I was recently asked to give a presentation on relaxation. The person asking me had heard from someone else that I had different ways of relaxing and was hoping I could share it with a group of people. I was definitely surprised by the request and to be honest I don't know how the other person even knew what I did for relaxation and destressing. As I pondered the request I thought, "what is it that I do to relax and destress?" I sure didn't know how to do it years ago, thus the very reason I found myself learning how to breathe and not having a complete panic attack.
It has definitely been a process learning different techniques and things that work specifically for me. I'm still working on what I will say in the presentation, but as I have started preparing, I came across this quote from Gifts From The Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh which I just love and wanted to share:
But I want . . . to be at peace with myself . . . . What is the answer . . . perhaps a first step, is in simplification of life, in cutting out some of the distractions. But how? The solution for me, surely, is neither in total renunciation of the world, nor in total acceptance of it. I must find a balance somewhere, or an alternating rhythm between these two extremes; a swinging of the pendulum between solitude and communion, between retreat and return. Is this then what happens to woman? She wants perpetually to spill herself away in driblets to the thirsty, seldom being allowed the time, the quiet, the peace, to let the pitcher fill up to the brim. If it is woman's function to give, she must be replenished too. But how? Solitude, says the moonshell. Every person, especially every woman, should be alone some time during the year, some part of each week, and each day. Quiet time alone, contemplation, prayer, music a centering line of thought or reading, of study or work. It can be physical or intellectual or artistic, any creative life proceeding from oneself. It need not be an enormous project or a great work. But it should be something of one's own. What matters is that one be for a time inwardly attentive.
I remember talking to my therapist a few weeks ago and she asked me if I was still doing my "morning pages" (every morning just writing whatever comes out for 3 pages) and my "artist's field trip" (going somewhere inspiring by yourself which could be anywhere a store, nature, etc.) and I had to say that I hadn't for a long time. Every time I start a downward slump I realize that I have quit doing something special just for me and I always start feeling better when I move back to self-care and self-inspiration. For someone who is co-dependent, it is very scary to do something for yourself, for some reason you honestly feel like something bad is going to happen if you do. But I have learned that doing something for myself actually provides me with balance, joy and peace which is good for everyone around me. In Gifts From The Sea the author says:
Who is not afraid of pure space - that breathtaking empty space of an open door? But despite fear, one goes through to the room beyond.
That one sentence described exactly how I feel when doing something for myself these days, afraid, afraid of the open space waiting for me out there, but despite the fear I have learned to move toward that empty space and it is that empty space where I do find the joy and the peace. I had so convinced myself that the crazy busyness of life was what it was all about, but it isn't. The quiet moments beyond the busyness is where we feel our emotions, where we embrace ourself and others. It is through these quiet moments that we are better able to enjoy life and those around us. Embrace the empty space beyond and feel . . . well, everything!