GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK ~ there’s no time like now

by Shea Bell
Are your guts falling out, nerves exposed? Are you having wild thoughts that strange things are growing out of every orifice and wonder if your joints can bear the weight? Give yourself a break.

Happily I recovered (with some help from the doctor) and crawled out of my cave at the first signs of spring. Unlike my 15 year old planter, which has since crossed over, I’m happy to report I was not composted.

Not everyone needs to go to bed for a few months to figure themselves out.  That’s the good news. Since I am a retired person I had the time to do so. It felt radical that I actually had to give myself permission though. Surely I had all the time in the world for self care, so what was my problem?

If you are still in those middle years of life, with lots of responsibilities, consider that you too may need a break. And if you are lucky enough to have the opportunity for a leave of absence or sabbatical, especially if paid, take it. You deserve it. Don’t wait until it becomes medical leave. Your intuition needs an opening to be heard, and it’s easier to recover when burnout is not on the table. Self care is not selfish.

If taking time off work doesn’t seem possible, think of how you can creatively manage putting yourself first until some lightness returns to your chest and your gut doesn’t feel like you are constantly on the way to a funeral. Ask `What is one thing I can do?`then do it. See what happens.

I’ve discovered it’s all about maintaining my energetic balance and taking time if something is out of whack. Deeply held wisdom waits patiently to guide you. So take a look and see where harmony and alignment are disrupted, and something isn’t right.

In this rest period lays the opportunity to discover what you really want, to see what changes are possible. Be wholehearted about it and don’t discard random thoughts. These may become nuggets on second thought.

Ultimately, in order to have a good life you must also be able to enjoy what you worked so hard for.

Here are some statistics to consider based on Ancient Healing Secrets by Dr. Pankaj Naram and his lineage of Sidha Veda Masters:

  • 95% of people in the world do not know what they want, and spend their entire lives trying to discover it.
  • 3% of people in the world know what they want but are not able to achieve it because they lack direction, energy, or motivation
  • 1% of people in the world know what they want and achieve it, but are unable to enjoy their achievements because they paid too much of a price. While striving to get what they want, they become stressed, got high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis, and other physical and emotional issues arose which prevent them from relishing in their work.
  • ONLY 1% of people in the world know what they want and are able to achieve it, while at the same time enjoying their efforts.

For me, life was a continuum of discovering what I really wanted, and it changed with age and circumstance. When I was 6 years old I wanted to work at a garden center. It’s all I could think of as I happily mucked in the backyard with my dad.  I loved the feel of my hands in soil, the excitement of tender sprouts shimmying up through the dirt, the earthy smells, and the perfume. All of it.

My early passion to become a gardener was forgotten over time and replaced by three different career paths, equally divided over my working life. I see now each played a part in my development and fed into some deep loves. Parts of these experiences showed me also what I didn’t want, and this too was useful.

My first career was as a Certified Travel Consultant. Next I became self employed creating a costume design and retail enterprise. My last position with a seed company took me full circle back to my 6 year old dreams of working in agriculture. It was indescribably satisfying even though it took more than half a century to get there. But with each change I got to know myself better and put me in the right place at the right time.

Now that I am retired I wondered what I might do next. Well, I love to write, so in 2018 I created this blog, writing happily until an unanticipated quiet time descended last fall. My muse went on holidays, and usual activities ceased.

After a while I stopped putting pressure on myself to produce and accepted my situation without judgement. It’s not a crime to take time. At first it was hard to give myself a break, literally, and I felt so ashamed I couldn’t manage.

Here I am, back, ready to squint into the daylight, and see what happened while I checked out. I can see my hobbies will start my engines in the short term, then some travel, a computer keyboard and notebook, and new tomato varieties to research will keep me busy. Let’s see what happens from there.

I see now all my incarnations brought me to this happy 1% place where I am indeed enjoying each day. The old familiar pitter-patter in my chest is back as I write to you all, and I must say, it’s exhilarating.

One more gardening metaphor, please? If there are issues to be worked through in your life, dig fearlessly down to the hard pan. Don’t worry about getting dirty or how long it takes. If you remember this is a necessary part of wholehearted living, you will allow your true place to appear.

What aspirations did your 6 year old self have? You might remember that old dream again, and bring it back to life. Or in this creative process, you may find yourself harvesting something you would never have thought of.

Thank you for partaking of this bite of my life!  And know that it’s OK if it’s all about you until you figure it out. There’s no time like now to give yourself a break, whatever that looks like for you.

Scroll to the bottom to leave a comment. I would love to hear from you.

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Brian Bell March 7, 2020 - 5:38 pm

I loved this, my dear sister. I cherish mental images of you and Dad (and indeed Ma) communing with the Garden Gods to evoke green cornucopia productions.
This is terrific advice, and I hope many of your readers take it to heart.

Shea Bell March 7, 2020 - 7:11 pm

Very good times?

Georgia March 7, 2020 - 10:02 pm

Thank you, I am happy to hear I am not the only one. Be well?

Shea Bell March 8, 2020 - 10:32 am

And you as well Georgia. Thanks for stopping by. Community is so important.

Darlene March 8, 2020 - 8:10 am

So wonderfully put and I have to say I agree with it all. I especially like “with each change I got to know myself better and put me in the right place at the right time.” This is so true, even though we don’t often realize it at the time. At six I wanted to be a teacher and when I do a class presentation, I am in my glory and feel my dream being realized. Thanks for this great post.

Shea Bell March 8, 2020 - 10:31 am

Yes, there are many ways to teach aren’t there. I remember working at YVR leading orientation classes for new hires, feeling confident and happy. I was too shy to be teacher at the time I might have pursued that career. What I have noticed now is just how much I love to guide and teach my granddaughters. So perhaps we have both gone full circle on that one. Cheers.

Donna Dobo March 8, 2020 - 2:36 pm

I feel guilty when I’m not ‘working’. Learning that ‘me’ time is not just enjoyable, it’s essential. Took me a while. Thanks for this post. It’s was very affirming.

Shea Bell March 9, 2020 - 10:46 am

So true, and good for you to understand that it’s ok to need rest. A friend of mine has taken up water colour painting as a mindfulness and very enjoyable break.

Verna Bell March 10, 2020 - 2:57 pm

Took me almost a lifetime to return to my “6 year old” love of drawing and painting. Now a Ladybug is born.

Shea Bell March 10, 2020 - 4:45 pm

Even when the hands prevent more physical creations, your love of making gorgeous art and appreciating art is in your heart and will never leave you. And your ladybug is legendary 🙂 xoxo

Sheila March 10, 2020 - 10:20 pm

I learned a long time ago that if you don’t take time for yourself the Universe will find a way to make it happen.

Shea Bell March 11, 2020 - 2:05 pm

You are wise Sheila!

Shea Bell March 20, 2020 - 11:08 am

Since I wrote this piece at the beginning of March, Covid 19 has sent us all home on a forced break. Nothing like having choice removed, but in this case I see it as a monumental opportunity for reflection and redirection, to open up our humanness to others, and a chance to set ourselves and this planet on a healthier course. Love to all suffering illness and loss. There is much to be learned here.


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