Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Slowing Down (oxygen masks for moms)

When life gets busy, I occasionally find a little luxury, some insignificant, superfluous activity, and slow down long enough to complete it.  Today I took ten minutes to paint my toenails.  Fickle, perhaps, but it made me feel polished (pun intended), and I haven't been feeling exceptionally polished lately.  The practice reminded me that it's okay to be still, that it's alright not to be productive every waking minute.

I enjoy productivity, mind you.  I always want to be crossing an item off of my to-do list.  Our society worships productivity.  Although we don't come out and say it in quite these terms, if someone is not over-extended, under-rested, and ultra-busy, then they must be lazy.  If we admit that we're comfortable with our work load, that we're content with our level of responsibility, and that we wake up refreshed, then we probably aren't a contributing member of society.  Do more.  Do more.  Do more.

I'm tired of that.

It's good to rest.  It's necessary to take time to unplug, be still, and tap into those things that quench our drained spirits and refresh our tired bodies.

Anybody who's ever flown knows that one aspect of flight safety is to put on your own oxygen mask during an emergency before helping others put on theirs.  The rationale behind this translates well into regular life.  You can't help others effectively if you're depleted of the essential elements that you need to help yourself.

For me, writing is down time.  It helps me to process my thoughts, work through my emotions, and make sense of my world.  Writing helps me to tap into myself.  It reminds me that I'm more than mommy, and when I remember that I'm more than a mother, I am a better mother.

Discover what little luxury, what insignificant, nice thing that you can do for yourself today.  Maybe take a half hour to enjoy an autumn evening walk.  Maybe turn off the television when you're tired and go to bed early instead of staying up an extra hour flipping channels.

Find what works for you.  Doing less is sometimes more.

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