Man, oh man, have I learned about leisure this past year. I finally came to understand that it's not necessary to push hard all of the time; to be perfect in my pursuit of endless accomplishment with no downtime to balance it all out. Life is not very enjoyable when lived in this manner. I was forever in gear and moving but not actually having much fun on the trip.
I feel very aware of how precious these last days are with William at home, and how I will never again have this kind of time with a preschooler in the house. I am reminded of the fabulous late 90's Aerosmith song from the movie Armageddon, "I Don't Wanna Miss a Thing." Sometimes that song goes through my mind and brings me to tears. I really don't want to miss any of these moments with my kids. I'm so grateful to be home, pursuing my writing dream but also available to my children in a completely new way as I continue to look for ways to improve my emotional health.
Leisure gives us eyes to see things we are too busy to notice when we aren't taking time to rest. I know that my allergy to relaxation had nothing to do with not enjoying it and everything to do with not believing I was entitled to it. Putting my feet up became too good for me. It was tied into my sense of value, and so much of the internal landscape work I've done this year was related to separating out my personal value from my list of accomplishments.
What we do is external and who we are is internal. The two have to be separate in order to feel unconditional love and acceptance from God or anyone. I couldn't accept myself unless I checked off every box on my to-do list, and now I know that to be utter bullshit, not to put too fine a point on it. It's never easy to examine our deepest fears about ourselves, but I've discovered that all the meat of life exists in those rough and thorny places. The seeds of change grow there, but you must be brave enough to begin pruning what is dead and damaged and getting in the way of the new buds.
Rest has helped me to be happier all around in my life. I get to play Sorry with my kids and make memories that will last a lifetime. I enjoy the solid feel of them leaning against me on the couch while we watch a movie together. This week I went shopping when William was in preschool because I needed to buy them a small gift for finishing out the school year, and I thoroughly enjoyed my own company in the mall. That was leisure, and I didn't once feel guilty or bad that I wasn't writing during those precious few hours of alone time.
When we feel strongly about something, I'm beginning to understand that there is a reason. One thing is tied to the next, and it's all rooted in some long ago soil. When we take the time to look at the fears or the "I'll never do that" or the aversion to some aspect of life, we discover that it's related in some way to how we view ourselves. The lens that we use to see the world colours everything, good or bad, and I want to clear up my view so it's not so obstructed by my own issues.