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Make time to care for yourself

Make time to care for yourself

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Every morning for the past year my phone has sent me a mindfulness reminder, but almost every morning I ignore it. The mornings that I do take the time for the ten minute meditation, I know it makes a difference.

Usually there is a little statement like “Life throws a lot at us. When we’re still we’re more likely to make a good catch.”

The app has meditations, music and sleep stories and short topics that help you clear your mind and focus. This morning the tranquil voice talked through persistence.

Today’s quote was “Dripping water hollows out stone, not through force, but through persistence. (Ovid)

When I started this practice it was about being present in the moment, focus and improving my mental health. Improving my writing and my prayer life. Listening and caring for myself.

It sounds so simple, but I can assure you that this is not easy for me. Just sitting in quiet for ten minutes feels more like a punishment rather than peaceful some days.

Another reason that I skip it most days. A lot of days I rush right into checking email or scrolling through Facebook after I see my reminder. Neither of which brings me peace and tranquility.

Instead I’m often headed down an hour worth of rabbit trails before I finally start with my work day. Again, it’s about focus for me. Taking time for self-care.

It’s not much different that most people and caring for their physical health. Most of us know that you need to drink more water, eat fewer calories and get more exercise, but something keeps us from doing what we know.

About a year ago, I learned that it was physically painful for me to sit still and do nothing. Relaxation of almost any form was uncomfortable at best but more like stabbing myself with a sharp object repeatedly.

I can hear some of you already. “That’s not right!” No kidding! The longer I was forced to sit and relax, the more I wanted to scream. I became moody and irritable. Downright cranky!

Seriously, I would invite you to ask any of my family. I don’t do “nothing” well. I was conditioned as a child to work. It’s what we did for fun on the farm.

So I bought the app, but am only doing the mindfulness meditation less than half the days of the week.

Next step for me was reading a book about mindfulness, but the book that I chose was “True You” by Michelle DeRusha. “Letting go of your false self to uncover the person God created.”

Her writing challenges our culture of busyness. DeRusha, an author from Lincoln, Nebraska, writes about intentionally pruning away the things in our life that keep us from experiencing rest and solitude.

In the introduction of the book, she writes about a Japanese gardening technique called “open center pruning.”

“The gardener cuts away not only dead branches and foliage, but also often a number of perfectly healthy branches that detract from the beauty inherent to the tree’s essential structure. The process of pruning open turns the tree inside out, so to speak, revealing the beautiful design inherent within it.”

That’s what I want for my life and for my relationships with my family, friends, but most of all with God.

It has been difficult for me to practice self-care and mindfulness during the pandemic, but I would invite you to be persistent.

“True self-care is not about bath salts and chocolate cake. It’s making a choice to build a life you don’t need to escape from.” (Briana Wiest)

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