It's easy to forget that we are all perfect in our own design. Sometimes we muck it up with habits and choices that do not serve us.
“If light is in your heart, you will find your way home.” — Rumi
This week, I’ve been thinking about the fragility of life. I’ve been thinking about how hard it is for so many of us to keep at it day after day.
This morning, as my family mourns its own loss, I sit here praying for the families in El Paso, TX, who are mourning their own terrible losses after yet another senseless mass shooting—the deadliest one so far this year. The pain they must be feeling is unimaginable.
The news is devastating, but it’s also frustrating. Earlier this week, after a shooting in Gilroy, CA, killed three people, including a 6-year-old boy, I found myself saying, “America, we are better than this. If now is not the time to act, when is?” I can’t believe I find myself repeating those words just a few days later.
Life is fragile and it is heartbreaking. It turns upside down in a minute. That is why we must hold those we love close, and be gentle with those around us.
It’s also why I believe that we all need to pause and slow down. I think we’re all moving too fast. I know I am. Everyone I talk to speaks about their anxiety, their fear, and their inability to get above water and stay there.
Like many people, I find myself craving change. I find myself craving stillness, space and time to process the world around us. This is one of the reasons why I started to take the month of August off a few years ago. It’s an opportunity for me to stop and reconnect with myself and my holistic well-being—my emotional, spiritual, mental and physical well-being.
It’s also an opportunity for me to take a break from work, take a break from social media, take a break from writing and reporting the news, and simply BE. I’m well aware that there are many people who can’t take this kind of break, and I’m blessed that I am able to do so. But I am also aware that too many of us are constantly charging full-speed ahead and not taking the time to care for ourselves and those we cherish most.
At some point a few years ago, I started imagining what it would feel like if I declared a few weeks of each year as “my own.” Once I started playing with the thought in my mind, I realized how badly I craved it. That’s when I started trying to organize my calendar in a way that would actually allow it to happen.
Before I knew it, I was off on what I initially called my “spiritual detox.” Some people made fun of me, saying, “What the heck is a spiritual break, Maria?” Others asked me if I was okay, implying that there must be something wrong if I needed a break. A few people even had the nerve to ask if I was going to rehab or getting some sort of work done to my face or body.
“No,” I responded. “I am simply taking a break. Why is that so weird?”
Even though I knew it wasn’t weird to want a break, I must admit that it was really hard for me to take one at first. Initially, I felt guilty, anxious and almost a bit embarrassed. But as the month unfolded, I calmed down and reassured myself that taking this time was an act of self care.
So starting this week, I will be off on my annual August break. The Sunday Paper will be taking a break during this time as well. We’ll both be back in September.
I’m going to spend some time this month working on my home—my inner home, that is. I want to shore up the foundation inside me since there have been a lot of changes in my life as of late. I want to strengthen the walls that hold me up because I know there will be more changes in my life moving forward. I want to strengthen myself and simplify my life. I really just want to simplify everything, especially my to-do list.
Like many people, I find myself seeking stillness, simplicity and space, and I want to pay attention to that calling. I think we all need to pay attention when we hear our inner voice speaking to us. To be honest, I’m not entirely clear how to achieve the simplicity that I’m craving, but I know stepping away for a few weeks is a start in the right direction.
Rest. Reflect. Recharge. These are the things we all need to do if we want to show up in the world as more caring, calm, compassionate, and collaborative human beings.
Stillness, simplicity and slowing down will be my goals over the next few weeks. I’ll let you know how it goes after I get back.
Dear God, please give me the strength to stop all the busyness and just BE. I know my greatest strength and purpose lie in the divine being, so guide me home to this still place. Please also give me the strength to hold those who are struggling with unbearable loss and deep pain. Help me be my purest self and do the work of just being there for them. Amen.
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