Monthly enews from m-a-p

April 2007 e-Newsletter

Self-Renewal Is Possible!
(Continued from March Issue)

Every day we juggle work, family, social, and community commitments and still try to carve out a little time for ourselves. With so much happening in our lives, is it possible to break from the action, find some peace, and renew?

How do you renew? In my March e-news, I pondered the idea of self-renewal being a farce and asked you to share your ideas for rejuvenation. I was surprised by the number of people who wanted to share their thoughts! Thank you for your care, concern, and great stories.

Many of you offered suggestions of daily meditation, yoga, spiritual activities, laughing at yourself, reading fiction, soaking in the tub, walking with Mother Nature, spending time with loved ones, exercising, and one friend wrote about stealing away a day or two on his boat. I also got a chuckle from one person’s comment: “Sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll is how I use to rejuvenate. Well I don’t have sex anymore, I don’t do drugs anymore, and the radio hurts my ears, so I guess self-renewal is a farce!"

In her April edition of Cheap Therapy ( ), my dear friend Lisa said, “Man-o-man, do I ever know these are hard times. Life, death, war, illness, fear, anticipation - the list is endless. UGH. So when it begins to feel unmanageable, imagine that all those things gnawing at your gut are in a pile in the middle of the floor. Point at them and just laugh. It really does work."

So what have I learned through all of this?

First of all, I learned more about my personal values. We all have them. Some of us know exactly what they are and some of us struggle to define them, but we all use them to make our life decisions. One of my core values is respect. During this time of reflection, I became aware that my value of respect is alive and well. I actively give respect to others. What became blaringly apparent is that I don’t do such a great job of respecting myself. That was a real eye-opener.

So, I respect myself now. I know that one vacation in ten years is not nearly enough time to rejuvenate. I recognize that being "unplugged" for ten days requires more “slowing down” time on the front end and “catching up” time on the back end, and I owe it to myself to take that time. I realize that I need to take daily quiet breaks and schedule fun activities – riding my horse, walking in the woods, holding hands and talking with my husband, mediating, or journaling. I respect myself by taking time for me, saying it’s okay to do so, and breathing deeper and longer.

I also learned the importance of play. Recently, I spent two hours with eight adults in a "Creativity and Play" session. We played like children on the floor, engaging in new experiences without letting our inhibitions get in the way. We tied ourselves to one another, connecting to each others’ rings, hair, belts, shoes, anything to hook onto another person. Then, we decided to take our “creativity and play” into the other concurrent session.  We walked from one end of the hotel to the other, connected and giggling the whole way!  Then just walk into their room all connected to one another and walk out.

But when we left the room, we voiced our discomfort about going into the other session. We second-guessed ourselves. Judgments came marching into our minds and we felt we were “breaking" some rule of the other group. Did we check our perception with them? Nope. We just started talking like adults about how we had probably done something wrong. We couldn't reach a consensus, so we decided to go back to our "playground" and discuss it further. We got so bogged down that our energy plummeted and we were barely able to move more than an inch at a time back to our playground.

After struggling for some time, we were eventually able to move past our judgments and start playing again.

Is this what we do in our lives? Second-guess ourselves and get bogged down in our judgments? I know I do. I forget how to play, and that play is an important part of our life energy. I saw it happen within my play group, and with new eyes, I see it happen in many business settings.

With all this new awareness, I’m learning to respect myself, I'm learning to play again, and I've started a daily reflective practice which varies depending on my mood.

Is self-renewal a farce? I think not. However, we must make it a priority in our lives and stop taking life so seriously. We need to learn to play again and respect ourselves in the process. AND laugh often! It helps put life into perspective!


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May 3 & 4, 2007
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