Just Rewards

by Pari Noskin Taichert

There’s an envelope in my bedroom with a gift certificate to a local day spa. It sits on a table, semi obscured by unfolded laundry and skittery mounds of mismatched books, waiting. Dust films its creamy beige exterior.

When my husband bought it for me last Feburary, I thought I’d use it right away. Instead, I kept it, wanting to accord it even more value than the glorious realization that he’d finally gifted me with a true indulgence (this, after 14 years of hiking boots for Valentine’s Day and bags of flour when I complained that he never bought me flowers. Yeah, he’s a real joker . . . ).

This week, I’m going to call that spa and make an appointment.
I’m going to drink a shot or two from that bottle of O’ban in the cabinet.
I’m going to buy a dark chocolate bar — one of those 70%ers — to nibble along with it.

You see, I want to celebrate. I’ve now written well past page 200 in the draft of the first book in my new series. And, Friday, I handed in the final page proofs for THE SOCORRO BLAST. After two years, that book is out of my hair and on its way to publication. The next time I’ll see it is when it’s in ARC form. A couple months after that, it’ll be in hardcover. Hallelujah!

There’s even better news. Whatever stasis seemed to be gripping my life has begun to recede. The Muse and I have been hanging out, lifting weights at the gym, going for Vietnamese food at the little restaurant near my house. I’m feeling happy, like I’m accomplishing things again.

I’m ready to play.

Marking victories, small and big, is tremendously important in a life. The mere act of stopping to say, "Yes. I did this!" keeps things in perspective and grants a different experience of the day-in, day-out frenzy of existence. Taking the time to pat our successes on the back keeps the demons at bay.

Along with this active pausing, sometime in my late 30s, I began to practice gratitude and joy. These two emotions take work; they weren’t found in abundance in my childhood home. So, I started looking for minor blessings and tiny beauties.

Just the simple acknowledgment, every day, that my life is damn good . . . makes it even better.

So my question is:
How do you reward yourself for goals met, for kindnesses extended, for stretching yourself into a better person?

12 thoughts on “Just Rewards

  1. billie

    Congratulations, Pari! I hope your day at the spa is amazing!

    I treat myself in a number of ways in similar situations. For a long while I wrote in my therapy office, which happened to be near a gourmet market. During those years a box of special tea and a single truffle was a favorite way to mark something special in the writing.

    Awhile back I bought a lovely eggplant-colored teapot with a beautifully printed floral cozy. It still makes me happy. 🙂

    I’ve been working hard lately, in all spheres of my life, and I decided the other day that after this week comes to an end (and a few projects that require my attention are done) I’m going to the local tack shop and buy a pair of deerskin full-seat riding breeches, a shirt, and a pair of the fanciful knee-high socks that go under boots/half-chaps. 🙂 I have a slew of riding clothing that serves me well, but these breeches represent something special. I don’t really *need* them but I WANT them.

    This fall I’m also treating myself to a wonderful workshop that meets monthly for 4 months on fairy tales and sandplay and how the tales can help us transform. The first meeting I walked out of there wearing a flashing tiara on my head – very fun group of women! In May I’m going to the national sandplay conference in Savannah – the best part is that these are for my therapy work but they also inform my writing and renew my spirit. I love when things dovetail together that way. 🙂

    Thanks for the chance, this Monday morning, to read and write a bit about the importance of marking accomplishments and celebrating what we do in both little and large ways.

    I am waiting for The Socorro Blast!!

  2. pari

    Billie,What a lovely way to start MY day. Thank you.

    I love that you’re going to reward yourself with those riding clothes . . .

    What’s sand play? It sounds wonderful.

  3. JT Ellison

    Fabulous, Pari! Congratulations on getting everything in order. Can’t wait for Socorro!

    I am all about the indulgences. I reward myself with books mostly, though a lovely dinner and an excellent bottle of wine comes into play more often than the checkbook likes. Hubby gets to be the beneficiary of my progress, so he rarely complains.

    But when I finish a book, the true “It’s done, will be back in ARC form” — I get a massage. It helps get rid of all the tension and stress I’ve let build up, and clears my mind for the next round.

    My goal is to be able to get a massage once a week. Not finish a book a week, but have the resources that I don’t feel guilty, because there is nothing better for both body and soul. Enjoy your day!

  4. Louise Ure

    Pari, we are indeed sisters under the skin. I, too, have a spa day gift certificate gathering dust. And now that I’ve turned the corner past that “flabby middle” of the new book and am on the home stretch to finish the draft, I’m treating myself to a day off at the spa this Friday.

    Here’s to indulgence.

  5. Alexandra Sokoloff

    Oh, good Lord. Okay, I’m a member of the “dusty spa certificate” club, too.

    My excuse is a boyfriend who gives killer massages, but I really don’t treat myself often enough.

    But going to conventions is such a treat that I feel my rewards are built-in to this system, so at least there’s that!

  6. billie


    I copied this from my sandplay website home page:

    Sandplay is a type of therapy in which the client uses a sandtray and miniatures to create a progression of pictures. Sandplay therapy is based on principles first developed by Carl Jung and refined by Dora Kalff. It can also be seen as analogous to Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s (or Heroine’s) Journey.

    Clients are presented with rectangular, shallow trays half filled with sand along with a large selection of small figures, or miniatures, which represent anything and everything found in the material and natural world. The sandplay process invites the client to keep the trays dry or use water to wet the sand. Figures may or may not be used. The resulting creation can represent the client’s world, issues, feelings, or possibly a dream. The therapist provides a safe and protected space by silently holding and containing the client’s emotional states and conflicts.

    The process of creating the sandtray enables the client to nonverbally express both conscious and unconscious material. Emotions and conflicts can be worked through and differentiation of the stresses and past hurts of each client can be integrated. The result can bring clients to a state of wholeness.

  7. pari

    Oh, I love this, Billie. It sounds just wonderful.

    JT, X and LU, thanks for chiming in. I think it’s funny we’re all into these kinds of indulgences.

    Have you noticed no men have posted. I wonder how men indulge. My hubby buys books and cds. Food or drink aren’t his things . . . not so much at least.

    And clothes? Forgetaboutit.

  8. a Paperback Writer

    First, congratulations and no wonder you’re celebrating! Do enjoy it.Secondly, having no male significant other to buy me gifts of any sort or to share dinners out, and not particularly being a spa sort of gal, I reward myself with an evening off of housework and grading papers with just reading something.

  9. pari

    Hey, reading is an incredible indulgence for me. I mean, reading something that I don’t have to read for research . . .

    J.T.,I hate to say it, but you’re probably right.

    Or, the guys reading this just saw the word “spa” and ran screaming — or whatever they do when they’re totally freaked out.

  10. pari

    What a great formula, m’dear. I think I might take it as a model . . . though a shot of O’ban or that dark chocolate might be more my style.

    thanks for stopping by.


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