It’s no secret that I am a person who likes my down time. I have been known to turn into a hermit a least a couple times a year, hibernating like my bear spirit animal during winter. I also like to do this in micro bits of time every day. You know, check out of real life for a bit, put down the phone, turn off the tv, and just be. I can’t do this often, but I found the more I do, the better person I am. I don’t get as fussy about things that irritate me, because during my quite time I am able to process what’s really bugging me.
I believe quiet time is essential for everyone and it gives us time to ask ourselves just what is it that we need. What do we want? If something is bugging me, how can I fix it? It gives us time to clear our minds, or if you’re anything like me, quiet time allows the crazy in my melon to puzzle that shit together so I can move forward with a thoughtful plan of action instead of wandering around my life reacting to the day I face. Time for reflection helps me check my attitude, after all it is up to me who I want to be today. Sure, I can be a grumpy Gus, but acting like so won’t make me feel better or anyone else I encounter. I can choose to be a better person than I was yesterday. To me it’s like quiet time gives me magical powers, giving me time to count my blessings, put my big girl britches on and carpe diem.
I remember one of the most difficult journeys I’ve taken on foot was to Fourtown Lake in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. My fellow Adventure Sister and I were naïve about the BWCA and we had overpacked, lugging five hefty portage packs and a canoe, while underestimating the difficulty of the portages. It took us a great deal longer than expected to get halfway to our original destination. Try as we may we could not find one of the portage paths heading to the next lake we wanted to get to. We were frustrated, unprepared, starving, and dehydrated. The sun was tipping well over to the other side of the world, and we had started before it came up. My Adventure Sister and I were exhausted. Mentally and physically we were being pushed to our limits. When we decided to give up the search for the portage we were seeking so we could finally rest, it only took us a short while to find an open campsite.
As soon as I saw that we would finally be able to stop going and going and going some more, my eyes burst into tears, an automatic response to relief my body so desperately needed. Stacy and I ended up staying at the same campsite the whole stay because we were both too sore to pack up and move. We had to soak our flaring aches in the cold lake, and rest to fight off the exhaustion before we became sick with colds too. We spent a great deal of time, doing nothing but recuperating in the beauty of the forest out of necessity. It was not how we expected our voyage to go, but hey, we were calling for adventure and we had an amazing time we will not forget.
Isn’t it funny how we can push ourselves and our bodies to the point of sickness, past the point of uncomfortable right into pain? Yet it just keeps on going, doing what you ask it to do, even if it doesn’t want too. Isn’t that what we tend to do in our daily lives, just on a less acute scale. Why must we wait for the pain of stress to take care of ourselves is it really that hard? We take care of others with ease, yet when it comes to nurturing ourselves we decide to be stubborn and ‘tough it out’ putting ourselves last.
I am blessed to work from home, yet I am not immune from stress and family life. In reality, I hardly have any quite time to just myself, I’m busy running the show. When that happens for too long it gets me easily irritated at the silliest things. I find when I am not able to just sit with a cup of coffee in silence and have the world to myself for just even a half hour that I get grumpy. Its seems every little sound, conversation, television noise, microwave dinging, it all just pisses me right off. Let’s just say I am not my best self when I am not able to check in with myself, by checking out for just a bit.
My point is to help you remember even in this busy holiday season, take care of yourself too. Your body, your spirit and your family will thank you because you will be your best self. Ask yourself every day ‘What will make me feel good today?’ then do it. It is not selfish to do what it takes to take care of you. Quite time is an essential part of that for me, the older I get, the more I embrace it. It can be hard at times to ‘fit me in’ the schedule but the moment I start feeling anxious or irritable I know I better listen. I seek nature and the sound of silence as my retreat. I will not judge your way of reconnecting, I just wanted to remind you how important is for you to go there.