I’ve been working hard at creating some new healthy habits since I moved to Portland, and thus far they’ve been going well. This is what I’ve committed to each week: 1. Meditate every morning before work. 2. Exercise at least 4 days a week. 3. Take my vitamins. 4. Schedule time each week to write. 5. Pack a lunch for work M-F. 6. Dance.
Fostering these habits has taken concentration and willpower, and I don’t always get them 100% right, but I’m sticking with them and that feels really good. Next I’m moving onto my finances and beginning to evaluate and strategize how to save more, spend less, and live comfortably with what I have. These are all awesome things to do – and I feel very much like an adult (for better or for worse) – but that’s not what I want to write about tonight. I want to write about something softer around the edges than pragmatism and discipline. I want to write about a precious and powerful healing agent called renewal.
RE.NEW.AL – the state of being made new, fresh, or strong again [Merriam-Webster says so]
Renewal is a new page in the book. It’s the old skin that’s been shed. It’s when another layer of oneself becomes whole and loved. Renewal is good for us. And after stressful times, I’m learning it’s essential to take the time out of my schedule to get some good old R&R – rest and rejuvenation.
Renewal for me can be as simple as an afternoon nap, or a hot shower while listening to a favorite artist (fortunately or unfortunately, my housemates get the special pleasure of hearing me sing aloud), a walk in nature or a pause in the whir of the day to just be and let my mind wander. It can also be a date with a friend or a good fit of the giggles.
After all the habit-forming “adult”-like work I’ve been doing on a personal level, I’ve been craving a little break. And so on Sunday, I postponed working through my to-do list for a sunny stroll through the neighborhood and a delicious cup of joe at my favorite cafe. I kicked up my feet, propping them on the chair across the table from me, and opened the cover to a new book I’ve been wanting to read for far too long. Then, after an hour or two of reading at a window table, I dilly-dallied on my walk back home, stopping to look at the artwork in a little gallery I’d never noticed before, and a pair of hazelnut brown clogs in the shoe store window, and then the sky, uncharacteristically blue and cheerful for the first day of February in Oregon. Once home, I sprawled out across my bed like a cat and spent another hour daydreaming and writing in my journal. It was delightful.
Finding renewal can also draw up the need for big changes, like ending or beginning a relationship, moving to a new city, switching careers or going on an adventure your soul needs in order to thrive again. Each of us has a unique need for renewal that only we can grant ourselves. What’s yours? How will you foster renewal this week? This month? This year?
Whatever it is you’re working hard at – a dream, a career, a relationship, a goal – remember that the breaks are just as important as the commitments. And if it’s change that will bring you renewal, then listen to and trust yourself. Leaving my job, buying a one-way ticket overseas and then moving to a new city were all necessary steps for me to refresh my spirit and start anew. Through change, I became strong again. And if I can do it, you can do it, because it wasn’t so long ago that this girl writing to you was very afraid of change…
but now I know it’s really a blessing after all.