Last holiday break in December 2019, I took off some time to be with family and to chill. But I went back to work the day the kiddos went back to school – like January 2 on Thursday. On the following weekend, I thought, “Why didn’t I take the full two weeks off?” I didn’t because I have this tendency (addiction!) to work, work, work. I tend to push myself – even when I don’t think I’m pushing myself! I thought giving myself a week off was plenty! But it wasn’t. And I recognized this in early January 2020.
So I made a promise to myself on that first weekend of January 2020 – a soul promise. I promised myself that I would take off two full weeks this December 2020.
Then the pandemic hit. I worked through the usual spring break week off that I usually take. I worked through the longer July break that I usually take (I DID do a week with my girls doing the 150 mile bike ride! But I usually take off a bit more time). My schedule was full. Maxed out. I have had to turn down new client requests every week in this pandemic. I’ve worked hard and been so committed to my clients and supporting their well being while I have gotten outside every day, moved my body with yoga and walking and cycling, made good food, and tried to see friends (outside!). All while I have been thinking, “Can I really take two full weeks off in December?!” I have a book coming out in January and the holidays can be hard for some folks. Is it okay for me to take this time off?
But I made a promise to myself. And as this time has approached, I have known deep in my soul that it was necessary to do it. I’m not exhausted. I’m don’t feel compassion fatigue. I’m not worn out. I need this break to just replenish – yes – most certainly. But I mostly need it to “draw closer to the divine” and listen to my soul over a longer period of time. I need this break to do nothing for work and just be with my soul and my family.
I need this time off for “soul rest.”
So off we go to Vermont – to start this break with doing what we absolutely love – being outside in nature on Mother Earth and her expansive mountains with my family. My soul is already giddy.
It feels good to make a promise to myself and keep it – even though there are many reason why I could talk myself out of this. My clients are okay and I trust their resilient nervous systems. I trust the work we have done together to support them.
My family and I got up early so that we could leave early and beat the big snow storm on the east coast. We did it! It’s like the universe is clearing the path for me to honor this promise to myself.
I plan on not accomplishing anything but joy and connection! No writing goals. No planning for the poetry reading I’m doing January. No planning for my book coming out. No seeing clients. No work. Just soul rest. And I just know that at the end of two weeks, there will be a deeper glimmer in my eyes and joy in my step.
Dear One, this past year has been challenging in so many ways. And you have worked so hard, been there for so many others. You put dreams aside. You had to rearrange your life and shift your plans. You have had to adapt to uncertainty. You felt the rise of disappointment, frustration with others who didn’t take this pandemic seriously, and anxiety over the unknown. Your patience and sanity have been tested. You have done so very much, dear one. You have worked so very hard. You have adopted and shifted as much as humanly possible.
Please, please join me in making a soul promise to yourself – to your tender, resilient, over-worked, deeply compassionate heart.
Make that promise about your soul care. Make that promise about tending to YOU, nourishing your heart, mind, nervous system, body, and spirit.
Maybe it’s to give yourself five minutes in the morning to breathe and connect with your heart.
Maybe it’s to let yourself rest. I mean really rest.
Maybe it’s to give life and attention to your dream and ask others to support you and join you.
Maybe it’s to love yourself each day in some small or big way – the way you love others so very much.
I know there is so much to do – so much that could keep you from keeping a promise to yourself. If you have broken a promise to yourself, no problem! Make another one. Listen to the ache, yearning, desire, call or invitation of your soul. And give it the soul-food it needs. Give yourself the soul rest you need. Give yourself the soul time you need.
I promise you, I promise you – the world will be okay…and even better because of your kept “soul promise.”
I’m going to on be on the mountain today on the solstice. I am going to send out a prayer for each and every one of you as I stand on that mountain and look over the expansive, beautiful world that god had given us.
I see you. I’m with you. I love you.