Season for Renewal

Coincidentally, I reach for this meditation in my “book” and find the title but not the entry.  However, this first Monday after Easter presents the perfect opportunity to reflect on what renewal means . . . at least for today and at this point in my life.

I love having Merriam-Webster at my fingertips, and like a faithful friend, she offers guidance for my insight for today.

  • Make like new : restore to freshness, vigor, or perfection

First off, strike perfection from that list.  We know better than that.  I see this as the “spring cleaning” mode.  Deep clean everything, clear the clutter and make way for the energy to flow through.  Whether you agree with feng shui or not, energy is all around you, affected by what’s in your environment.  Pretend you’re trying to sell your house, making it just so for potential buyers.  Piles of junk (with various degrees of preciousness) have to go, and glass, pathways and mirrors need to be clear.  Open the windows to let some fresh air circulate winter’s stagnation.  Change your air filter.  Bring out your spring/summer clothes before you purchase anything.  We already have an abundance.  Breathe in deeply.  Is your home like new?  Do you feel vitality has been restored?

  • Make new spiritually

I don’t think this means to go out and get a new religion.  For Christians, Easter celebrates Christ’s resurrection.  We can take this anniversary to accept our shortcomings and move forward, resolved to love more fully into our baptismal vows.  Consider yourself a clean slate and go forth in Love.

  • a: Restore to existence; b: Make extensive changes in

Have you become so bogged down with your commitments that you’ve forgotten who you are, what it is you want or feel called to do?  Is your life just not what you want it to be, even if it seems great to others?  Take a step back.  Look at it for what it is.  If you can’t accept it, then you have to change it.  Bring your true self back into the picture.  Make the changes necessary for this to happen.  Sometimes even the smallest changes can make the biggest difference.

  • Do again

Smile.  Consider this your second chance.  We get our life lessons over and over until we truly get it right.  Some things, like household tasks, are just repetitive by nature and give us practice at doing things again and again without negativity.

  • Begin again

Interesting.  How is this different from above?  Consider “doing” and “being.”  I’ll take this as the being, and I’ll interpret this as a reminder to start with  a beginner’s mind in all I do.  This means that I’ll let go of all my assumptions, attachments and judgments and be here.  When it comes time to do something, I’ll be here first, then I’ll do whatever it is with a clear, new mind.

  • Replace, replenish

The example is given as “renew water in a tank.”  Remember to fill your well, especially of creativity.  Remember to charge your batteries by nurturing yourself; for if you are not wholly nourished, then you’re not living into your full potential.  Find your fountain of youth and drink from it daily.  Just make sure it is truly healthful and soulful.  Consider, too, that a regular balanced diet and exercise (as  difficult as they may be to realize) are good all around for your physical and mental well-being.

After thorough reflection and a little nap, I feel I can look at this and make a decent action plan for renewal.  The spring sun brings so much hope, warmth and promise.  Life itself is abundant.  May we all partake in this life joyfully, fully renewed each day.

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On a similar note, for the Time for JOY women’s retreat I help with for our diocese, the  keynote speaker is basing her talks on Take Time for Your Life: A personal Coach’s 7-Step Program for Creating the Life You Want, written by Cheryl Richardson.  I just started it last night, but I think it promises to be good.  Richardson is a personal/life coach, and if you don’t know one or can’t afford one personally, this book might help you gain insight and give you lots of practical tools if you need to make changes in your life for the better.

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Ways to Nourish Mom!

After posting about prioritizing your commitments and encouraging you to actually ADD something to your list, I didn’t want you to think I’m being hypocritical.  We should practice what we preach, right?

I have a slew of commitments, but here are some ways I nuture myself.  You can do something for yourself, too!

  • For the past few years, I’ve read Simple Abundance.  It’s light and motivational and has other practical, nourishing things you can do.
  • Journaling — essential for everyone, especially writers.
  • Days outside, especially with the coming spring.  My son and I discovered thecrocus1-2008.JPG crocuses bloomed in what we call our “fairy ring.”  (photo to right actually of our blooming friends) Even when I had pressing deadlines, apparently it was more important for the kids and me to be outdoors.
  • Time with other moms.  Support.  Need I say more?
  • Pretty accessories.  I don’t have many, but the few I have are beautiful and meaningful.  A pair of earrings my daughter made was added to my collection when I returned from my trip.
  • Sacred spaces.  Any place in my home where I spend time is converted to my sacred space.  The kitchen sink, my desk, the bathroom.
  • Candles/Incense.  The house smells dingy sometimes, thanks in part to our large indoor dog, but I enjoy beautiful smells and feel better when the house smells better.
  • Daily shower.  Even as a mother of four, I take a daily shower as part of my 15-20 minute morning routine.

There are probably other things I do, too.  All together, it sounds like I’m a selfish person, but I don’t do them all at once or all on the same day.

For those of you who are so lovely as to read this, please comment with your ideas for self-care.  Or, contact me if you have problems leaving comments.  We can always use new ideas that don’t involve buying a whole bunch of body products.

Take care of you!!

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Put Beauty on Your List

A few years ago I realized I really shouldn’t spend so much money on make-up.  In actuality, I didn’t have the money to spend anyway and felt it was one of those places to cinch the budget a little tighter.  Then we had our third child, and suddenly I felt like I needed to beautify myself.  I bought hot rollers to curl my long hair, and I spent about $50 on make-up.  Less than a month later, I had cut all my hair and was using less than half of the products I had bought.  Lesson:  don’t shop with the hormones flaring!

So, another few years have passed, another child, another haircut, and now I’m hearing these ads on the radio.  “Eighty percent of moms admit to letting themselves go,” say the ads.  Apparently a beauty company conducted a survey and have partnered with our local mega store chain to convince us mothers that we really need “to put beauty on our list” of things to do.  I agree . . . in a way.

Self-care is one of the greatest assets a mother can have.  A bubble bath, some chocolate, great music, a clean house, a favorite outfit — whatever works for you and keeps you from feeling like you’re on the edge.  “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy,” was a great quote from my uprearing that I’ve brought into our household.  Mothers do have a stressful job, and like everything else, we have to have coping mechanisms.  If taking the ad’s advice and buying some Brand S body products will do it for you, go for it.  Maybe my Walgreen’s splurge a few years ago kept me from going into postpartum depression.  Seventy bucks is cheaper than therapy and make-up less addictive than drugs.

I don’t mean to sound flippant about this.  Many women feel they are beautiful when they have make-up on.  I like to apply some powder, blush and liner when I’m going out for a special occasion, too.  But I know that’s just for me.  I feel a little more “dressed up.”  On every day occasions, I get to ask myself every morning if I feel beautiful.  Sometimes I have to tell myself, nearly remind myself that I am a beautiful woman.  I smile to myself in the mirror.  Why do I feel so surprised when people say I have a beautiful smile or that I have a wonderful energy or such a beautiful face?  Inner beauty is a hard thing to disguise and is the cheapest blemish remover I know.

Do put beauty on your list.  Find your beauty and how best to nurture yourself so it will glow so brightly you couldn’t hide it if you wanted to.  A shower daily is nice, too, but we didn’t need a radio ad to remind us of that one.  Lesson:  stick to listening to NPR.

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