I am self-employed, and it’s not entirely realistic for me to take week-long vacations very often. But I DO need time to get away. I need time to replenish, receive, and nourish myself, after giving so much to to community I serve. And I need (and take) this time consistently. It’s not unrealistic. It’s not hard. It’s not expensive. So I wanted to share with you how I take my time, and make the most of it.
The easiest way to take time for re-setting, is to keep a day of Rest sacred in our home. Neither my husband nor I are particularly religious, but we both love lighting candles on Friday nights, sharing what we are ready to let go of, and eating some freshly-baked bread and butter. It’s a very simple ritual, and it sets us both up to “power-down” for the coming 24 hours.
I tend to be more stringent in the boundaries of my Sabbath, but that’s because I tend to like those structures in my life. I like a daily practice, no matter what. I like daily, weekly, monthly, and annual rituals. They mark time and help remind me to connect to something higher than my mundane stuff. My husband doesn’t have that relationship with ritual, so he doesn’t do it. He respects and understands me, though, which is more than enough.
During my Shabbat, I don’t spend money. I don’t go online. I don’t have my phone on (unless I am alone, in which case, it’s on…in a corner, on silent, but “on”). I take the entire morning for reading, yoga, and meditation. In the afternoon I generally get crafty, do something with my sweetheart, and take a nap. Friday during the day is when I get all my cleaning done, and also some heavy cooking so we have leftovers and I am off the hook. I scrub, get dishes done, do laundry, and it all feels awesome. Sometimes I buy flowers for our table. I clear off the table. I get everything ready.
The next day is just for rest, for connecting to Divinity, for playing, and for enjoying the comforts of my life. You don’t need to take Saturday; you don’t even need to take an entire day…but unplugging and changing patterns is great for the creative soul, and for our stress levels!
My next favorite way to Take Time Off is to take a weekend ALL FOR MYSELF! This happens rarely. My husband occasionally goes out of town for a seminar (or vice versa…if I travel in my car, I load my car heavily with everything I might need for a “mini retreat”) and I am left in our cozy home, with only myself to please.
When this happens, I get to really indulge. I make sure the tub is clean (not that I can’t take a bath when he’s home…but we all know how amazing a hot bath for WAY longer than “needed” can be). I stock the fridge with my favorite foods. I look for movies on Netflix, or pull out my favorite black and white ones, and make a stack. I go to the library for a pile of murder mysteries. I set myself up with everything that I love, and don’t have to share, for a few days.
It’s not that it’s not possible to act on these impulses when my darling is home. I don’t mean to imply that I can’t do what I want when he’s there. That’s not it at all. It’s just that when I live with someone else, I am always taking into consideration what they want and how they will enjoy what I am preparing or watching etc. It’s not hard, it’s just automatic. So for a couple of days, to just please myself, is really delicious.
I light my scented candles. I bring snacks up to the loft and stay there all day. I leave my phone two floors below. I let the sun tell me when to do things. I change the sheets. I cuddle our animals and take care of them.
For me, the quiet and solitude are deeply healing. I believe that, in a world of noise, social media, instant gratification, and constant connection, that we truly need the balance of silence. We need to be alone. We need to get comfortable with our own inner voice, our own selves, again. And the only way to do that, is to shift the environment we live in.
By environment, I don’t mean only our living space, although a weekend at a B&B can do wonders for a relationship, lemme tell ya. What I look for in my shift is how things FEEL. How does it sound? I might play an opera, or tune in on the radio for a symphony, because those are not our default playlists. I cook something that takes longer than 10 minutes and 3 steps, with new ingredients…because 1. I have the time, and 2. it gets my mind working in a new way. Sometimes I will make big art, or paint a mural on a wall, or spend time putting color into a space that I didn’t love. Again, it’s about change in environment.
And yes, I still keep Sabbath. In fact, when there’s no one to talk to, I do my best talking with my Highest Self and Source. I rest more. I let go. I mull over previous weeks’ and months’ worth of junk, write it down, and burn it up on my back patio.
My neighbors think I’m nuts.
I’m fine with that.
How can you Take some Time to come back to center, back to presence? As the holiday season approaches, so many wonderful (or maybe not-so-wonderful) events will be unfolding in many of our lives. It becomes even more important to take care of ourselves, and not get wrapped up in the craziness of the season.
All my Love