Sometimes a rash is just a rash.

I need to write this one tonight. Today. This week. This year. All my life.

Why do I THINK so much? Why do I obsess? Always. About everything. All. The. Time. OK, not everything. Not ALL the time. But my mind rarely stops analyzing. Figuring out. Second guessing. Planning. Dreaming. Hoping. Ideas. So many ideas, very little follow-through. Darlings, it is a great weakness, and one that leads me to generate many, many "shoulds" and "shouldn'ts." But I won't do that. I won't. I won't. (I shouldn't.) "Should" or "shouldn't" implies a "wrong" and that isn't self-compassionate, (which is what I "should" be.) Oh, my stars (to quote Grandma)! How is a gal to love herself with the ferocity and kindness that she deserves? With the same love that pours out for her daughter? Without rules or "shoulds." Seriously. How do I actually do it. Where does one start? What does it look like? Sometimes I think I'm really doing it. And then I realize how far I have to go.

But...back to the mind-spin. It's not the analytical, factual type of "figuring" that I do. It's the incessant search for meaning that I can't seem to let go of. Something occurs, or someone says something. Immediately I search for the WHY. It's an automatic response, built deep into my personality. It enables me to be intuitive and thoughtful...I try to anticipate needs and read between lines. But I also can't seem to help myself, and it can make me crazy. I'll walk away from, say, a party with my husband with a completely different take on it. He heard and saw the facts. I may have completely glossed over the "facts" in search of their import. What meaning did they convey? Sure, that person said "XYZ" but what they REALLY meant was "ABC." Or wait. Maybe "LMNOP." It's hard to say, because they ALSO said "QRST" which definitely (usually) means "HIJK" but could also mean "DEFG" in some scenarios. I mean, think about their perspective. It's skewed by "UVW" so...

KAREN! They said "XYZ." You've just gone through the entire alphabet trying to figure something out that maybe doesn't need figuring.

Life could be more simple.

It IS more simple. WHY do I complicate everything? Blame it on my Meyers-Briggs INFP type. Or maybe it's something I ate. Surely. Because I "know" now (after years of trying to discover the meaning, and scrutinizing every bite)...that things cause other things. Eating X causes Y skin problem. Or Z gastrointestinal discomfort. Or anxiety. Irritability.

Or...

Does it? That sounds awfully complicated and exhausting, my love. UGH. [sigh]

Karen, sweetie, it's ok. You're doing great. Let the past go. Trust your self. Trust yourself. Listen to your heart. And stop searching for the meaning. Just let it all be.

My darlings, I have so many ideas. Desires. And they just keep getting derailed by OTHER plans and ideas...which don't get very far because of MORE plans, ideas, desires. Or. Maybe I am just constantly wearing myself out and my brain can't take any more. It just wants to rest. Please, Karen, just let yourself sleep. Stop thinking/guessing/dreaming/wishing/planning/remembering/fearing/hoping/deducing/worrying. And just DO. And keep doing. Until it's done.

And for every skin irritation I've gotten...every split nail or aching back or sore tongue...every stomachache or headache...every health issue...I keep searching for answers in food. It has generated a great fear of food. I'm prepared to admit that. I don't LIKE to admit it, because I'm quite capable of rattling off the explanation and reason for why certain foods are actually causing each of these symptoms (Or it could be this or that other thing causing this or that symptom, but you'll have to eliminate these and those foods again to test it out. Deprivation must surely be the solution. What ever happened to following your bliss?)...But I'm tired. I'm tired of searching for it. I just want to eat cheese. And sugar. And more cheese. And gluten. And potatoes. And soy. And tomatoes. And pineapple. And papaya. And flax. And a goddamned refined-sugar-non-organic cookie. But the sad truth is that now I'm afraid. I really am. I've spent years training myself to fear certain foods. My skin is suffering. But why?? Fuck the why. Stop trying to answer the WHY. Maybe it's all caused by repressed emotions trying to be expressed. It's sadness, fear, anger, lack of love for your badass self. Maybe it's because you're so nice. Or maybe it's something altogether different entirely. Practice not knowing. Not having to know. To understand. Keep practicing.

And my fear was that my daughter would inherit these crazy habits/symptoms/tendencies/curses. And then one day I fed her egg whites. And she got a rash. And oh man, did I lose it. I felt responsible, both for the problem (hello, guilt and regret), as well as the solution (hello, analysis, here we come). And oh man, the pressure! I was so upset and unsure of what to do. What to do? WHAT TO DO? And my husband had some calming words, but failed to understand the depth of my crazy spinning thoughts. And then when I was going over it with him later...explaining my fears, and my visions of her struggles with food allergies for life, and my own complete exhaustion and frustration with (and failure to identify, solve, or cure) my own...he just said simply: "It's just a rash." Did you ever stop to think that it's just a rash?

And it stopped me short. I laughed. No. I never once did.

As soon as she got the rash I had began to search for the REASON. The meaning. The why, and then what to do and how to do it. I jumped to overwhelm and fear, rather than just observing without judgement or interpretation. I guess this is why I practice observing sensations "without judgement" in mindfulness meditations. Don't allow the mind to interpret. Just feel. See. Breathe.

Guess I've got some more practicing to do.

I have been thinking that I am very in touch with my body because I can analyze each sensation and feel the way food affects me. But maybe I've just been doing WAY too much thinking all along. Still. As usual. This seems to be an extension of the OCD I used to struggle with. But it's more subtle. And self-righteous. En Vogue. Gluten-free, dairy-free. Organic, so I must be better than you. But still somehow never enough.

Oh, sweet Karen. Please be gentle with yourself.

Sometimes a rash is just a rash.