Today I woke up at 7:30 for a 9AM tennis match, went straight to a postpartum visit, then to another client's home visit- the visit we do a month before the baby is born, to make sure all supplies are gathered and everyone is on the same page as far as who will be at the birth and any special requests they may have. Then, I drove home and took a quick shower since I had been too busy over the past twenty four hours to even bathe(I did brush my teeth, though), then drove forty miles to watch my son play basketball, and am now finally settling down to crank out a blog post that is due tomorrow. Tomorrow I will drive forty miles again to watch the boy play basketball, then drive forty miles back home to see my daughter sing in a recital, go to church, bring my family to do a community service project, go to the grocery store, and finish the day with work on the computer.
Today, my other son, a Fortnite addict, woke up around 2PM, and will play his game with his online posse through the rest of the afternoon and late into the night. When I spoke with my best friend yesterday, she was laying in bed mid-afternoon watching "My 600 Pound Life." I repeat she was watching a show about someone else's life. Yet another friend on Facebook was having a fit about how she binge watched another show on Netflix, only to be inconsolably disappointed by the ending. My seventeen year daughter's phone actually looks like an extension of her arm, or glued to her hand at the very least.
It may seem like my activities were so much more productive and necessary than my other friends and family members, but that is a dangerous assumption. The reality is that all those activities have one thing in common- Busyness
Busyness can come in many forms. We might fill up our day with chores and activities that leave us running from morning till night. We might rely on entertainment to occupy our minds to the point where we actually feel physical discomfort without the crutch of our favorite show or video game. One night, upon reporting that he was coming to the last episode of the series he had been binge watching, my son reported feeling sad and depressed and didn't know what he would do with himself once the series was over. I can totally relate. There was a time in my life that I would feel physical pain if I didn't have a chore to complete or something to accomplish. I couldn't sit still. I felt like I was just wasting time. I would make up things to do just to get back to feeling mentally stable. But it is imperative that we all learn the art of being still. Our mental, physical, and emotional health depend on it. Our brains can only take so much of this lifestyle before they begin to give out and manifest illness and disease- mentally, physically, or both. Even positive activity can be too much if overdone or if not given the space between that is necessary for adequate recovery before moving on to more activity.
Our ReConnect Retreats are designed to offer a brief respite from the hustle of everyday demands of life and incessant screen time. Though we bitch and lament about our kids' excessive screen times, we are just as guilty of it and we damn well know it. We may not be playing games, though some of us are, but we spend plenty of time posting for attention, and getting high as a kite on how many comments or likes we can collect. WE.ALL.NEED.TO.PRACTICE.BEING.STILL. How did I get the idea to write this post? By being still at the retreat that I was hosting. We began the day paddle boarding on the lake. We were out there for about two hours. It wasn't all relaxing. It was work to balance myself on the board and use the oars to steer. I was busy! But in between paddling, there was time spent just sitting or laying on the board. It was in those moments that I was truly able to appreciate the beauty of my surroundings. It was then that I could feel myself taking nice, strong, cleansing breaths of extra oxygen that my cells just gobbled right up with glee. And it was then that I had enough clarity to be mindful of how much more sitting still time I needed to devote to my daily life if I am to experience MY life, acknowledging and appreciating the beauty that I am always surrounded with through friends, family, and worthy activities.
Sitting still need not be a huge undertaking. Ten minutes carved out of your day can offer extraordinary benefits. Physically, you are increasing oxygen to your brain and lungs, increasing cardiovascular function and physical and mental wellness. Ideas come, problems are addressed and solved, and creativity increases. More importantly, an invisible barrier is erected between you and the demands of stress and anxiety that riddle the modern, everyday lifestyle. You won't ever make it go away, but you can jump off the merry-go-round whenever you want and get a little break. You, as much as anyone in the whole world, deserve a break. Give yourself this tiny gift. It has the potential to return the favor with infinite possibilities that will ultimately leave you, your family, and your community happier and healthier.
With love and gratitude,
Kinda and Rachel