Emilie at Chautauqua Lake.JPG

Right this moment are you 1) Frantically trying to do at least two things at once?  (And yes, yelling at the children or the dog does count as one.)  2) Leisurely planning a leisurely day?  3) Wondering who those lazy people who said yes to #2 think they are?  4) Trying to remember the meaning of the word leisure.

My friends, we have a problem.  It’s summer, the typical time to relax and enjoy the fruits of a long, hard year.  A chance to play with the children, watch concerts in the park, enjoy family reunions with relatives from far and near. 

And yet. . . and yet. . . if you haven’t been taking the occasional breath all year, contemplating snowmen and spring wildflowers, staring out the window for a portion of your day with nothing else on your agenda, you may be in my boat. . .

I’ve forgotten how to relax. 

Yes, that’s right.  I’m at Chautauqua Institution, in gorgeous Western New York, and I’m still running around trying to accomplish three things at once and wondering why that’s impossible.  I’m still piling up things to do, feeling guilty about the things I haven’t added to the list and trying not to snap at the people around me.

And why?  Because, it’s the first week of vacation.  By next week, I’ll get up late, smile a lot, stop making lists while Nemo and I go for our 3 mile morning walk, forget to show up for programs and better yet, be happy I did.

Recharging our personal batteries is essential for productivity.  Try to forget this step and everything grinds to a halt.  Eventually we run down, wear out, find ourselves on the scrap heap of life.  Or sometimes, like a two year old who’s been overstimulated, we just keep going and going until we fall to the floor, for what looks like no good reason, screaming and kicking.

I’ve come to the place where I recharge with the least amount of fuss.  Most of us have a place like that.  It might be down the street at the local coffee shop.  It might be on a cruise ship.  It might be in our childhood bedroom with Mom downstairs making her famous blueberry muffins.  It might be in a beach chair or in a tent on a mountainside.

I bet you know yours, don’t you? I know your answers will vary as widely as my examples.  Relaxation, letting go, recharging? It’s all about your state of mind.

In this week of transition, I’ve learned one important thing.  I wouldn’t need a week just to remember how to relax if I’d taken more time to recharge through the year.  So now, I’ll put that on a list. Note to  myself:  Relax more.  Don’t forget.  Plan ahead for it, in fact start planning immediately.  

Or maybe, I’ll just go take a nap.  

6 Comments

  1. Pat Sloan on August 5, 2009 at 9:34 pm

    wow… this describes me exactly!!! So I need to take 2 weeks off… in a row… every year???
    Wonder how I can do that???
    Awesome YOU for making it happen!

  2. April on August 6, 2009 at 8:04 am

    I am very bad about allowing myself time to relax. I have 3 very young kids, work full time, 2 dogs, and a husband about as bad as 3 kids and 2 dogs himself (LOL). I just recently decided it was time to plan ahead and make time for myself to relax so I have joined a yoga class. Classes are 3 evenings a week. It only took me a week to figure out how to mix my classes in with all of the other activities! I have been doing this for 2 weeks, but I feel so much better!

  3. Emilie Richards on August 6, 2009 at 9:21 am

    It’s imperative and impossible sometimes. A real paradox! But I’ll twist your arm at one of our “working” lunches.

  4. Emilie Richards on August 6, 2009 at 9:23 am

    Oh, good for you, April. It’s never easy but it’s always worthwhile.

  5. Gail Switzer on August 15, 2009 at 12:34 pm

    WOW, What makes me happy?
    Picture this: I have just come home from purchasing the newest Emilie Richards book: Happiness Key and also some quiltig supplies. I can’t wait to get started.
    My husband is working late, my college daughter is going to eat & the movies with friends & also took her 15 y/o sister. I love my family & all the young people that like to “hang out at our house” but …I AM HOME ALONE….Oh I can have some me time, RELAX & READ my new book.
    I realize how tired I am as I change out of my nursing uniform. As I start to take it into the laundry room, I hesitate at the door—do I really want to go in? NO! Then I would feel the need to start a load to wash, sooo I always wanted to do this. I do the kid thing you know I crack the door,close my eyes & chunk my clothes in, hoping they land in the dirty clotes & not the clean clothes. YEAH Mom you did it.
    I wash my hands,go to the kitchen fix my self a glass of Coke(cola). I avoid looking at the kitchen sink and walk toward my reading chair. Oh,I’m almost there don’t look.Oh no I looked, now I HAVE TO quickly restore order to the living room. I quickly grab my cell phone(excuse me but I have to be reachable you know my family is gone. ) I grab my book & cola, try to get tunnel vision to my reading chair and hurry toward that happy place.
    Ahh,I’m sitting down, reach out for my reading glasses, put them on.Prop my feet up and finally open the first page with a sigh of relief I am there!
    As I end page 39 the phone rings. I hear a voice of my youngest daughter asking if everyone can come home with them & eat desert? I tell her I don’t have any desert. Suddenly I hear 10 voices askig,”Mom will you make us a Chocolate Chip Cheese Ball, pleaseee.” Longingly I look at my Happiness Key book, quilting supplies & Quilt Along with Emilie book. I hear myself saying “OK,but you’ll have to bring the cookies to go with it”.
    I rush to the kitchen & pull out the ingredients,for CCCB and whip it up & place in refrigerator. I hear the door opening then voices (male & female from ages 15-20) and laughter as they all rush to the kitchen to hug & thank me.Now I am in my other happy place.

  6. Emilie Richards on August 15, 2009 at 12:42 pm

    What a beautiful description of the tugs and pulls we experience on our quests for happiness. And how nice to be happy about them all.

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