RETREATS (specifically silent meditation retreats) offer me many types of rest: time away from talking and being sociable. A lot of space to process emotions and build awareness of emotional patterns. A break from the internet, phone, computers, work, shopping, cooking, making decisions, etc. A place to build internal resource and connection, a link into my spirituality
I need to do this every other month, whether its a short solo retreat or a longer teacher led one.
SOLITUDE being alone, not having to think about anybody else, not having to respond, not having to do anything i don’t want to do for fear/guilt/expectation of anything.
I need this pretty much every day, even if its for a few hours. I also really appreciate solitary retreats, they can be challenging but rewarding to find out who i am when i am not constantly navigating the world of relationship.
NATURE is a relief, to be outside, in a landscape, connecting to the earth, the beings who live on earth and the sky, whether it’s sleeping out under the stars, an afternoon slumber in the forest, a long wild walk in the wind, alone or with others, it can recharge, refresh, enliven, nature is rest.
I need this every day, even in small doses, even if its just sitting in the garden to say hi to the birds and the moon or going for a small walk.
SLEEP & NAPS ????? are so important, and so good. I love letting everything go for the day and getting lost in the night. Naps can be the best, for pure pleasure, or for catching up on sleep.
I need this EVERYDAY! Sleep at least, and I love to nap too, generally i need around 8-9 hours of sleep a night, I can thrive of off 7 1/2 hours in the summer, with naps.
SPACE TO PROCESS EMOTIONS is vital, when i don’t get to process emotions, work out whats going on and find ways to untangle the messiness that triggers and reactions and trauma can build, i don’t function in ways that express how i want to show up in the world. Even just being aware of how I am can help. Meditation and retreats are my main way to do this, so are check ins, with others and my self. Journalling and creating art are amazing ways to do this. And finding support from a friend who is willing to listen.
I need this every day, in different ways, sometimes I need a lot of this and sometimes less.
BEING AWAY FROM TRIGGERS While i want to be able to appreciate people in their differences, I seem to hold an internal belief that i ‘should' be able to hang out with whoever, whenever for an unlimited amount of time. I can’t do this. I end up having to avoid people as i don’t have the emotional capacity to be around them any more. When I am well resources i can spend time with anyone, and am able to share how their actions impact me. I cannot be well resourced if i spend a lot of time around people who trigger me, especially when there is trauma involved. I find this to be true especially amongst people who have privilege. And especially around men who are unaware of the effect their actions can have.
I need to be reflecting on my relationships often, how they are serving me, where i need space, having clear boundaries and limiting time with some people.
ESTABLISHING BOUNDARIES to be clear about and communicate: what i need; when something is not ok for me and i’m not willing to do it; how long i can be around people until i need space etc.
This is an ongoing process, Some boundaries are strong and lasting, some seem to come and go like waves.
NOT WORKING: taking time off, a day, a week, a month, a year?!?! Time to relax, rest, to be ill, to have a breakdown, to get creative, to question, to learn something else, to ask whats next.
TIME AWAY from anything can be so helpful to reflect on what i love about something and what i don't, where i need to make changes and establish boundaries. It can be hard to reflect in these ways in the midst of something, especially if it involves difficult emotions and relationships.
This is relevant in certain situations, and it can be hard to remember to do this.
MEDITATION is a way to create space, to drop into my body and to move away from avoidance of emotions, a way to build my capacity to support myself and others, it creates a bit more space in my day to be able to respond to things rather than react.
I need to do this every day.
BODY CONTACT can be so deeply restful, to have safe body contact, to cuddle, to be close to people. Sometimes my body asks for this, craves it: whether its snuggling up to a friend whilst watching a film, linking arms whilst walking down the street, spending the night sleeping close with a friend or lover, cuddles with cats, it’s rest.
I need to have regular safe body contact that comes from different people.
DISTRACTION can be so helpful if its done skilfully. Like watching TV when i feel like shit and just need a break, its great way to rest, as long as its part whole system that is also focused on processing emotions. (Sometimes i go to distraction for too long, it becomes avoidance and my series watching addiction kicks in, this is not so fun. and much more stressful than restful.)
I need this sometimes, maybe on average once a week, with an awareness of addictive patterns.
HAVING NO RESPONSIBILITIES like no cooking, people to look after, things to have to think about, “permission to be not helpful”. Working in a job = going home and not having to do anything related to that job. At home = letting everyone know I am not doing anything today, asking for support in this.
This is relevant when I am holding a lot of responsibilities,
Here are some important questions to consider...
If i slow down,
NOW AM IN THE FUTURE