We are home sweet home and I am gratefully getting back into the swing of things as we enter a fresh new week after the holidays! I want to thank you all for your patience about the short delay—I truly appreciate your grace and kindness because I know many of you were eagerly awaiting Week One content in your inbox. Now that we are sinking back into more familiar and comforting rhythms, I am rejuvenated with New Year energy, and feel myself more clear-minded and ready to dig deeper in this Rest Retreat with you all, so let’s begin! I finished a couple of books I have started recently while traveling with Andrew (plane rides sans kids, I tell ya!) and each of them gave me so many nuggets of wisdom to pass along here with you. Mid-flight I came across this sentence from The Little Book of Lykke:
“Every day, we each get 1,440 minutes, and every week, we each get 168 hours.”
It’s fascinating to me seeing our days quantified like this, like you can almost reach out and grab each minute as if it were a little present waiting to be opened. I don’t know about you, but this way of perceiving time gives me so much energy and hope. Writer Meik Wiking expands on these ideas regarding the relationship between pleasure and time throughout the chapter titled “Freedom” in his book, and further examines topics that tend impact the hours that make up our days. It’s an excellent read on the philosophies and factors responsible for happiness across the world if you are into that kind of thing, which I am! Anyway, what I want to talk about with you is one word found sandwiched between those numbers I mentioned above. I want to talk about the word get. I want to bold it, italicize it, and underline it for you, because it’s important that I make it clear that it’s one’s mindset that sets the tone for everything we are going to do together from here on out.
“Alas, your mind is a garden. Your thoughts are the seeds. You can grow flowers, or you can grow weeds.”
So let’s think about all the things you have to do today before bedtime. Go on—make a mental or tangible list. It’s pretty long, right? I know mine is, especially as we are all sinking into finding our groove while laundry piles and new toys are scattered all over our home.
Now, let’s do an exercise together. I want you to open your mind, focusing it on your trailing list of things you have to-do, and replace the word have, with the word get. Take a moment to see how your perspective changes. This simple change of swapping the word have to get turns our time, or opportunity, or task, into something given to us, a gift rather, instead of letting the things we must complete (or even the hours in our day) become obligations. Flowers, not weeds! The power of positive thinking is a really wonderful tool to get in the habit of centering on. Getting to wash the dishes, or getting to spend an hour bathing your kids, or getting to walk to the grocery store (even with crazy kiddos in tow) becomes a privilege interwoven with gratitude when we refocus and think of our days in this way.
- With this in mind, JOURNAL how you want to grow more flowers rather than weeds in your own garden, and write about what you can do to set your mind on the right path of positivity each morning. Perhaps start by reading a quote or piece of scripture? Maybe a song or poem will get you there? Write about what you feel your soul telling you.
Next, I want to share with you another piece of insight I read near the end of the book aptly titled Rhythms of Rest for this week’s content written by the leader of the Sabbath Society, Shelly Miller. In the chapter titled “Preparation is Everything” she writes:
“More than managing time, I want to pay more attention to the minutes I am given…when we see time as a generous gift of invitation instead of something we hoard selfishly, we are more generous with the hours given to us free from the tyranny of the urgent.”
So motivating right?! And get this, I finished both of these inspiring books on the very same flight to LA, each of them echoing similar thoughts on how we are given time and the goodness that such positive mindsets and modes of thought can give our days. I just really loved these connecting points and wanted to share my sweet, little moment of serendipity with you!
Now onto one of my favorite things—planning. Honestly without it, there’s little room for rhythm, structure, or solitude to thoughtfully transpire throughout our days. Planning with intention paves the way for so many rich opportunities to take place, and I really believe that a little preparation goes a long, long way towards having more time to do the things that we value and enjoy in life. Before I give you some ideas on how you can better plan and restore the rhythms in your life, reflect on the following questions and practices below:
- JOURNAL how your day currently unfolds and the tone you feel pulsing throughout. What do you feel you could do to make your hours flow more smoothly, and thereby respectively, make you feel more present and nourished? Next, READ my post on Creating A Daily Rhythm for yourself, and better map out your existing day to best balance areas of your life so feel as though you are thriving and not merely surviving this season.
- JOURNAL some ways you can be a better planner for and in your life? How can you better prepare for the day or week ahead by doing some things upfront to help the minutes and hours you are given flow more effortlessly. Try to come up with five ways you better plan your time, and try incorporating all or one of these ideas this month during the retreat. Here are the five I have written on the chalkboard in our kitchen, five things our family has talked about and are going to implement together as best we can:
- Plan to meal plan each week and get all the grocery shopping done on the weekend. Sundays, Mondays, and Wednesdays are going to be slow-cooker or quick meals because those are busier days for us, while Tuesdays and Thursdays will be something that takes more time in the kitchen, and Friday and Saturday will either date night, pizza, left overs, or dinner out.
- Plan to follow my daily cleaning rhythm and make sure to ask for help when I need it.
- Plan to set out the kid’s clothes and make everyone’s lunches before bed to help mornings run more smoothly.
- Plan to do a quick family pick up before bed so the house is tidy when we wake.
- Plan to run errands only one day a week, preferably on the weekend when Andrew can help with the kids.
- For a little sensory shake up, LISTEN to the podcast below about What Matters in the End, Atul Gawande’s talk with Krista Tippet on the On Being podcast highlighting segments of his book called Being Mortal centered on what dying as to do with living and what a good day looks like. I feel that despite it being about death, Gawande words are very connected to the idea of slowing down enough to figure out what it is that is important to us, and thereby, how we want to structure our day around those values. The episode is quite thought provoking, and I encourage you to JOURNAL your reaction to it afterward. I will be giving it another listen, this not in the car with a toddler in the back yelling for more Goldfish, so hopefully I’ll have another aha moment or two this time around as well.
- Hopefully you were able to watch the TED talk about why our screens make us less happy, and then came up with several intentional ways to add more mindful pauses and boundary lines throughout your day to create more space between you and your phone. Throughout the week you will practice putting your new “stopping cues” into place, trying them on to see how they fit. JOURNAL how it feels when implementing these stops and if you feel they add value to your days. Reflect on whether or not these stops make you feel more present and connected, and if you want to continue trying them throughout the retreat. Here are my three, and feel free to share yours below so others can gain inspiration from what you are trying:
- No phone during meals either at home our out and for dinner.
- One night a week our family will be screen free – we choose to do this on Wednesdays because that is our busiest day of the week and it helps break things up with a fresh evening.
- No phone to bed or right away when we wake up. It’s home will be the bowl in our bedroom charging for the next day.
- Lastly, we will visit how you feel you are at setting boundaries in your life. JOURNAL where or when is it hard for you to draw the line between hours of work, play, and rest? What parts of your life need a better boundary system in place, and what are some ideas you have about making those life-giving changes? WATCH the video by Brené Brown below and journal about how you can be a more intentional boundary setter both individually and for your family. Then, WRITE yourself a permission slip to say “no, thank you” and hang it somewhere you can be easily reminded. Next time you feel like saying “no” but your people pleasing tendencies start to take over, think of your permission slip and what is actually in your (or your family’s) best interest.
And lastly, JOURNAL how this week off social media is going for you. You can be more general or specific, but do try and write something down for each day. Do you feel lighter and free from your phone and the apps you scrolled on throughout the day, or do you feel less connected and anxious? Has it been a rough start, or do you feel maybe the latter part of the month will be most challenging? We are all at different stages here, so no judgment whatsoever. I personally am on an energy high right now and can feel my creativity buzzing. It’s quite electric! Enjoy this week’s material and speak soon!