Replenishing by Connecting

Welcome to the May 2013 Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival: Self Love

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival hosted by Authentic Parenting and Living Peacefully with Children. This month our participants have written about their thoughts concerning self-love. We hope you enjoy this month’s posts and consider joining us next month when we share about Babywearing.

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Summer is here for our little family. I’m on break from graduate school and our life is coming to an easy slow roll. I’m not distracted by having a paper to write or a book to read within the next 24 hours. We’re staying up a little later, we’re having more family time together, we’re all breathing easier. This, now, is the life I’ve always dreamed of. While we still have our struggles, I’m seeing the beauty that is our life – the laughter, the connection, the peace.

It wasn’t like this just a few months ago, when I was in the throes of the semester, feeling totally disconnected from those I love most and feeling so very, very lonely. I was burned out and overwhelmed and I dreamed of days at the spa, weekly massages and pedicures and getting some more time with my husband, daughter and friends. I had a little bit of a breakdown and quit school for 24 hours (including emails to my academic adviser and department chair). I had the best sleep I’d had in months that night. My original intent was to quit for good, but when I woke up in the morning I knew that I wanted my degree and the career that will follow it, it is my Soul calling. But something had to change.

That something was that I desperately needed some self-love and self-care. I teach about setting our personal boundaries, yet I’d let school and my new business trample all over my boundaries. And as I laid in bed that morning after I’d “quit,” thinking about what I wanted, what I longed for, what I desperately needed, it all became clear.

I missed my husband. I missed our family time together. I missed having some just me time to replenish and refuel. I needed connection to those relationships to feel whole and calm. I was missing my connections, my deep relationships and realized it is through these relationships that I care for and love myself.

Self-care looks different for everyone. My visions of days at the spa and weekly massages were masks for my desperate need to deeply connect with myself, my body, my soul. My visions of time with my husband and our family as a whole were my need for our connections to be re-established, to deepen and strengthen.

Massages are nice and really, who would pass up a day at the spa? But they aren’t what my Soul was actually longing for. Once I dug a little deeper and looked at the feelings behind those visions, I knew.

So during the last weeks of the semester, the busiest time of course, I stepped back. I dialed back on the time I was spending on my business, the time I spent online and the time I spent on school. I took some relaxing Epsom salt and seaweed baths. We re-instated family movie night. And several nights a week, after our daughter was asleep, my husband and I would spend time together talking and reconnecting.

Those last three weeks of the semester, typically the most stressful, where actually peaceful. By prioritizing the important relationships in my life, everything else seemed to fall into place. While I had assumed I’d be turning in at least one of my final papers late, I got all of them in on time (two of them even a couple days early!). The e-course I was running got time allotted to it each day, but I wasn’t “on-call” for it 24/7. I took a hiatus from writing for my blog. I revised my weekly newsletter to a twice a month newsletter. Life continued, the Earth kept orbiting the sun, no one died and more importantly I don’t think many people even noticed how drastically I had scaled back some parts of my life to give space and love to the relationships that matter most to me: my connection to me, to my husband and to our family.

Opening this space also made the one-on-one time I had with my daughter better: our relationship deepened as I kept the laptop turned off and the phone in another room, out of sight and mind. I was able to really focus on her during our days together and it has been amazing.

All of this happening during what should have been a frantic and chaotic time in our lives. And yet, by focusing on some very important self-care, this time was a peaceful turning point for us.

Now that summer is here, more time is being given to my self-care. It now also includes clearing out the clutter in our garage and house., creating space in our home and allowing me to release some emotions I have been holding on to. Giving some much needed and deserved down-time to my husband (because caring for him, IS caring for me too – giving him time to replenish, truly does replenish me and our relationship). Being present with our girl and getting to the beach for some beach healing on a regular basis either on our own or with friends. Opening the space for each moment to quietly roll into the next, without agenda or schedule.

This is the life. Caring for myself, and part of that is caring for and deeply connecting to those I love, is the most important part of this beautiful life I have. Allowing the space for that care is so vital not only to my personal peace and joy, it is also vital to the peace and joy of our family as a whole. So often we forget that we truly do need to put on our own oxygen mask first, before we can aid anyone else, before life can run smoothly and peacefully. It’s not selfish to take care of ourselves first, it is necessary to open the space for joy and peace and love for everyone we are in contact with. Because if we don’t give love to ourselves, don’t refill, replenish and refuel we have nothing to give to the other loves in our life.
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APBC - Authentic ParentingVisit Living Peacefully with Children and Authentic Parenting to find out how you can participate in next month’s Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival, when we discuss babywearing!

 

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be live and updated by afternoon June 1 with all the carnival links.)

 

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6 Responses to Replenishing by Connecting

  1. Laura @Authentic Parenting says:

    It’s so important to carve out time to keep that connection going. My husband and I have also become more intentional about that, since we kinda drifted apart during the time I was depressed.

    Thank you for your submission!

    • gwynn says:

      I find more and more, that for me, it really is all about my connections. When my connections are strong I seem to be able to conquer the world, when they aren’t I feel like I can barely accomplish brushing my teeth, and the cycle feeds itself.

      Here’s too deeper connections for all of us :)

  2. Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children says:

    Connection time is so important. We have a need to connect with our loved ones, and denying that need leaves us feeling empty and needful. Sometimes life seems like a juggling act, trying to get everything balanced. When we place the important things where they go, everything else seems to fall into place.

    Thank you for joining us this month!

    • gwynn says:

      I’ve learned that there is no such thing as balance, at least not for me or my family. There is a lot of ebb and flow and as long as I listen to myself, my husband and our daughter, I can be a lot more open to the ebb and flow and better able to direct it a bit. When I have the connections, it all flows better for sure! And then I don’t need to worry about this elusive thing called “balance” ;)

  3. Helen@ zen mummy says:

    I love this post ~ my response to stress is to want to run away and shut myself off, when really what I need to to be more connected and centred. And I really need to leave my phone in the other room A LOT more than I currently do. I’m in the process of clearing out clutter too (is that a job that ever ends?) in order to try to create a calmer, more streamlined home.

    ‘Opening the space for each moment to quietly roll into the next, without agenda or schedule’ ~ my new mantra! :)

    • gwynn says:

      <3 thank you Helen! Yes, like you, in the past my tendency has been to isolate and what I realized is that when I isolate, what I really want is to find some connection to myself, which then leads to connection to others. It is a constant practice, for sure. :)