Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Me-Time

It's cold in the mornings, now. The temperature in the house drops into the low 50s during the night, and the grass outside is crunchy with frost. It is weather that encourages you to cuddle back under the comforter, tucking the flannel sheets around you and a partner. It's weather that calls for steaming mugs of sweet coffee in the morning, and fragrant herbal teas in the evenings. It's cold enough for sweaters, but not cold enough to warrant turning on the heat or pulling out the winter jackets. It's . . . perfect.

This is my favorite time of year, which I cherish as the leaves turn and fall, the chipmunks scurry around with bulging cheeks full of nuts and stolen vegetables from the garden. My tomatoes are done, as are the green beans. It's time to harvest what's left, except for the few staying on the vine to dry for seed for next year. It's time to invest in mums and pumpkins and Indian corn.

It's also my favorite time of year because I'm still organized. I always go into a frenzy of organization for kids returning to school, and my schedules haven't broken down yet. By 8:30am, everyone is gone from the house and I settle myself down with a cup of coffee and the morning news. I play meditation music and take a half hour all to myself. Some days it feels like stolen moments of heaven. Other times, I find it hard to get past the guilt of taking me-time when I should be doing dishes or laundry or organizing the pantry. Those me-times are important, too, though. Some days, mostly the days when I feel guilty about it, the me-time is VERY necessary.

Taking time for the self is such a hard thing, especially in our North American Hustle'n'Bustle society. There's this idea that we have to be Doing Something every minute of the day. We're no longer driven by the need to accomplish X or Y or Z. Instead, we're just driven, pushed to unendingly grind against the world, not stopping because there's literally so much work to be done that to dare take time for the self is to take time away from giving to everyone else. Children and employees are no longer rated on what they learn or receive praise for completing work early. Instead, they're simply handed the next task, without a thank you or a good word.

So how do we get out of our self-made trap? Dare to take some me-time. Be a rebel, and spend five minutes in meditation. Be alright with showing up 15 minutes late to your next task if it means you get what you need.

We see it all the time, what I call "the oxygen mask notice." We have to take care of ourselves first and foremost, because if we don't, we won't be able to help others. In not taking me-time, we're crippling our ability to be there for our family and friends. The down time that allows our souls and hearts to heal, rest, and rejuvenate is absolutely necessary.

So stop and look at the field of golden grain down the road. Pick apples and then sit under the tree and eat one while you scan the newspaper. Take a hot bath with a cup of tea, and let the water sooth you inside and out. Shut the rest of the world out for just a little while, and let yourself be content with relaxing.

It's okay. You have permission.

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