This weekend, amidst a very busy one at church, I carved out some time just for me. I’ve begun a new journey using a book called Old Friend from Far Away, by Natalie Goldberg. I spent some time last evening writing and reflecting. When I awoke this morning very early (on a day off I might add), I found myself agonizing over all of the things that I “must accomplish” in my day… “need to accomplish” in my day… and “would like” to accomplish in my day. The “musts” were winning out and making falling back to sleep very difficult. I finally gave in and got up! Coffee in hand, I took my place of quiet in the kitchen, still too dark to see outside. I grappled with where to start – quiet time or work stuff. If I just got the work stuff out of the way, then I’d have more time later for the other fun stuff! Noticing that my mood was very low and borderline needing a good cry, I decided to postpone the things I know I needed to do and took sometime to write and reflect. I worked through an exercise of writing for ten minutes with the prompt “I am thinking of…” Emotions poured out of my pen onto the page. Ten minutes flew by. Still feeling down and dreading the day and week ahead, I decided to write for another ten minutes on “I am looking at…” By now the sky was lighter and I could see out onto my patio and surrounding property. My mood continued to be very say. The weather was gray and dreary and I was dreading the day. I continued to write anything and everything that was flowing off of my pen, while a song about creation played nearby.
I noticed a theme of being drawn to seeing the red things in my yard – my beloved “barn”, star on my garage, and my car. Those three things began to move me out of my gray mood. I was prompted to write a poem about color and emotion, as well as sketch my barn! Hmmmm… I don’t draw or write poetry! I really wanted the sun to shine, but decided the splashes of red around would suffice for now. My mood and energy level were changing and I was actually feeling like the day was not going to be a total loss! Grabbing my camera, I headed out into the sloppy wet yard to investigate the new face of winter now that we’ve had warmer temperatures and a ton of rain! It was invigorating! I discovered melting ice, squirrel treats left half eaten, the neighbors’ chickens, and simple beauty amidst the cold, gray, dreary morning!
Upon returning to the warm house and needing to reheat my coffee, I realized that I can choose each day how to attack the “musts, needs, and wants.” I can wallow in how much I need to get done and how dreary the weather seems to be, or I can structure my day to allow time for those things that re-energize me and allow my creative eclectic side to flourish, which is something I have never really taken time to do. My quiet time with God and time spent nurturing my creative side will build a strong foundation for the day to get those other things done and possibly with a happier heart and more energy! They will also be a sweet ending to a crazy day. Time to reflect and wind down.
In our busy lives, do we really allow ourselves to indulge in those things which bring us life and energy, or are we too busy with the things we must get done. How much more productive and happy would we be if we took time to nurture our souls and our passions and our longings? My perspective of wants and needs is changing from wanting and needing “things or stuff” to wanting and needing to allow myself to do that which feeds my body, mind and spirit. It’s only taken my 48 years to figure this out and I have so much to learn! The sun is out now, other colors are showing up, and my day seems much less daunting and sad… all because I allowed myself to take time for me.