“The human heart is exquisitely fragile. Our judgments need to be gentle, our understanding deep, and our forgiveness wide.” – Ron Rolheiser
If I’m completely honest, I would admit that I haven’t exactly hit the ground running in 2016. The new year, which is supposed to be a time filled with fresh starts and newly inspired energy and vigor to take on fresh goals and tasks, has felt more like a very long list of “want to-do’s, should have dones, and need to do’s” staring me down with an excruciatingly intimidating death stare.
I’m not biting the glittering bait of accomplishment this time. After all, accomplishment is never honest about the fact that, good as it is, can never heal the human soul.
Along with an emotional break down of sorts, an ambulance ride, and days in which sadness blankets over me like dark unwelcome friend – this new year has already threatened to rob my soul of all that was bright and so full of ambition and life.
Truth, I’ve struggled to pull my body up out of bed most mornings. Even the thought of accomplishing my daily routine makes me wonder how I ever accomplished anything in life before that day. I stumble out of bed some mornings and just stand there staring at my kids, my home with the dishes needing to be done, floors swept, the mess and the school books laid around everywhere needing to be put away or accomplished and find myself asking where the maid, the nanny, and the school teacher are to be found and wonder if it would be acceptable to just get in my car and drive until I don’t know where I am anymore.
Alas, the facts are that ready or not, life goes on. It doesn’t wait for us to catch our breath or stop everything for while while our heart breaks or our soul breathes, or we hide under covers until our minds can think rationally again.
But instead of writing about sucking it up and being strong, and just “giving it to God;” mostly I have to admit that for the first time in a very long time I’m embracing slow healing in letting myself be weak. I’m admitting that it’s okay to be fragile, even to break.
I’m not skipping over the hard and the sad, or shoving disappointment under a rug again. I’m just going to be real.
I’m giving myself permission to cry, to grieve, to not have it all together this time.
I’m saying “no” to requests from the world that heap more on my already heavy shoulders, despite caring what others may think of that, and taking all the time I need to regain my strength.
Because I cannot give away what I do not possess.
For me this new year needed to begin to a big ole’ dose of personal soul care. Maybe our ships sink because we forsake the need to unload the heavy and unnecessary baggage of the past. Any vessel was only meant to carry so much weight.
So here are a few of the things I’m resolving to take the time to do as this new year so that everything that is good in my life doesn’t sink.
- Find a therapist and get on a regular counseling routine. (Because everyone needs counseling, and we shouldn’t wait for a crisis to start.)
- Letting my soul and mind rest.
- Saying “no” to requests for my time and attention to anything that isn’t vital – just for a time. (sorry, but not sorry everyone!)
- Realizing that loving people doesn’t equal solving all their problems or “fixing things.”
- Turning my phone OFF during school time/ in the evenings.
- Shutting out the world for quality time with my husband every evening and some during weekends. (so not sorry)
- Taking the time to read & write (that doesn’t only involve school work or things I HAVE to do)
- Laying in their beds reading stories aloud to my kids (because this creates rest and bonding time for us that isn’t me demanding anything of them, and vice versa)
- Limiting social media use (it steals our attention away from one another, robs our time, and adds stress by encouraging comparison)
- Eating healthy (because I legitimately feel awful in every way when I don’t eat well)
- Finding ways that I enjoy to stay active, because I just feel better when I’m not overly sedentary (walking hills with my dog, hiking with my family, dancing)
- Spending time with people who genuinely encourage, love, and inspire me, limiting time with people who drain me of life.
This is my very own soul care list.
If we would admit it, we all need one most of the time don’t we? It’s easy to get so caught up in living and accomplishing that we end up with disappointment, or some kind of personal collapse, or equally as bad – we end up just living in survival mode all the time. I’ve seen and experienced both, and it can be far more devastating than the failures we were working so hard to avoid in the first place.
So this new year, you won’t find me going on about accomplishing, making resolutions to conquer the world… or my arm flab. I won’t likely be found running full force ahead, or “beast moding” life. This time, instead you’ll find me slowing down, being kind to myself, loving me, and doing a softer kind of work in which I take the time to tenderly wrap insulation around my soul, my marriage, my family, and my life. All of the things that are most valuable to my life.
Because after all, what good is it if I gain the whole world and lose everything that matters?
I’m so not sorry.
Neither should you be.
And so, this is me, fixing nothing at all for anyone except loving you enough to remind you that it’s okay to take extreme measures to be kind to your soul – reminding us all that nothing ever goes far running on empty, and that we cannot give away what we do not possess.
Accomplishments and achievements are nice, but maybe it is the soul work – that is the very most important work of all.
Go ahead and wrap a little bubble wrap around your fragile heart. Because a whole heart does the entire world more good than a broken one.