Finding Sanctuary

After six weeks of
being surrounded by chaos, my thoughts turned to the idea of sanctuary. My life had been, for the most part, on a positive track. There were visits from family and friends that kept me busy, but full of joy. There was also lots of travel and a joyous family wedding.  Along side that, however, came the passing of many and the reality of the declining health of someone I loved.  

At the end of
this came the straw that broke the camel's back. Someone I cherished and admired, someone I hadn't been able to connect with in awhile, passed unexpectedly. I knew she had some health challenges. Those combined with the pandemic were part of the reason we hadn't been able to get together.  However, I did not realize she had become that ill. Sadness and guilt that I hadn't been there for her were the final whammy. 

I have shared many times that if we don't take care of ourselves, our body steps in and forces the issue. I woke up one morning to find I just didn't feel well.  It was undefined. There was nothing specific you could point your finger at. The stomach was off, the brain felt foggy, I had shivers and sweats, and I had no energy. In true pandemic fashion I took a few COVID rapid tests space 2 days apart, and checked my temperature a few times. All was normal. 

It was time to consider the emotional toll of the last six weeks. I thought I had been moving through the chaos unscathed, but I guess deep inside my cup was getting emptier and emptier.  Hitting the wall was unavoidable.  It was time to create a sanctuary where I could both let the tears of sorrow flow and allow my cup to slowly be refilled.  Fortunately my schedule was sparse. 

One definition of
sanctuary Merriam Webster offers is" a place of refuge and protection." Any place I am able to shut out the outside work, sink deep and hear my soul speak is a place of refuge and protection for me.  It could be simply a quiet room, or the silence and beauty found when surrounded by nature. I read one wife and mother used her car when she needed to be alone. It was the one place no one would bother her. 

It's only in recent
years I have begun to understood how important creating times of sanctuary are to my emotional and physical well-being.  I have an incredible emotional radar when out in public.  I can pick up on feelings, innuendos, joy, and pain.  This has a positive side in that being in a room full of joyful people invigorates me. The downside is when people are struggling the energy flows out in support. Time alone in a quiet space allows me to release any negative I am holding onto, to let emotions wash through me and out, and to slowly re-fill my cup with gratitude and joy. 

I have become better at pacing myself now. It's only unique times of overwhelm that catch me now. This was one. The three days of pulling back have not been enough.  I have cleared most of the coming week to continue my focus on continuing to let go of the sorrow and refilling my cup. And if that's not enough I will take another.  

Does the personal story I shared sound familiar.  Do you push yourself constantly to the limits and then collapse spent? Is your body giving you vague nudges that it needs a break? All I can say is don't ignore them. If you are at a time of life your schedule is full or work and family, or if chaos comes at you to quickly to catch your breath (like my last six weeks), this can be a challenge.  Even if you can only find 10-15 minutes every day, that will make a huge difference. Take that time for yourself without guilt or apology. You are important. You are worth it.