Saturday, August 22, 2009

How rested are you?

How rested are you? Now that's a question to ponder. I just got back a week ago from our annual family vacation which left me quite frankly wanting for more. First of all I absolutely love the beach and really 6 days out of the year is not enough of the beach not to mention a vacation. You wait all year for the spend days packing then you get there after either hours in the car or at the takes a few days to unwind then it's time to pack it up get yourself home and unpack it all over again.....Something is wrong with this picture. Then what if something really does go wrong while you're on vacation? Last year my longed for and deeply awaited beach vacation found me sitting in a beach chair the whole time as I injured a muscle behind my knee the first day and was unable to walk. I sure got a deep rest that week after I got over the initial trauma. But what a way to get a rest!

So what's the solution I ask myself while I wrestle these feelings of unfulfilled needs. How do I fill these needs.....obviously I'll try to arrange for a longer vacation next year and would honestly like to do as the Europeans do and take off a whole month.....that would be great ideal to work towards but I must come up with a plan in the interim. I must make some basic lifestyle changes to incorporate rest, relaxation and downtime on a regular basis be it daily, weekly, monthly as well as yearly especially so as not to be so desperate when vacation time rolls around.

I am reading a wonderful book called Sabbath: Restoring the Sacred Rhythm of Rest by Wayne Muller. We've had this book for quite sometime now and it's interesting how I was talking to a dear friend of mine who said she wanted to give me a copy of a book that was really inspiring her........I immediately got it from my shelf and started reading it. The timing couldn't have been more perfect to help me feel better....It was just what I needed to get some relief from these feelings..... I highly recommend this book to everyone. This book is very user friendly with short and to the point chapters with beautiful poems and prayers and exercises for re-establishing Sabbath into one's life. The author talks about how we violate our mind, body and spirit by overthinking, overworking and overdoing. He explains how we are making war on our selves as we are doing more than is truly possible. He goes on to say that the majority of our society thinks of vacation, rest and leisure time as a luxury and that much of sickness is borne out of perpetual busyness. The question to ask is- Am I getting the rest that I need? Is it my pattern to wait until I'm so desperate, so out of shape, so overweight, so sick that I'm stopped in my tracks by an injury or a chronic disease? It might seem counter intuitive to a weight loss program to emphasize rest and sleep as an important therapeutic tool but the time honored standard to remember is- "all things in balance." If we're not getting the rest we need we may then reach for the wrong activities, food choices, alcohol, sugar, etc. One doesn't really need research though there is plenty of it, to back up these statements. One simply needs common sense and the ability to tune into the natural world. Day gives in to night, spring turns into summer and so on. There is a time to work and a time to rest. must stop and listen- stop and observe and then as the familiar phrase states, "take time to smell the roses."
It might not be so easy to slow down or we may also unconsciously avoid it even though there is much to be gleaned from rest and stillness and quiet. Sometimes the non-doing can be uncomfortable.... we may feel worthless, invaluable or lonely. We might even feel useless doing nothing....but it might just give us a chance for some deeper insights to come when we're quiet. We have to be empty to allow for the filling up once again. The wind might be speaking to us....the ocean....the mountains.....the crickets....the birds.....our children.....our spouses.....our hearts. Our divine guidance might be trying to contact us but if the line is busy we're likely to miss the call....How sad is that?

I look forward to taking some time in the days and weeks ahead to consider ways that I can get more rest and create more Sabbath moments for myself and my family. I'm also thinking of planning more openings in my schedule for being restful with friends and taking such opportunities as nice walks or having board game nights regularly with friends. Sometimes when I go to the lake I'll see a large group of people who have overtaken one of the shelters and have come prepared to spend the day doing nothing but playing cards, sharing food, playing volleyball and that's also very restful and vacation-like without going so far away. This is lacking in my life and I'd like to do something to change that. Other ways to get more rest is just to examine the rhythm of your life....Do you have certain days for shopping, laundry, cleaning, and meal planning? Having rhythm is a natural way to get more rest in as you're not always flying by the seat of your pants, which ends up creating stress and more busyness. For instance, if you take the time to plan menus you can consolidate shopping time and have more time after work for putting your feet up, being quiet or going for a meditative walk instead of having to stop at the store again. One easy way to create a Sabbath moment is to light a candle at suppertime, say a grace and then mealtime can be transformed into a restful, nurturing event. These are just a few ideas surrounding the topic of rest.....I would love to hear ways that you have discovered that work for you to get more rest and Sabbath moments in your life. Please feel free to post your ideas in my comment box to share.

Since my daughter Gabrielle has moved back home to do her student teaching I'm getting a little bit of a rest from cooking as she really loves to cook. The other day she made Chicken Kabobs that were so delicious I wanted to share the recipe with you. For vegetarians please feel free to use extra firm tofu or tempeh instead of the chicken.

Chicken Kabobs
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 1/2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp. finely chopped fresh parsley
1/4 tsp.dried oregano or 1 tsp fresh
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken, cut into bite sized pieces

1/2 red onion , cut in chunks
1/2 large red or green pepper, cut into 1 inch pieces
button mushrooms
1/2 medium eggplant, cut in 1 inch cubes
large cherry tomatoes
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper

Prepare marinade by placing all marinade ingredients in a large ziploc bag and refrigerate for at least an hour. Prepare grill or broiler. Remove chicken from bag, discard marinade. Thread veggies and chicken on skewers. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place kabobs on grill rack that has been brushed with olive oil. Grill for 12 minutes or until chicken is done, turning once. Serve over rice and with a salad.

Click here for the printable version of this recipe!

So while you're sitting at your dinner meal of lovely kabobs and you've lit your candle and said your grace and are enjoying your special Sabbath moment.....remember (to quote the card on my desk by Sharon Valleau)....... Answers whisper in the silence of our hearts.

Restfully yours,