Friday, May 27, 2016

Fresh Start. . .

Dear Friends, It's been a long stretch since my last post and as the summer approaches I've decided to get back in the saddle again. A group I belong to posts a Friday Five challenge which I intend to use as a prod to get me going. So - as I fumble to find my footing, bear with me, and feel free to ask questions.

As most of you know, I changed jobs again back in November. It was hard. Harder than moving to Minnesota in the first place because back then I needed a job, and a place to be useful. Blooming Prairie was the perfect transition. The people were kind, the church was and is vibrant, the pace was restful, and I really recovered from the trauma of unexpected change. I learned a lot about myself, and about where I came from. I hope and think I was useful to the congregation and the community. I made some wonderful friends who I expect to keep forever.

. . .Then the Spirit blew something new into my path and I found myself drawn toward it and after endless prayer and journaling and lists of pros and cons along with conversations with trusted advisors I decided to accept a new position 50 miles further north. . .

That decision started an eight month period of imbalance: new job and home, holidays in a new setting, some family stuff, and just the lack of community that I as an extravert require for good balance. It takes time to settle after this kind of thing but I'm determined to find a new balance this summer.

All of which brings me to today's writing challenge: make a quick list of five things you do when you need a triage of self care.
  1. I SWIM. Nothing soothes my soul or my body like time in the pool. One big bonus of the move to Northfield is the Northfield Senior Center which has an 89 degree pool open many hours a day. I joined early this year and try to make it there every couple of days.
  2. I READ. I read good fiction that takes me to other times, places or circumstances. If it's not absorbing, or if I find myself critiquing the writing or the plot, I move on to something else (I have a Kindle which allows second choices 24 hours a day.)
  3. I CONNECT. When my need for self-care is caused by too much alone time I make the effort to plan a meet up with someone else, or call someone I miss a lot.
  4. I INDULGE. Usually with a haircut, pedicure, on-line shopping, or sleep, but sometimes with a massage, a rant, or planning a trip.
  5. I CRAFT. As I haven't really set up a studio yet, this one is kind of unavailable right now (and more a source of stress than relaxation) but when I can drag out stamps, paper, tools and toys and try out new techniques and color combinations I can feel my soul settle.
The challenge offered "bonus points" for a sixth item so I will add that I PRAY in different ways: writing letters to God, finding a place outdoors to sit with God and let the wonder of creation seep into my awareness, or just good old-fashioned contending with the Almighty out loud.

So, how about you? What are your five go-to activities when you need to take care of your frazzled self? I think just thinking about this is a really useful exercise for me. It creates a plan for the time when I need to rebalance. Challenges and stress and change come to all of us and it's good to be prepared to step up and take care of ourselves. I hope you have some extra time off this weekend and can spend some of it taking care of yourself! I will be catching up at home in an effort to find a little more balance 1100 1150 miles north. . .