Life can be busy. The past two weeks I’ve noticed myself falling into bad habits, working longer and longer days, not taking breaks.
As a result, it’s harder to unwind in the evenings, and sleep is less reliable. The thinking is that if I just work a little longer, I’ll get to the end of the list.
The hamster wheel keeps on spinning and to keep up I run a little faster.
If you’ve ever owned a hamster, you’ll probably know what comes next, hamster spins out of wheel with the force of its own manic running and lands in a heap.
It’s the same for us. The faster we go, the more determined we are to catch our own tails, the more likely we are going to end up crashing.
We might think that working harder will get more done, but usually the more exhausted we get, the less productive we are.
Today I took some time out. I drove through the autumn-painted country roads to visit friends for lunch. A few hours eating wholesome food and sharing good conversation brought me back into balance and reminded me of the joy that’s available when we slow down.
I still have work on my desk but this weekend I am taking a break, time to regroup, reconnect and rest.
Rest doesn’t have to mean sitting on the sofa in your pyjamas eating chocolate (though it can :-) ). It might mean taking some time for a favourite hobby, or taking a walk, baking a cake or going to the sea to gather shells. This kind of activity is crucial for our wellbeing, it is a mini break in the middle of our routine lives. Even if you can only find an hour or two it’s a precious and important part of looking after your own health.
What is it that feeds you soul? That leaves you refreshed and centred?
When does the journey begin?
The Wizard of Oz is one of my favourite films. Back in the seventies when TV schedules were sparse it was an annual Christmas favourite. I am recorded, aged two, on an ancient audio casette insisting my name is Dorothy.
Reflecting on this film today I began to think about Dorothy's yellow brick road adventure. When does it begin?
We could see the first steps on this path as her skipping around the spiral in Munchkin Town, heading off to adventure newly clad in her ruby slippers. Or perhaps it begins when she steps out of the door into Oz? Or when she is whisked up into the tornado? Or when she is heading home with Toto? Or even before then?
It can be difficult to know when our journeys begin. On one level all of us begin our journey at the moment of our birth, and there are belief systems which suggest we began even before that, taking on this life and time as part of our journey through many lifetimes.
Whenever we feel the start of journey took place, I believe we are on one. A journey through life. This is a journey of learning and growing into ourselves. As we travel we encounter challenges, perhaps the odd "ogre" or wicked witch. Maybe we meet obstacles through challenging relationships, health concerns, financial struggles.
What defines our journey is not so much the challenges we face, as how we travel through them, and what we take away from them. This is the essence, for me, of the spiritual path. It is our own "hero's journey".
Just as we face obstacles we also encounter many beginnings. Opportunities to start a new phase, another cycle. Deciding what helps us, what feeds us and our souls and what we want to let go of. Today is always a good day to decide what we want to travel on with, and what we'd like to set aside. Take a few moments of quiet to feel the things which are helping and those which hold you back. For instance, I am working to let go of worry and concern about what other's think, and to take with me curiosity and joy.
If you were on an physical journey you wouldn't carry unnecessary baggage, it would make your case too heavy to handle. What can you leave out of your metaphorical travelling bag as you journey onwards on your life path? What are the essential you choose to keep?
Safe travels, soul seeker xx