Floating on the breeze

Cat
Image by Pommiebastards via Flickr

Today is one of those brilliant autumn days. You know the type: crystal blue sky, warm but with that edge that reminds you that a jacket will be needed after sundown, and gentle breezes swirling the leaves that have fallen and encouraging others to join in the dance. I listen to the occasional bark of a dog, the joyful squeals of children at a nearby park, the cawing of crows. All is right and harmonious outside.

I find my inner peace echoing the day. Chores are done (or at least in progress and not needing current attention) and it’s not quite lunchtime. After the tumult of, well, the last many years of  my life, it’s almost a compulsion to try to find something that needs doing. So here I am, writing, reflecting, and reveling in the momentary (but I hope not too fleeting) serenity. So why do I feel semi-guilty?

I read somewhere recently that too much busy-ness is a way of avoiding the real work of internal growth. As I contemplate that statement, I look back at the events and the growth in my life. When were the times that fostered the most growth? Let’s turn this question to all the growth in nature. When does a plant do its growing? How about children? It is when they are busy, “trying” to become mature? Or is it in the silence of the night, when nobody is looking? If you have children, you already know the answer. For me, it seems like I blink and they need bigger shoes or clothes. I never cease to marvel at the wonder of my children’s growth.

Back to internal growth, though. Do you grow during those work days when you have a chaotic schedule that includes meetings, deadlines, and demanding coworkers? For me, I am happy just to survive those days, and breathe a sigh of relief when I can once again have time for peaceful work and reflection– like today. So many experts on brain needs, emotional intelligence, and life balance (such as Kim Allen, Dr. Daniel Amen, and Lou Tice) remind us that downtime is essential for growth and mental health. Your body needs rest after vigorous exercise, right? So does the mind and spirit.

I think the hardest part for us Americans is to allow ourselves the opportunity for rest. Some articles I’ve read have gone so far as to recommend booking time into your busy schedule for mandatory mental maintenance. I look at my colleagues and friends, and marvel at how many activities they can accomplish– and know that I used to be just like that. What changed me? The introduction of an angel in my life, three of them actually, who taught me the importance of guilt-free downtime including movies, snuggles, and unscheduled play.

So I have to resist that subconscious compulsion to find something to do. I think I’ll go find one of my angels and get some quality snuggle time in. Of course, there’s always chocolate….

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2 thoughts on “Floating on the breeze

  1. We grow when we are not looking. It’s like the dawning of the day, or the closing of the night. Nature, our ever constant gardener, does not host a monumental right of passage or a coming-out party. We know we’ve grown when one day, when we find a stranger in the mirror and wonder who we stare eye-to-eye with? It’s a personal celebration when we smile back at the image and think, “Wow! Well done. Did I actually accomplish ~this~?

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