Categories: Inspiration, Making Life Changes, Photography, Images
"Martha's Vineyard, Early Evening Windsurfer" copyright 2010, Heidi Straube
I wrote this article a couple of years ago…but thought it was time to revisit it. With Labor Day weekend coming, we all might need reminding to honor and reward ourselves and others a bit for our labor…for which the holiday was intended.
For those who have time off this weekend….for those who are in jobs that require them to work this weekend…and for those who are unemployed, looking for work, and doing the hard job of keeping their faith and spirits up while doing so…I wish you all a time of personal rest, retreat, and nurturing, whether this weekend or soon in the future. I honor you on this Labor Day.
Article: Making Time for Retreat: The "Good Person" Syndrome
Long ago and far away (I love that phrase, it has nothing to do with this article really ), I read an article in which a woman talked of a 10-day retreat. As she spoke of her days of being pampered, going within, and exploring what she really wanted to do in life, I became totally envious. Her experience felt so luxurious. Why? This woman was claiming her right to relax and to have a rich inner life. And it's something most of us find hard to do.
We know that it's good to take time for ourselves. We try to have inner lives. But unfortunately, we live in a society that basically expects us to go go go. So I'm not surprised that when I suggest to a stressed out, anxious client that they need to take a break, they quickly answer "I have no time," "I just can't leave work right now", or version 100 of "my family/husband/mother needs me".
But when will there be time? If we don't put our own self care, and the care of our souls as top priority, how can we expect to continually have energy for others?
In order to have a long-term base of energy, we need time to rest from the stressors of life, to nurture ourselves. We need to acknowledge that we aren't robots who can continue clicking away in the same routine, with the same amount of energy every day (high and intense, of course) for years on end.
We also need time to rejoice in the wonderful things that we've created; to be grateful for the the things we've done. Appreciating where we've been, and the gifts we have will form a wonderful based for knowing what the next steps can be in our lives.
While most of us wouldn't expect to start a new business without taking some time to define what it is that we intend to do, we often expect ourselves to live our lives with little time to explore our essence and the path we want to take.
If we're to live our Truth, become who we want to be, and create lives that truly benefit others, we must have time to discover who we are. We need time to see what's keeping us from being our ultimate selves, what isn't working in our lives, and what to do next.
A few years ago, I was very much in need of a retreat. I had been through a series of life changing events, and looking back, can see that I was obviously experiencing a major shift in my life. I couldn't acknowledge it though. Through crisis after crisis, I thought that if I just kept on working and persevering, toughing out the hard stuff, that this phase would soon be through. I could then get back to my "normal" life. I didn't realize my "normal" life was over.
I look at that time and ask myself why I didn't stop to take a break. Finances, of course. Or so I told myself. How could I justify "taking time off" when I needed to bring in new clients, pay for home repairs, and replace my stolen car?
Of course these things were important. But there was something deeper at work, something else that was keeping me from taking time for myself, from stepping out and living a life of Truth.
It was called the "good person syndrome."
In the "good person syndrome," the outer world takes priority. We make decisions based on what we've always been rewarded for being: "good." And being good usually involves living like everyone around us. It leaves little permission for us to connect with our inner lives, find our true desires, and then test out what we really believe is our unique way to contribute to the world.
Do you have the "good person syndrome"? Check and see if the following (faulty) unconscious personal rules may be why you, too, find it hard to make time for retreat:
1. Your life goals should not be based on happiness. Concepts like life purpose and soul satisfaction are for wimps and new-agers. You have a "station" in life, and it's wasteful dreaming to strive for anything better. Having a job and being able to pay the bills is the most you could ask for. You should be grateful; expecting more from life is frivolous.
2. Happiness comes from fulfilling your life's role. And you should stick to only one role. Don't have a lot of different interests, it's confusing and defines you as a flake. Oh, and by the way, don't think you can choose your role. Do what is "right": what your parents, friends, and neighbors approve of. (Breadwinner role is the ultimate.)
3. You should always make everyone else happy first. You can do things for yourself only in the time left over (but of course, there's rarely time left over.) Claiming the right to nurture yourself or question what you really want in life is selfish.
4. Making a living and having money is the highest priority, regardless of whether it wears you out physically, or erases your spirit. Even if you're having an emotional break-down or heading for major illness, you must persevere.
Have you believed these things? Can you see how they would stop you? After years of being rewarded by living them (what a good person you are!) no wonder your people pleaser rebels when you think of taking time for yourself.
So how "good" are you? Is it time to be "bad" and take a break?
I think it's time to examine your need to be "good." Where does it serve you? When is it knee-jerk, and not really helping anyone? Are you protecting and conserving your energy so you can take care of those you love, or are you letting it leak (or gush) out leaving you weak and cranky?
It's time for personal reflection, nurturing, & self-discovery. Whether it's in the form of just 5 minutes' meditation, an interesting class, energy work, or a nurturing retreat, plan for your relaxation & rejuvenation.
Reflect on your reasons for putting this off. Give that programmed self a holiday. And begin to create a new way of being "good," releasing your unique spirit, talents, and the love you have inside.
Take a retreat…take time to be "bad." Can you find the time?