Friday, November 1, 2013

A Week "OFF" and Self Inflicted Tea

Today marks the beginning of my week of "staycation". I am taking a week off of teaching (though I'll still be riding the two client horses I have in training) to try to relax and unwind a bit, as well as to hopefully figure something out about the fabulous health issues I've been battling (atypical ovarian cysts, or something quite like them).

So. Anyone who really knows me knows that I am prone to some serious bouts of mania.

I rarely sit still, and when I do I find myself either planning the next 8 things I'm about to do or feeling guilty for not getting anything done. I'm convinced that this is a genetically transferred affliction... just ask my brother and/or father. :)

Anyway, this week I plan to perfect the art of sitting still. Hahaha. Yeah right.

Okay, not really, but I got an idea while talking to a good friend of mine the other night. She was talking about her mother and how she regularly, daily, finds time for tea. Tea for her includes a somewhat meticulous ritual of paper-reading, tea making and possibly even some post-tea crafting. We all took turns marveling aloud at the fact that someone could find time for an activity like that...

It wasn't until later that it struck me... People are always asking me how I find time to do things like fix fences, feed horses, shear sheep, plant gardens, build projects... most of my daily activities. The answer to that is that I don't exactly Find Time; I Make Time. Those things are my daily life and because they are part of the things I have labeled as necessary, I do them.

So, isn't my friend's mom's tea like that, for her?

My life is so full of activities that require physical exertion that often times by nine PM I am half in tears from exhaustion. It's a great way to live life, and I love it immensely, but I am also learning to recognize that it isn't necessarily a healthy life as far as the stresses it puts on my body. Everything in life should be in moderation - food, sleep, work and rest.


That's the sound of my brain going "huh, no wonder I feel more and more tired each day until my day off when I sit around exhausted and beating myself up for not working more..."

So this week I intend to take tea. I have cleared a table on the front porch (which is heavily windowed and currently covered in insulating plastic for winter) and each day this week I intend to make myself a cup of tea and sit down with a book for at least thirty minutes. I'm thinking eleven AM sounds like a good time for this, as when I am working that tends to be right around when I am between morning chores/training and afternoon chores/teaching, but of course as soon as I start giving myself a time-associated schedule I find myself struck down with anxiety.

I've mentioned my aversion to time in the past, and this is just another case of that. I have a hard time keeping time and often find myself arm-deep in something precisely when I am supposed to be starting something else (often more important - like teaching...) Alarms make me doubly anxious, as I'm always dreading that alarm (or the first of many that I set since I am scatterbrained and I often turn them off without thinking). This is probably connected to my unwillingness to grow-the-hell-up and my current state of self employment, in which I design my own schedule.

So really what I'm thinking is ... I will make and drink tea and be still each day between morning and afternoon obligations. Even if this entails slurping down a piping hot cup while sitting, antsy as I prepare to run out the door, I really think I need something like this to become part of my daily activities.

Ideally I would like this to be a chance to read and be untethered to technology. My phone will go on "Do Not Disturb", my computer will be switched off, and the television will sit and stare blankly... Stillness is certainly an art, I just never realized how vital it was until I noticed its absence in my life.

Do you ever struggle with stillness?