The Energizer Bunny ran out of batteries. Duh. And, I knew better. May came, the third art exhibit was hung, I went away for a private five day writer's retreat and I came back. Exhausted. The day after my return I went to my beloved gyn-nurse practitioner and asked her to check my adrenals, thyroid and hormone levels. The rest of the story is that all of my vitals were fine. I was just. Exhausted.
"So, you learned a lesson," said Sally, my Gyn-NP. "You learned that you don't do as many shows at one time. And when are you going to slow down and take a break?"
"Ummm. Memorial Day weekend." (Then, two weeks away.) "And, the first weekend of June."
Meanwhile, I received: graduation party invitations from two dear playgroup mothering friends of yore, the Democratic house party, two birthday parties for two beloved friends and then another from a new friend, the reception for two national autism speakers in town. There was no slowing down. I could feel myself on a treadmill and I didn't want to say no.
But, I did. I cancelled all my yeses and turned them into no's. Only, they were yeses for me. The night of the first party, I sat on my patio and ate an enormous salad. Grace and my companion by my side. And it was then that I knew, that although that week I had begun to restore my energy with more rest and I wanted to be at my friend's party, I needed the restoration of being at home on my patio surrounded by my sweet little garden.
"There's rest. There's relaxation. And, then, there's recreation," preached my teacher. "You need all three. If you have too little of one it imbalances the others and so the cycle continues. Too much recreation creates restlessness."
He was right. He is right. And the scary thing is that I began to instantly realize how many of my friends I've seen exhaust themselves over the years. How many of them live in a state of exhaustion. I was fortunate. I stopped before my chemicals got whacked out. My friends have learned they are exhausted when the doctor's report says so. Women all around us are living this way. Not saying no to others and to themselves. (The latter is the hardest one for me.) Oprah did it. For years I wondered how she could drive herself the way she did. And then she wrote how she blew out her thyroid.
So, my dear teacher had me write into my calendar when I would rest. When I would recreate. And of great importance, when I would restore the practices that truly replenish me. Daily: journaling, meditating, yoga.
So, here I am. Lesson learned. Lessons learned. I'd gotten away from the staples that I know are so necessary for balance in my life. The practices that, for me, keep it all in check.
Summer promises the same rigor as last. The same rigor as if I had an three-year-old and not an 18-year-old. Grace's interventions are scheduled in three-hour blocks all hinder-and-yond. Despite that, I'm scheduling in writing time on the next book, and time for those practices each morning. And overall, I'm declaring this my summer of rest. How about you?