Not the ones we learned in grade school…
The world is filled with turmoil. Sickness, discord, violence and tragedy fill the nightly news. Just this week a gunman opened fire on a huge group of concertgoers in Las Vegas, killing dozens and wounding hundreds more. I am still trying to wrap my head around the depravity, sickness, hatred and evil that could cause a human being to inflict such violence on a crowd of innocent strangers.
I am not a political person and this is not a political post. This is just a collection of my thoughts about how very tired I am…tired of the anger and violence that bombard us all with increasing, and alarming, frequency these days. I need some R&R…& more R.
“R&R” is an old expression for “Rest & Relaxation”. We ALL need those things from time to time, especially nowadays, in this world where we are constantly overloaded with noise, lights, motion and nonstop stimulation. It is easy to become burnt-out, frazzled and fried, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Rest and relaxation sound wonderful, but they can be difficult to achieve.
For me, this is where the third “R” comes in…RETREAT. In order to achieve rest and relaxation, sometimes we need to RETREAT from our normal surroundings, even if it is only for a few days, or hours. Even 15 or 20 minutes to change our scenery during a hectic, stressful day can be a lifesaver.
I’ve always been a big believer in the benefits of aromatherapy and how pleasant scents can make us feel better. The right fragrance can calm or energize us, improving our moods and bringing us back to center. Candles, potpourri, incense and the comforting aromas of favorite foods cooking can all provide a sense of retreat from the stress of the world outside, facilitating the ability to rest and relax.
Recently I have been lighting candles again, a small indulgence I have always enjoyed but in recent years have neglected. The mesmerizing glow of a candle’s flame, and the peaceful scent that lingers even after the candle is extinguished, change my environment…and thus, change me. I can focus my eyes, my breathing, and my heart and mind, on that flame and that fragrance. I can retreat to a place that relaxes me. And I can rest. And after that, I can go back out into my world and do what needs doing. I can be who and what I need to be, both for myself and for the people around me.
It’s a small thing, really…but it is also huge. Especially in a world that depletes, attacks and bombards us with so much sadness, noise and frenetic activity, we need to find ways to rest, relax..and retreat.
“Rest and self-care are so important. When you take time to replenish your spirit, it allows you to serve others from the overflow. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.”—Eleanor Brown