Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Pay Yourself First

I am still basking in the glow.

As many of us do, I fantasized and hope and wished for summer to arrive during those bitter months of this past winter and, as most of us, I have been blown away by the fact that summer is already here.  After just a few weeks of multiple children ending college, high school, middle school and elementary school on varying dates and juggling summer activities I'm embarrassed to say that the respite I experienced this past weekend was already much needed.

I had the good fortune to attend a weekend retreat with a group of similar minded women.  This group holds several retreats a year and I am a fixture at the fall retreat but had never attended this annual "spring"retreat and I was so pleasantly surprised.  The theme was SPA for your soul (Spiritual Path Awakening) all the while true SPA activities were mingled in, to the degree that skipping workshops and taking naps were highly encouraged if that was what you needed to do.

There were several beautiful threads throughout this weekend.  One of my favorites was that the facilitators had lovely voices and interwove the most sweet and beautiful interactive chants throughout our days and evenings.

It was a small group of about 25 women and the ages varied from women in their 30's to women in their 80's.  I adore being around older "enlightened" women and perceive it as a workshop by association regarding how to age with spunk, grace, wisdom and spirit intact.

I could connect with nature. The grounds were close to a river and held a stream, suspension bridge, wooded hiking trial, labyrinth and pond.

The facilitators did a fine job of fostering a true intimacy in this group environment while we all had the ability to keep our boundaries just where we needed them.

And our keynote, Teri Freesmeyer, did an absolutely amazing job of facilitating our connection with the divine that each and every one of us possess within ourselves.

And the best part?  This past weekend just enhanced the practice I try to live on a daily basis and I have been empowered and refueled to trust my intuition and connect with the Divine (for me that is within and out of myself and I respect that for everyone it may be different) for guidance.  Yes, coming home to comings and goings of 8 kids on Sunday and every day since bringing surprises I have moments of feeling like, wow, am I stressing here?  But I easily switch gears and get in touch with the only thing I can control: myself.

So my message for the beginning of this lovely, warm, fun, active but sometimes chaotic time of the year?

Pay yourself first. The laundry can wait 5 minutes, set that appointment 15 minutes later and use that time for you, put YOURSELF in your day planner to meditate or read or take a walk or just breathe.

Nurture yourself.

Try to keep yourself out of the center of inevitable drama that an active summer can bring.

Expect the unexpected: schedules will change, there may be a night no one sits down to that wonderful dinner you planned but don't let it ruin your evening-- light a candle, put on some music and enjoy it.

"It is what it is."  Sometimes we spend so much time trying to make our version of a Rockwell scene that we make ourselves and everyone around us miserable.  My husband and I are the masters of this with our blended family of 9.  We appreciate who is with us and the family unit that it looks like each and every day; and quite honestly, in the summer that might change every single day.

Check in with your spirit and nourish it:  do something that makes you lose time, take moments of solitude to deep breathe and reconnect with your inner voice and stop and listen to that inner voice.

Reconnect with yourself.

Reconnect with the earth: go outside, take walks, feel your bare feet on the ground, listen to the birds, watch the animals.  Stop.  Listen. Repeat.

If nothing else take 10 minutes a day for yourself to do something nourishing and healthy that feeds your spirit.

Pay yourself first.