Friday, March 2, 2012

Restoration

I've been thinking about the idea of restoration lately.  It started a few weeks back when my yoga teacher led us through a 75-minute restorative class.  She prefaced the session by saying that a restorative class might not be what we expected... we'd be doing gentle, calming stretches rather than quicker "flow" movements.  But she reassured us that this type of practice is often just what we need... especially if we don't think we need it. 

I haven't made it to yoga class very often lately, so that day, part of me was hoping to move and sweat and build some strength, but after running around and cramming everything I could into the week, a little restoration was much needed.

The word "restore" sounds scary sometimes because the very definition requires taking a step back, returning to a previous state.  When we are hurt or broken or shaky though, we need to heal before moving forward.

These days, we all want to be productive, make use of time, get results.  But sometimes we need that down time more than anything.  We need to be still and quiet, to sleep, pray, read, think.  We need time with friends and loved ones, laughing and sharing.  There is no way to keep up the fast pace of life without time to relax and recharge.  For me, to allow my creativity to flow, I need time to think and dream and laugh... even if it is just a few moments captured here and there.

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Last night, I stayed home while Scott went out for a couple of beers with friends.  I was fighting a cold and class was cancelled, so I curled up on the couch and watched the newest Twilight movie.  Scott had no interest in seeing it, and as silly as it seems, I needed those two hours to sit and veg out, calm my mind and escape into another world.

I realized the most important part of indulging in restorative time (it sure seems like it is an indulgence even though it's necessary!) is not feeling guilty about it.  If I think about what else I could be doing, or should be doing, the time isn't truly restorative.  I've found that I feel better about taking a time-out if I have mapped out other times to complete everything else I need to do.  I know I'll get it all done... later.

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This Lent, rather than give something up, I've been trying to take time to pray, especially during my commute.  When I'm on the bus at 6 am, I don't want to do anything except space out, so it's the perfect time to reflect and take a moment to talk to God.  Sometimes I forget, sometimes I just run through an "Our Father" or "Hail Mary," but it's a nice reminder that He is there with me, all the time, no matter what.

Consider the hush of an empty church with wooden pews and stained glass windows, a library with stacks and shelves of books, a little patch of sand next to waves of soothing water.  It's in the quiet, restorative moments that I calm my nerves, heal my soul, let my creativity come alive... just breathe and get ready for whatever comes next.

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