and thought about making chicken soup this morning.
I made chicken soup for lunch.
I always fight to make ginger tea or just drink plain water.
I couldn’t pick one quickly.
What was bothering me about making ginger tea?
I wanted ginger tea but I didn’t have the energy to make ginger tea.
Was I feeling tired or lazy?
Tiredness is different from feeling lazy.
Tiredness is my physical condition but laziness is procrastination.
If something takes less than 2 minutes to finish and if I don’t do it then I’m not tired, I’m just lazy.
Lazy because I’m thinking more rather than doing, I’m accepting everything that comes to my mind but not doing 2 minutes’ work, I am lazy.
I realized I’m lazy, I’m unable to distinguish one thing out of many.
I used to stop my mind quickly, I made ginger tea multiple times in a day, drank, and slept all day.
Among many ways, one way not to feel lazy is to pick one thing that takes less than 2 minutes, and just do it.
Pick one small thing.
Just do it.
Due to weakness, I have been sleeping a lot these days but I always keep one notebook with a nice pen and one of my favorite reading books next to my bed.
I always leave one book on the dining table too.
Whenever my daughters come to eat, they read the title and they also read about the author if the author is female, If the author is male, they rarely read. I don’t know why?
I have noticed this but have not mentioned it.
Once I sit at the dining table, I read one page or maybe two if I feel so.
The book I have right now at my dining table is “The Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert.
I’m reading 73 pages of it.
Today morning, when I opened my eyes, I went to the kitchen, I still had pain in my body, and made ginger tea. I didn’t read the book but I saw only the picture of Elizabeth Gilbert on the back cover.
Of course, she was older than me, she is a white lady, attractive, and has an amazing face-cut but I was in love with her finger and mind connection more.
I asked her, “ what’s in your mind?”
Your genes are chemical engineer’s genes but how do you portray my feelings, my words, and eventually my stories?”
How did you know that I have all of these in my mind?
You are a genius mind reader, I love you Gilbert.
I’ve eaten you, I’ve prayed for you, and I’ve loved you.
Keep shining us through your beautiful words and keep writing, keep inspiring us.
I will keep looking at your passport picture everytime on the book cover when you publish something new and love you always.
But please keep updating your picture in every other book so that I feel I’m getting older too.
I wrote one sentence in my diary.
I wrote, “why do some people become such good artists?”
I was still thinking about Elizabeth Gilbert.
It was 7am.
I wrote “why do I have a headache again?”
Why do I take ibuprofen to kill my headache?
Because I have no other options.
Because I don’t want to think when I have a headache and body pain.
There is no option, Ibuprofen works only when I sleep.
This is my routine now.
Why cannot I break my routine?
Because I am accustomed to my routine.
What happens if I start something really small to break my routine?
I started to accumulate my personal diaries.
I am hoping to compound everything one day.
That’s the beauty of one thing.
I want to compound not to think much, nowadays the fancy name for this is focus.
Today my one thing is to make chicken soup, one small thing but little different than before.
I’m compounding my soup skill too.
My wife told me I can make nice chicken soup too.
She told me it’s easy, whatever I did for tuna soup, repeat exactly the same, just exchange chicken pieces instead of tuna chunks.
Wow, how do people become so creative?
I realize that life doesn’t need to change a whole lot of things at once, it needs only a small one thing to change at a time.
Today there is just one thing to do, chicken soup, completely different recipe and different taste with only one small tiny change.
If we compound one thing for a 5 percent increment for 10 years how big would the number be?
This is the power of one thing compounded over time.
No plans, no time management, no priority, just one thing, that’s it.
I don’t know how to be happy but the sure way to be unhappy is to do many things at one time, to please many people doing many things for them at one time.
We spend too much time doing many things to make a living in our life rather than building one thing by doing one thing everyday.
To make a living by doing many things in life is a circle but to build one thing by doing one thing in life is an uptrend line.
Spending quality time to build one thing by doing one thing is a responsibility.
Building one thing by doing one thing requires a solid appointment each day and every day.
Make your appointment with one thing everyday whatever it is.
Mine is tuna soup, chicken soup, my midnight diary, Julia’s book pages, Gilbert’s words, Buchwald’s new article, Hartwig’s book, one hour nap on Sunday afternoon, just a few but one thing at a time.
Let’s be serious even though I still have a mild fever.
Let’s see the proof.
Twelve American writers have won the Nobel prize in literature since 1901.
Not one of them had a formal Masters degree in creative writing.
Four of them never even finished high school.
Then how come they got the Nobel prize in literature, well, because they had one thing in their mind.
The only one thing.
They wrote something everyday, maybe less than two minutes everyday.
Maybe one sentence everyday.
They made an appointment with writing for two minutes everyday.
Their one thing was maybe one sentence, or two or maybe five sentences.
If you compound one page for a five percent increment every year for 10 years,
could you guess how many books you could write?
I am formally a doctorate, somebody somewhere gave me this degree by spending five years on one thing only but I assure you all this.
When we pass a certain age in life, no matter how we are spending our time, we will certainly earn a doctorate in how to live a life.
Living a life comes from individual personal experiences.
Any two people’s living experiences’ rarely match.
Let’s make one thing for living a life, whatever it is.
Let’s make an appointment with this one thing, everyday or every night.
My whole body is in pain due to covid, but I would like to make mushroom soup today, my one thing for today.
I will change one thing today, mushroom pieces instead of chicken or tuna pieces, which I made before.
Just one thing but a completely different recipe, every other thing will remain the same.
Gordon Ramsay became the most famous chef in the world by changing just one thing at a time in his recipe.
I hope my whole family will be virus-free soon.
Thank you for your time.
Saying no to multiple things can be the ultimate self-care. -Claudia Black