Last week, Steve and I decided we needed a day off. No decluttering, no working on the house, no excessive anything that resembled work. We needed a good old fashioned day of rest. We started the day by going to Cattlemen’s Restaurant, a 108 year old establishment in “Historic Stockyards City” with a tasty breakfast buffet, followed by a trip to the zoo. We love the zoo, and this time of year was perfect. It was cooler but beautiful, so the animals were more active than usual; it was early, so not many people; and we didn’t have an agenda, so had plenty of time to stop and watch the animals for as long as we wanted. The rest of the day was equally slow and restorative.
It felt like a light bulb had gone on in our heads: this was just what we needed to restore ourselves to sanity! I suddenly understood how a weekly dose of kindness, a time set aside just for self-care could do magical things like help me get my house more organized and clutter-free. Instead of endless doing, I needed to occasionally stop and breathe. Yes! It all made sense to me! I couldn’t wait for Sunday to roll around again so I could treat myself to another dose of this wonderful elixir.
But this Sunday brought with it a cold front. The temperature dropped 30 degrees, it was overcast, and low pressure systems always leave me feeling drained and sluggish. I didn’t really get going until noon, and then only slowly. All day I would start to do something, but then stop and wonder if that was a bit too much like work. In the end it felt like the mental equivalent of standing in a cluttered room, turning in endless circles, unsure where to start. I watched way too much TV, and constantly felt like there was something more I should be doing. By bedtime I felt ready to explode.
Sunday morning I finished reading “The Way of the Stars” — my third book about experiences of walking the Camino de Santiago in Spain. One thing the author mentioned was the difficulty people have readjusting to normal life and how jarring it feels. I thought “I feel that way most every day!” It reminded me a lot of why I love to walk the labyrinth or hike in the woods. It’s a way to turn down the volume, slow down, get quiet, and listen within. By Sunday night I realized that stopping the endless doing isn’t enough. You need something to feed the soul as well, whether it’s activities you enjoy that make you smile, or more meditative things that help you shut up and listen. Sometimes it feels like I have forgotten how to play or relax, but it’s a worthy cause and I plan to practice again next week.