Activity and rest are two vital aspects of life. To find a balance in them is a skill in itself. Wisdom is knowing when to have rest, when to have activity, and how much of each to have. Finding them in each other – activity in rest and rest in activity – is the ultimate freedom.
― Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Celebrating Silence: Excerpts from Five Years of Weekly Knowledge 1995-2000
I struggle with balance. There are women who juggle a career, hobbies, friendships, family relationships, children, yoga, healthy eating, and a spouse and make it look easy. I am not that woman. I love those women. They inspire me and make me feel like cheering for them. As much as it looks easy, I know it is not. I am constantly trying to work on self-improvement. I want to do better with balance, I want to take better care of myself and do better in my relationships.
This past weekend I was able to go away on a women’s retreat with about 25 ladies from my church. The focus and purpose of the weekend was rest. I shared a room with a dear beloved friend, who didn’t mind that I wanted some time to rest and be alone. I left my children and my husband and my house and my mess and my stress behind. Oh! It was so amazing.
I prayed. I read. I wrote. I rested. I reflected. I slept. I laughed and I coloured in my brand new colouring book for grown-ups who can’t settle into any other hobbies or stick with yoga.
Every person needs to take one day away. A day in which one consciously separates the past from the future. Jobs, family, employers, and friends can exist one day without any one of us, and if our egos permit us to confess, they could exist eternally in our absence. Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solutions searched for. Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will not withdraw from us.
― Maya Angelou, Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey Now
What’s more, the blessings have continued into the week. Thanks to my parents loving and wanting to spend time with our kids, my husband also had some time and space to himself this weekend. He worked on cleaning the house! What a treat. We even had some time to reconnect and talk before we had to pick up the kids and get back into the noise. Then last night I went for a manicure and had my nails done. And today I was able to sneak away while my husband was home for Remembrance Day and go for a massage.
I feel better.
Jake has been clingy and really missed me. He may be also getting sick. But I feel like I have enough energy to love him and snuggle him as much as he needs. Aiden is going through some struggles, I think he feels like he is powerless and left out a bit. But I feel like I have enough time and energy to play attentively and do things he wants to do. Penny is just such a dear. She is no trouble. But if she decides to throw her food at the cat or unpack all the books from the shelf, I am totally cool.
And so, because I am smart and I can figure this all out, I can see that while it is impractical to go away every weekend and spoil myself all the time, taking better care of myself and allowing myself to be alone and quiet results in clear benefits for everyone I love.
I need to make rest a priority. Daily. Weekly. Monthly. Yearly. I need to be alone and not worry. I need to be quiet and not plan, not organize, not strategize. It’s one of those things I have long understood, from an academic perspective. However, I have never experienced it quite like this. I think the years since I became a mother have flown by. While I knew I needed space and rest, I didn’t know how it could possibly be obtained when everyone needed me so much. Now I feel that everyone needs me to have that space and rest. I believe that I will actually be able to mother better, to give them more, if I take more for me. I feel like it has changed for me from being an impossible dream to being a crucial reality.
I will have to make some pretty firm boundaries with myself, as this is exactly the type of thing that I think of, and then it slips away from me and I never can recapture it. I resolve not to lose this one. I will rest.
He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.