Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Vacations: a vital part of life.

Why I take vacations

I don't do it often, but it turns out I need the recharge time.

I'm crawling back to myself on this break. I've been doing a lot of thinking about my roles in the lives of my friends, my clients, my students, and the world at large.

The big revelation? I spend a lot of my time and my self generating output. I give readings, advice, education, performances, etc. And usually all of that comes with its own brand of communication. When I perform, I strive for an exchange of energy. The audience and I make time for a chat. It's just that some of the chat is me making music and them listening. The rest of the time, we converse. Truly.

When I teach, the exchange is almost as 50/50. I learn from my students almost as much as they learn from me. 

When I do readings or coaching, the energy output is much more mine since the people who come to me want my guidance and rarely is it a full exchange. Rather, it is my output to help them heal, progress, and grow towards their highest path.

When I volunteer for causes I support, I do so with an open heart and the fervent hope that what I am doing will help make a difference. There is satisfaction in a job well-done in volunteer work that I rarely get from any other sort of work I do.

I've always operated on the premise that my wellspring was infinite. I tell clients all the time that they need to stop, breathe, and recharge. But it turns out, I've not been taking my own advice.

Before this vacation, I was running on fumes. I was surviving, but I was not thriving. And since my goal is to not only survive but thrive, it has become clear to me that I have been working at cross purposes with myself and with my highest path.

Well, that had to stop. I wasn't paying attention to myself and my needs. And my body started giving me messages that if I didn't chill out, it was going to chill me out for me. So, Rich and I hatched this rather last-minute plan to go away for a bit before the craziness of the autumn season falls upon us.

Once the Ren Fest starts, I will be working seven days a week until December 26th. Since I already maintain a similar pace and have been for the last few years, I needed this break.

And that makes me think. How many of us push ourselves past our limits and forget that we even have them? How many of us exhaust ourselves with work and when we're done look for the next thing on the list to tackle? There will always be another challenge, another item on the "To-do" list. Another project will beckon. Another quest will present itself.

And yet, if we aren't well-rested, we will not be at our best. If we are not relaxed, we might falter when we most need to stand strong and resolute.

This is all my way of saying that I've decided to cut myself some slack. And I want to encourage everyone else to do that too. The projects, goals, and to-do lists aren't going anywhere. They will be there tomorrow. 

Here's the thing, though. The instant you look at a project with dread rather than anticipation, it might be time to look at either your motivation or your energy level. I think even the most arduous and heinous things we need to do to live our lives can present a fun challenge rather than a drudgerous task. The things that tip that scale? First, is the level of our fear about being able to do it well. To that I give that ol' platitude, "Feel the fear and do it anyway." It might be corny, but it is true. This is for another post, but when we feel fear, that reaction is giving us clues. They key here is to learn to interpret them and then utilize the information they provide. More on this later.

Second is our stress level. If we fear being able to achieve our goals, often, we will avoid embarking on the mission. If we are too tired or too stressed, we will avoid the arduous task like the plague. And that will only prolong the agony. So, the lesson I've learned here is if we are too stressed to do justice to our task, perhaps it's time to take a break and relax and release some of that stress before we accept the challenge. Then, we can come to it with fresh eyes and a full heart.

And by the way, it doesn't have to be a long break. Not every break has to be five days in Key West (though that doesn't hurt, let me tell you). A break can be five minutes of breathing with eyes closed or a walk around the block or petting your cat (one of my personal favorites). If we do something to release the grip of stress, we will do better and we will be better. Certainly, we will feel better.

I leave you with a quote from one of my favorite movies, "The Princess Bride:" "Remember, if you don't have your health, you don't have anything." -Count Rugen

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