These days, my life is all about therapy. When I am not actually at my parents’ house, I am busy trying to wrap my head around the recent and impending changes in my life. Thus everything I do becomes a form of therapy, and it happens in myriad different ways.

Last weekend, I partook in some of the group- and shopping- types of therapy during a day full of girl time in the Bay Area. We went shopping for my friend’s wedding dress, which she found within ten minutes of walking into the first store we visited, thanks to being the über prepared girl we all know and love. She asked for The Dress by designer and style number, and walked out an hour later as the proud owner of a gorgeous wedding dress. Easy peasy.

The rest of the day was spent in the sunshine, walking, talking, eating, and drinking. And talking. We covered the entire gamut of subjects and emotions, and at one point I realized that the strange, tight sensation in my jaw was actually from laughing all day. It’s been a while since that has happened — usually it’s stress that makes my jaw tight. But in laughing, and especially by talking, I was able to work through a number of things that I’d been holding on to for quite some time. I tend to be fairly in touch with my emotions, but even I can only do so much processing on my own. The day was lovely and therapeutic, not to mention highly successful in terms of the mission we set out to accomplish. If only all days could be so good.

Today’s therapy, on the other hand, involved a whole bunch of poo. Or, more precisely, two bags of steer manure. About a month ago, I decided to reseed the bald portions of our lawn prior to having my friend’s rehearsal dinner here in June. I am finally done with the preliminary prep stages, and decided to lay out the seed today. Thinking it couldn’t possibly take that long, I waited until later in the afternoon to start.

Big mistake. I completely underestimated how long it would take me, so three hours later, I was still spreading my nice mixture of planting soil and steer manure all over the area I had put seed on. The sun was busy setting, and I was still dragging that last bag of $&@*! planting soil over to the lawn. “Just one more bucket full,” I kept thinking, which soon turned into, “OK just until the end of this bag,” and so on.

As I was working though, it occurred to me that quite frankly there was no where else I’d rather be. For the past couple of days, I’ve been totally frenetic, unable to either focus or relax for any length of time. But the repetitive physical motion of the digging and lifting, spreading and tamping, finally quieted down my mind, and for those three painful, dirty, sweaty hours, I was at peace. My back might never recover, but hey, it’s worth it.

Therapy comes in many forms. I do see my actual therapist every other week or so, but there’s a lot of processing to do in between visits. So every day, I have to decide what will be the best therapy for me on that day. Will it be shopping today? Will it be gardening until my arms are so sore I can’t even type? Running? Yoga? Perhaps I will just stay in bed and read a book — there’s plenty of that, too. It may sound selfish at first, but by taking care of myself, I become a better caregiver to my father and support to my family. And that, in the end, is the best therapy life has to offer.

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