- Recognize this – You are justified in taking time ‘off’ and for yourself. Just like the oxygen masks on the plane ‘secure your mask before securing others’ If you aren’t there to complete the task, it won’t be completed!
- Make sure your time off is exactly that – time off. Don’t clean the house when you should be going to the store just because You want a clean house. Though a clean house is wonderful, it isn’t time spent on loving yourself, it’s a diversion, just like shopping for the household. Get a massage, go for a walk in nature, or treat yourself to a movie. You pick.
- If you are in a destructive situation, step back, analyze why you are the one in pain. Schedule some time to inventory your feelings and desires, then decide for yourself, or with someone else, how to get to a ‘safe place’, either by changing the situation or re-evaluating your understanding. Also realize, no one else can do this for you, so construct a positive path which will lead you to a better place
Never Enough Time …
On my way to work, the morning was typical, just like all the rest, alarm, coffee, shower, more coffee, feed the dogs, iron a shirt, pet the pups bye-bye, and unlock the car.
As I backed out of the driveway, however, something felt different. I thought it was the cool, overcast day, giving a breather to those of us with hot-flashes and yard work. But I didn’t think that was it, there was something more. Something mystical, something just beyond my grasp. But, as most things ‘unusual’, the feeling was gone, and I was in traffic and pollution before I knew it.
I turned the corner to pull into the parking terrace when my car began to ‘chug’. I couldn’t describe it to the tow truck guy any other way … “It felt like gas wasn’t getting to the engine. I thought I had run out, truly, but remembered I had just filled it up the day before. The gauge said ‘full’ too.”
As I watched this burly young kid (okay, he was probably about 35, but a kid to me!), I realized I was stranded. The bus didn’t come anywhere near work and my kids were both out of town. I’ll need to just walk home, I suppose. Thank goodness it was a cool day; the walk would serve me well.
I finished work, gathered my stuff into a department tote, and set off in comfy shoes I had stashed from the winter before. I left a bit early, so I could get ahead of the traffic rush and not breath fumes most of the way home.
The cars hadn’t read their script, however, and I felt the heat with each passing engine. As a second old truck’s tailpipe bellowed a strangling carbon dioxide lung-full, I decided to abandon the direct route and opted for a hopefully, more clean path through the gully. It was well worn and offered respite from the traffics’ deafening hum as well as the gases which gagged even the hardiest of lungs.
I found the trail’s path only a few feet ahead and dropping onto the soft peat of the trail, I felt like I was slipping into a cool, enveloping pool of tranquility. The green from the canopy branches filtered the light, giving off a surreal vision of fog and mist. As the temperature dropped, my muscles relaxed and my shoulders began dancing with my melodic pace.
Each step was therapeutic. The birds began singing and realized I hadn’t heard their song in ages. The small stream which dipped in and out of sight from the path gurgled and sputtered over the stones and the low hanging branches. The smell of wet bark and fresh moss rose around me. It was as if the entire show was being assembled and performed just for me.
Then … I stopped dead in my tracks. What had I been doing for the past five years? When was the last time I had been in nature, and when was the last time I felt alive, really alive?
I took the kids camping a lot, but that was ages ago. I also took the pups for walks and romps in the park, but it wasn’t the same as this. This was for me. I was the person in the middle of this ballet and it was for me. No body and no thing to be responsible for.
As I continued on, I began looking for details … caterpillars on leaves, ladybugs on blossoms, and skeeters on small pools in the stream. I swear, I saw the trees breathing, in, out, in, out … the shadows keeping their secret to those keen enough to notice.
A turn in the path showed an end to my symphony, so I decided to rest on a partially hidden bench, stealing just a few more moments amongst the bracken and branches. I didn’t want the magic to end. I wanted to continue down the path of discovery and wonder; to explore the feelings I knew as a child. The feelings I had felt every day of every summer of every year of adolescence. This brief walk within the arms of mother nature felt like home. And I didn’t want to let go.
I could hear the clicks of bicycle gears approaching, and tried to bring myself back to the present. The rider dismounted his bike and began walking down the path toward me. As I looked up, I noticed his eyes were closed and his face was raised to the treetops. He too was experiencing the sanctity of the moment, the melodious song, and serene peace of our surroundings. There was nothing special about this place and there was everything special about it. I wasn’t the only one needing a bit of rejuvenation between responsibilities and the drudgery of the outer world. Owing family, owing bosses, owing reality; everything, but what I should be owing … my own inner peace and tranquility.
Our eyes met briefly, and his glance ‘spoke’ of what I was feeling … this is a safe place for each of us … and all of us.
And it won’t be the last time my car is left to its own devices while I focus on mine!