One day, as I was going about the business of family laundry, my niece rang to tell me that she had won a 5 day, all-expenses paid, trip for two to a health retreat – and that she was taking me. *insert flabbergastation here* (that IS so a word and you know it).
Within 2 weeks of the phone call we were on our way, both of us leaving our husbands and children behind for 5 days of rest, relaxation, exercise, herbal tea, healthy food, and spa visits.
Relaxing away from home and responsibilities helped me to see how crazy and too hectic my everyday life was. I remember thinking that when I returned home I just wanted to “simplify, simplify, simplify” both my home and my schedule, recognising the need for regular rest and times of quiet in my life.
The gift shop at the retreat had a beautiful oriental style, blue cast iron tea pot with matching tea cups which I loved (and bought for myself) With my new tea pot and health retreat memories fresh in my mind, I began daily tea ‘ceremonies’ at home, a time to stop my activities long enough to brew a pot, pour a cup or two and think about good things. I would especially stop to listen to the sound of the water pouring into the cup. It helped me to slow down.
Life soon took over however, and from time to time I would see the tea pot sitting on the mantle piece and feel guilty about how I had let go of my resolution.
Last year I was gifted my first vintage Royal Albert tea cup for my birthday. Once again I was reminded to slow down and notice beauty.
At the time of writing though, it has been quite some months since my last tea ceremony and I recently found myself revisiting again the need for rest.
I reassessed my schedule and quit a couple of long term commitments that were out of line with my priorities. I have dropped 6 garbage bags of donations to the op shop, and I’ve chosen to rest more this week and recoup some of the energy that I had recently lost.
Today, when the house was a little quieter than usual I noticed my vintage tea cup collection in the display cabinet, and I decided it was time for another cuppa.
I intentionally slowed myself down enough to hear the water as it tumbled into the tea cup. I slowly stirred the cream in (yes, I have cream in my tea – what of it? ? ) and discovered that metal spoons against china make a singing sound. I listened and paused to no notice other sounds. Any smells? No. How did I feel? I felt comforted, I felt peaceful. I felt like I was frolicking in a delicious piece of chocolate cake minus the guilt factor. It was good. I could see good things and I could feel goodness.
In reality there was no chocolate cake at all, just me and my tea, and yet it was a delicious moment of tranquillity in what has been an otherwise tumultuous week.
What happened?! Had my ‘troubles’ disappeared? No, but just for that moment I was focused on ONLY that moment. I absorbed the beauty of the design and genteel daintiness of a cup that only requires two finger tips to hold. I slowed down long enough to savour the goodness of a warm cup of liquid comfort and to enjoy things that usually pass me by at the speed of light on a daily basis.
Slowing down. It’s important business. Resting. It’s important business. We can’t live all our life at a health retreat and most of us don’t have personal chefs. Instead we have commitments and families and jobs and homes to care for. This makes slowing down and relaxation even more important.
Us Mums are busy. We go from thing to thing, with not much time in between all the activity. If we don’t take time out to relax we can turn into grizzly bears who react instead of responding, and often it’s a bit over the top for the circumstances. We know that if we don’t take care of us we end up worn out, ragged and unable to care adequately for those we love.
Some of us have forgotten what it’s like to feel relaxed or calm. We need to prioritise daily wind-down sessions where we bring our bodies from 5th gear back down to first so that our bodies remember what ‘relaxed’ feels like. So that we get used to the feeling of calm, and seek to return to that place regularly. We wear our bodies out when we live on high alert for too long without a rest for our adrenal glands.
I know you think you don’t have the time. I get it. So let me tell you that this blog is meant as encouragement, not another thing for you to feel guilty about not doing.
If you, like me, struggle to put into place a new habit or routine and keep it, just remember – no guilt. If you’ve done it twice, that’s still two times you’ve done it, which is better than none. When you realise you have forgotten again – no guilt; simply allow yourself to start again. Leave off the guilt when you find yourself falling apart at the seams having not taken care of yourself properly again. Just take one step in the direction of caring for self – and slowing down.
Slow down Mummy, slow down and notice all the good things. Allow some starry-eyed wonder to trickle back into your tired and weary bones.
Slow down Mamma right where you are, and choose to let yourself ‘do the rest’. Not every moment is good but there is something good in every moment. Be the one who finds it. Life is delicious.