The month of March is the beginning of Spring, and lately it has felt very appropriate. It has also held the beginning of Lent, for those of you who follow the church calendar. This time in life has felt like a “reset” in a lot of ways for me; and I think the beginning of a new season mixed with a Lenten practice has aided in that reset.
The last couple of weeks, I have reflected on how much of a gift it has been that I tore my ACL back in January. I had no idea what these last few months would hold in them, and the space that would be needed to process and how much I would need to make room within myself for others. For lack of better words, I really have felt refreshed, and reoriented towards what really matters. I think oftentimes those two things go hand in hand.
Refresh – “to provide new vigor and energy; to make fresh again; reinvigorate or cheer (a person, the mind or spirit), to freshen in appearance and colour.”
Everything in our lives are invitations. Everything. Invitations into greater union with ourselves, the Divine and each other. I really don’t think we are meant to live in frenetic and disconnected ways. We are ALLOWED to flourish, to slow down, to say “no” more in order to say a fuller “yes” to the things and people we are being called to.
I have found rhythms and rituals to be a grounding force in life; the way for me to be refreshed and reoriented. The list is a mixture of very basic human needs, with a hint of my own personal preferences. Maybe this is just a reminder for you to look at these areas and see what might be lacking, and thus your body is craving:
- Sleep – my Mum always used to say I am a different human when I don’t get my sleep. It’s the TRUTH. A nap or a good nights sleep has helped me in ways nothing else can.
- Eating well and snacking often – I love food, plain and simple. I love preparing meals. And I realized, I need to make space to grocery shop and actually take time to prepare and enjoy good food; for myself and when with people.
- Exercise or moving my body – this is essential. Get out of your head and into your body. I need to get outside and into nature. Surrounding myself with trees, forests, lakes and fresh air does wonders. Care a little more for your body, and give her the time of day.
- Contemplative practice – I need my contemplative practice. every. single. day. Usually this is time and space carved out in the morning and before I go to bed, to sit, quiet my mind and connect to my deeper self and to God. It grounds me, and opens me up more fully to the world.
- Fun – Believe it or not, this is something I have had to re-learn. To ENJOY and PLAY through life. My internal world can be quite serious and intense, and so, going dancing, grabbing a beer with friends, watching the Office or Queer Eye, playing sports or board games are CRUCIAL for me.
- Travel – I need to explore! Seeing new places and getting away from my familiar surroundings provide a rest that is unlike anything else.
- Writing – this is the air I breathe. Writing has always been the way for me to process, express and discern things in life. How do you best do that?
- One on One’s – I have learnt, that having one on one time with friends or family is one of the most life giving things to me. I am a social introvert. I love to be with people, but preferably one on one, where real soul connection and vulnerability can happen. Maybe for you it is larger groups, parties, singing karaoke. Whatever it is, make it a priority.
Life gets hard, and it gets busy. We need to make space for ourselves to be refreshed, and to refuel in the ways that are specific to us. Stop apologizing for needing a night in and cancelling plans. Stop apologizing for being yourself, and knowing when you have reached your limits and need to change things up a bit for you to be more at ease in this world.
How are you in need of a reset? How do you best feel refreshed? What is one thing you can implement this week to feel a little more connected to you?
A Blessing from John O’ Donohue
“When the rhythm of the heart becomes hectic,
Time takes on the strain until it breaks;
Then all the unattended stress falls in
On the mind like an endless, increasing weight.
The light in the mind becomes dim.
Things you could take in your stride before
Now become laborsome events of will.
Weariness invades your spirit.
Gravity begins falling inside you,
Dragging down every bone.
The tide you never valued has gone out.
And you are marooned on unsure ground.
Something within you has closed down;
And you cannot push yourself back to life.
You have been forced to enter empty time.
The desire that drove you has relinquished.
There is nothing else to do now but rest
And patiently learn to receive the self
You have forsaken in the race of days.
At first your thinking will darken
And sadness take over like listless weather.
The flow of unwept tears will frighten you.
You have traveled too fast over false ground;
Now your soul has come to take you back.
Take refuge in your senses, open up
To all the small miracles you rushed through.
Become inclined to watch the way of rain
When it falls slow and free.
Imitate the habit of twilight,
Taking time to open the well of color
That fostered the brightness of day.
Draw alongside the silence of stone
Until its calmness can claim you.
Be excessively gentle with yourself.
Stay clear of those vexed in spirit.
Learn to linger around someone of ease
Who feels they have all the time in the world.
Gradually, you will return to yourself,
Having learned a new respect for your heart
And the joy that dwells far within slow time.”