Sometimes we get so caught up in our lives, our heads, our busy-ness that we forget that the times we are quiet and still is when the magic happens.
I had an incredibly busy week last week. I flew from Australia to the US for a work conference and to spend a few days with family. I try to minimise the running around while I’m there but there is a certain amount that is just inherent when you travel.
For four days last week I was in Rochester Minnesota for a conference. The beauty of attending this particular conference is that everyone who attends is either a friend I’ve met previously or a friend I end up meeting while I’m there.
This year I decided to stay in an Airbnb house with three of my old friends rather than stay in a hotel.
That was the second best decision I made for me this week.
Having a house to retreat to after a full day of conferencing and talking and networking was a godsend. At events like this I guess I could be classified as an extrovert. But I know that I can only keep that energy going for a limited time. I need quiet and time to reflect in order to appreciate the busy-ness and crazy fun.
That came to a head last Tuesday.
I had a bad night’s sleep on Monday night – tossing, turning, listening to podcasts, writing in my journal, reading books – all to try to help me sleep, but nothing worked. I ended up sleeping just 1.5 hours by the end of the night. By Tuesday lunchtime I had reached the end of my tether. I decided to skip the lunchtime keynote address, grabbed some lunch from my favourite pizzeria, walked home and fell asleep on the couch.
That was the best decision I made all week.
I woke up feeling rested and sat in the stillness, relishing the quiet. I received some clarity around a few decisions that I needed to make but had put off. I had time to think and reflect. I was able to return to the conference, refreshed and excited to talk and advise others on their strategic issues. And no one at the conference had missed me for a minute of the time I had taken for myself.
In our society, why is it that we rarely prioritise ourselves? We prioritise our children, our partners, our work, our extended family, our friends, almost everyone else rates higher in our lives. Prioritising ourselves feels like an extravagance and often we end up feeling guilty. And yet in that time of quiet, reflective being is when we are more likely to hear what we need to hear. As a friend said recently, ‘the magic happens when and where Divinity meets our humanity.’ And it’s only in the quiet that my inner Divinity and humanity come together.
Too often we get caught up in the hamster wheel of life, thinking we are so important or indispensable, when actually nothing could be further from the truth. The only person I am 100% important to or indispensable to is myself. If I don’t do what I need for my own self-care, how can I be any good for anyone else?
I am getting better and better at realising when I need to take a break from life — whether for a couple of days down at the beach or even for a couple of hours like I did at the conference.
It’s amazing the difference a pizza, a comfy sofa and a soft blanket can make.