Recently I saw a quote that said to take time for yourself until you become yourself again. This resonated with me, deeply. Over the past few years I have spent quite a bit of time alone. Undoing, unraveling to get to me.
People on the outside don’t understand (usually). There is so much pressure on being social, on participating in activities. The reality is that when you are working on becoming yourself (whoever it is that you want to be) that there isn’t always much left in the internal energy tank. Restoring a building or artwork is time consuming work. Restoring your soul is too. Especially when you realize how much of it is covered by years of neglect. Just as it takes time to strip layers of paint and dirt off of what was once a gorgeous piece of woodwork that has been sat in a corner and unused, it also takes time to pull away the debris in us that covers parts of our soul.
We get so caught up in working, in just making it from day to day that we forget to clean out those corners where creativity and curiosity live. For some of us there are corners where affection and love got packed away for safe keeping and we have to pull all of the boxes out of that storage and begin opening the packaging to pull out these beautiful treasures and clean them up to be utilized again.
While it is easy to make hasty judgments when people pull themselves into a cocoon of solitude, what we should remember is that we don’t know what they are moving to solitude for. We all need that time sometimes and we receive these conflicting messages of taking time yet being social. What we really need to do is follow our gut, those instincts within us that always know what is best. If we just silence everything else and listen. A big key here is to learn to also silence the guilt that often pops up when we are doing something for ourselves. It isn’t selfish to take time.
Take time. Let yourself do what you need to for your sanity and soul. We are rushed all week with little time to slow down and let our brains relax. Find what feels right for you and create your oasis. If we are lucky we find others who understand this and help build that oasis of escape with us.
I should note here that I have struggled with this need for an oasis, feeling like I should be able to keep pushing from day to day without being affected by the lack of time to really recharge. I have now reached the point where I can tell that notion to “duck off” and no longer feel bad about the need to hole myself up into solitude. There are days when the recharge requires sweat inducing yard work or aggressive housecleaning. There are other days when that recharge looks more like yoga and reading. Then there are other days when that recharge means letting go of the weight of everything I need to get done, of every fear that sneaks up on me, of the stress of life and just letting tears fall. This one is hardest for me and yet it is incredibly good at cleaning out the boxes inside that are the most difficult to open and sort through.
One of the easiest and best ways to recharge that I have found is to get out into nature. To let that wash away everything and to focus in on the simple and uncomplicated way nature functions. The following pictures are from a weekend walk, a short bit of energy restoration that is as essential to me as coffee is. Yesterday morning there was fog everywhere around me and it felt like it was inside of me too. Mellie and I headed to a favorite local walking spot and the walk through the fog was a mindful and active meditation for me. We slowed down, she sniffed more and I let all the cares fall to get lost in the magic of the world around me that was blurred by this fog. This did not completely recharge me, but it gave me enough juice to push my way into another week on this spinning ball.
The big thing I have found with this (and what so many articles tell us) is that if you do not take care of yourself and recharge you cannot effectively be there for yourself of anyone else. Running on empty eventually destroys us. The world will never force us to recharge, but our bodies will. Instead of waiting for that to happen, take control and set your own time. In doing so we make it easier to fully enjoy our time with others and our time when we are not on the go. The quality of time we spend is vital to a fulfilled life. This morning I woke up still feeling a bit weary and it hit me really hard when I realized that I had these few precious hours with someone I care for deeply that I wasn’t completely present for because my battery was so depleted. This happens, we all experience it, and I cannot beat myself up for it now. However, I can remind myself to recharge adequately so that I can focus on the being present at the important moments. Those precious hours are more important to me than all the cares and worries and I don’t want to let the worries of the world steal any of that time from me. That time that I cannot get back once it has passed.
Whatever recharges you, take the time to do it. All those other things you need to do will still be there when your batteries are charged and ready to go. Recharge for yourself and for those you love (human and fur baby).