My beautiful daughter called me the other morning on her way to work and as we were clucking away and catching up on life, she said to me, “So, how ARE you Mom?” and I replied, “I’m great!” Her response slayed me… “I haven’t heard you say that in a really long time, Mom.”
I had just returned home from a solo mini-retreat on the North Shore of Minnesota, one of my happiest places on earth. I go on a retreat to the North Shore at least once a year to pause, re-charge, reflect, renew, read, and sit by Lake Superior doing absolutely nothing! The sound of Lake Superior’s waves quiets the useless chatter and over-thinking that often consumes my headspace. The sight of the massive, beautiful body of water, whether calm or angry, invites me into a relaxing trance. The touch of the smooth heart-shaped rocks I obsessively hunt for grounds me. The smell of remnant smoke from last night’s bonfire stirs peace and patience in me that is unexplainable (because sadly that is not my default state of being!). And, the first delicious taste of coffee in the morning, while watching the sunrise over the lake, warms my body like my most comfy, tattered quilt. The North Shore has an overwhelming, breathtaking power to ignite all of my senses and remind me I am fully alive. I become reconnected to myself, and am reminded of my connection to something much bigger than myself. The North Shore draws me in, anchors me, comforts me, restores me, and is calming, healing balm for my spirit.
A few things I learned from this most recent retreat, AND from my daughter’s words of wisdom:
- I need more time for restoration in my schedule life!
- As a professional helper and healer, giving to myself first so that I may be fully present for my clients is essential.
- Putting myself first is NOT selfish.
- When I’m restored, I am who I was created to be – Peaceful. Calm. Loving. Present. Light. Patient (no laughing on that last one!).
- When people ask me how I’m doing, I want to say “I’m great!” much more often.
So many of my clients (and friends) put themselves last and can’t get comfortable with taking some time just for themselves. Some are addicted to work and productivity. Some just want to put every free second they might have into being a good parent, partner or friend. Some just feel they aren’t worth it. Some feel guilty for doing it. Some say life is too busy. Some say they wouldn’t even know what to do with a free hour if they had one. And the list of excuses goes on an on…until; your cup is empty — bone-dry in fact. And then you give to the world and the people in your life from an empty, stressed-out, crabby, impatient place. How is that working for you? (And trust me – I have been there and still visit that ugly place far too often!)
Don’t look to “find” time, MAKE some time for YOU. I can’t stress or encourage this enough. Don’t let fear get in the way of going to that movie alone if that’s what fills you up. Don’t let guilt get in the way of taking time for you if you feel you have to be everything to everyone. Don’t let work be more important than the people you love. And don’t think for a minute that you aren’t worth it, because YES, YOU ABSOLUTELY ARE!
In the coming weeks, will you commit to exploring what ways help you feel restored and get yourself on your own calendar? Whether it is coffee and laughing with a good friend, car dancing to your favorite song, waking up just a bit earlier so for once you don’t have to be rushing when you embark on your day, or trying out “doing absolutely nothing,” – restoration is mandatory for life, and it can actually be pretty fun too.