This morning I made a bowl of oatmeal and a cup of coffee, and I sat on my front porch and had breakfast with my husband. Outside it was cool and sunny, birds were chirping merrily as they hopped about our yard, and our neighbors waved (safely, from a distance) as they walked their dogs. We talked about our dreams and our hobbies and sometimes we just sat in silence together. In our entire marriage, we have not made time to sit outside and have a slow morning together. Normally, our morning routine is early and fast and get-out-the-door-to-beat-the-traffic-see-ya-tonight-love-you-honey.
A few weeks ago, the busy engine that has churned deep in our household ground to a halt when we began self-isolating. If you are anything like my family, when you began remaining Safer at Home, it likely felt like whiplash. We’ve all been driving our lives (and our cars) so fast and so often that to come to an abrupt stop leaves us jarred and dazed.
But a funny thing has happened in the days and weeks since then. Sure, first restlessness spiked and I set about busying myself at house tasks – time to organize that closet I’ve been meaning to get to, time to set up my work-from-home office, why haven’t I ever gone through these papers? But after several days, my system began to settle. I began to slow, to savor, to realize…. I didn’t have anywhere I needed to be but here. And it felt like the deepest breath I’ve taken all year.
I believe in every disastrous or traumatic experience, there is opportunity for growth, connection, and healing. The impact of and circumstances surrounding the current pandemic are devastating and, naturally and rightly, anxiety inducing. We are in a season of forced slowness, which is such an antithesis to the culture of busyness and productivity that has been the national norm, and we get to learn that being still is good for the soul.
For those who ascribe to a faith system, this is an opportunity to put our faith into practice and move our knowing that our God will provide what we need from our head to our heart. What a timely blessing, then, when our internal world feels extra frenzied, to have the opportunity to engage in slowness. To allow our schedules to be freed up. To experience life right here, right now. What a balm for our collective, weary souls to be able to step away from hectic rigidity and choose to center and calm. We are capable of operating on less. We are richer for offering ourselves rest.
If you are still in those restless days of feeling hurried and doing every chore and project you have been meaning to get to for weeks/months/years, I would invite you, this week, to slow your pace, breathe deeply, savor the quiet moments, get outside if appropriate, and listen to the sounds of spring. Notice how you feel in the moment and afterwards, body and spirit. Notice what feelings or thoughts or messages come up for you when you allow your body and mind to settle. And offer yourself compassion and grace for whatever you find there.
Blog written by The Refuge Center Intake Specialist, Lauren Milikin, MS