One Road to Personal Peace

     After reading the chapter about Power Thought #9, I pursue peace with God, myself, and others, I realized that I really needed to work on having less personal turmoil in my life.  I live a lot of my days frustrated, rushed, and upset–at myself, because I am not doing everything I think I should be able to do.  Crazy, huh?  Well, it’s hard to see sometimes

     Recently, as I was about to head out to another activity, I realized how much I did not want to go, how much I dreaded it.  It was a “hobby” type class that I’d signed up for and I was determined to follow through with it and future classes because it was supposed to be fun, darnit!

     As I accepted the fact that I did not want to go, that gave way to the thought that I did not have to go.  I could back out.  I could quit.  I do not think it’s a great thing to commit to something and then quit, but in order to build more peace in my life, that’s exactly what I did (as graciously as possible, mind you).

     So, I learned that one very concrete way that I can pursue, establish, and maintain peace with myself is by not overbooking myself.  There may be a part of me that thinks I need to be busy every minute with a productive task or activity, but that’s not what I really want, that’s not what makes me happy, and I will always rebel against it, in some way or another.

     In order for me to be at peace with myself, I have to have downtime.  I have to have a couple of days (maybe on the weekends?) when every second is not scheduled.  This give me the chance to be flexible about my day, get things done that have to be done, and still have time to read, or write, or bake, according to my mood.  So, to add the concrete action to the power thought:  I pursue peace with God, myself, and others.  I pursue peace with myself, by keeping a lighter schedule and giving myself time and space.

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Hooky Days

    Technically, I am on “vacation.”  This is winter break, or actually Christmas Break, and I have a nice long one since I teach college.  Despite this, I still feel the need for a hooky day! 

     Perhaps when I tell people (or admit, is more like it) that I get almost four weeks off for Christmas, the envision me sleeping until noon, lounging in bed reading and eating chocolate, going to lunch and the movies, and spending my afternoon shopping.  The reality is that even when I am “off” like today, I still get up at 5:30 a.m. with my husband, make his lunch, start the coffee, and feed Scout the dog.  I get dressed.  I pray and read my Bible.  This morning, I spent a good chunk of the day cleaning out the fridge, doing lots of dishes, and putting Christmas decorations away.  Then…get ready…I balanced the bank statement!  Doesn’t that sound like fun?

     Here’s the deal–whether you work outside the home or work inside the home, there will always  be lots of work to do.  We all need a break from that at times.  I find that since I started back to teaching and got married three years ago, it is much harder to find a day to play hooky.  I don’t miss school unless I have some kind of emergency.  That leaves me weekends and holidays to play hooky, and when you still have to fix supper and do dishes…where does one find this magical thing called a hooky day?

     I’m not sure, but I am intent on figuring it out.   I used to take a hooky day and celebrate it by sleeping late, taking a bubble bath, going out for coffee and a pastry when I got hungry, and getting a new book or picking up one I hadn’t had time to read.  I have spent a lot of hooky days reading and enjoying the pleasure of a day without responsibilities.  I have also spent the time going to a movie by myself, watching DVDs of a favorite TV show, or getting my hair or nails done.  All fun and nurturing activities.  The point is to do what you want to do and what you feel like doing.  Once, when I was just worn out from having a lot of draining people in my life and feeling like I was “‘going” all the time, I made a point to stay in for an entire weekend day.  That was a big deal for me, because I am typically, on the go-go-go.  I spent most of the day on the couch in my pajamas.  I had a fire in the fireplace, a book my a new author, a movie to watch.  In the early evening, I made bread.  I lit candles, burned incense, and played some soft music.  It was a lovely way to get quiet oon the inside and enjoy my own company.  This may be awful, but during a time in my life when I was extremely, let’s say over involved in church, I would occasionally have a hooky day which involved lots of rest, playing music and making homemade soup.  After I was replenished, and rested, I was able to really be present at the evening service.

     I think that a hooky day now might just require a bit more planning.  I will have to tell my husband the night before that I am going to sleep late, and just go from there.  It has gotten tougher for me to ignore all of the “to-do’s” in my head, so it might be best to have some kind of a plan, and for the plan to include getting out of the house.  I have very high hopes for a hooky day this week; I will let you know what happens.

In case you have never had a hooky day, by the way, and are wondering what the benefits of this seemingly frivolous activity might be, let me tell you:  the benefits are many.  I just don’t feel right if I don’t get time by myself every once in a while to do something I want to do.  It makes me feel rich and enjoy my life more.  I think it makes me more creative and happier and even thinner!  (Yes, thinner.  The theory is that if I don’t get time to myself, I get anxious and feel frustrated and reach for a handful of cookies).