Sorry for the radio silence, friends. Remember in the spring when I said I was going to take a break from writing and marketing? To have my cup refilled? Well, I did it. But it wasn’t as easy as I expected it would be. Here are a few things I will try to remember in the future.
1. Rest is not an intermission in the action of our lives. It is itself an action – a purposeful decision to grant stillness supremacy over doing/moving/speaking/acting.
When I first got started in June, I thought the resting and refilling would just sort of… happen. Instead of sleeping/praying/reading/resting/enjoying nature, etc, I spent a lot of my hours “off” from writing on Facebook, or watching t.v., or playing games. I didn’t have a plan, and so distractions came in and sapped the effectiveness from my intended “down time.” It was summer, and the kids were on vacation from school, so of course we also had lots of family time and fun in the sun. We went to Disney, took a lot of day trips, and got some house projects done. But still, none of these things rejuvenated me the way I had realized, way back at the start of the summer, I really needed. By August, I was more tired, overwhelmed by “to-do”s, and uninspired to write than ever. I had not rested proactively enough.
2. True rest, the kind that is mindful and pure, takes far less time to accomplish the same ends than longer hours of “rest” that is perfunctory or interrupted.
So, as I was saying, by August, I was exhausted. I still feel awful for saying this, but I felt like if one more small person said, “Mom, can I…” or “Mom, did you know…” or “Mom, I need…” or “Mom, will you…” that actual cartoon-style steam might burst forth from my ears. When I forget to take breaks for myself, my normal, day-to-day responsibilities seem like insurmountable tasks. And I had let myself get to the point that the thought of having to boil a box of spaghetti made me want to cry.
Finally, my husband (Godblesshim) told me I was going away. I was to be gone two days and one night. I could go wherever I wanted but I was NOT to come home earlier than instructed. I could take a friend, but nobody that would require I pamper, placate, or provide for them in any way, shape, or form. (I took my mother. Who better to take care of ME than the woman who raised me? Who I now consider one of my very best friends? Love ya, Mom!)
We went to our family camp on Swan Lake, near Belfast, Maine. After a detour to see the Hope Elephants, which were amazing and inspiring in their own right, we spent the rest of the weekend relaxing in the sun, listening to the lake lapping at the rocks on the shore, reading, sleeping, talking, not talking. It was heavenly. It was peaceful. It was just what I needed.
And you know what? Two days was plenty. There were no pinging Facebook messages or noisy radio advertisements or children or chores or anything else that required my immediate attention. And so, by the end of Day 2, I was refreshed and ready for action. I missed Hans and my babies and even had the urge to do a few dishes or something.
The understanding that two days of real rest healed months worth of neglecting myself led me to my new mission: Carve a place in my life for REGULAR, short doses of uninterrupted peace and quiet. An hour here or there should, I hope, be enough to prevent the buildup of stress that I allowed to happen this summer.
Here are a few of my favorite pics from my “momcation.”
School’s back in session now, and I’m feeling both comforted and motivated by the return to our regular routine. A few different stories have been pressing on my heartstrings of late, so it seems it is time to get back to the work of creating! With plenty of breaks for rest and quiet of course… 🙂
What about you? How were your summers? Have you read or written anything share-worthy? Are you sapped of all energies or are you rested? Please, share your comments here! I’d love to hear from you.