We are a society of very hard workers. We push. We force. We neglect our very own needs and sometimes forget when to stop. So, in this illuminated season of Christmas, I am reminding myself to Lighten Up.
I will be the first to admit that I do not always stop when I am tired. Getting a task done makes me so happy; yet, sometimes by the time I am done with a task, I am too exhausted to really enjoy it. Then I get bitter because it may not be as appreciated as I was hoping. That makes me really upset that I pushed myself to finish the job for “nothing”. Really, no one pushed me into doing anything. I have set my standards to work, work, work, and rest when the job is done. In other words, I have sentenced myself to a work camp because there will always be more to do.
Sadly, I realized that I was doing the same to my children in their homeschooling. I packed their lesson plan with a lot of really cool things to learn. We were doing about 3-4 hours of homeschool a day in their little classroom and some field trips, but it was a lot more in their classroom. Boring. They were not loving learning as I was and truthfully, getting their next day together at 9 pm was not very fun for me. I have been reading several books on homeschooling and it was emphasized numerous times that my children should get their work done in 1-2 hours. The rest is an implementation in everyday activities. Flashback to when I was in the traditional occupational therapy world. I had 30-60 minutes with each patient 5x/week. The rest was implementation for the patients. I even know that hands-on application is the best way to retain information and skill.
So, over the last 3 weeks, I have Lightened Up on the amount of work my kids are doing. Spread the learning throughout the day whenever it fits in naturally and had fun with it. Yes, I do use bribery to get them to focus for that 60-90 minutes we are in the classroom, but they do not resist me as they had before and best yet, they are learning and laughing. I pray that as I release the heavy burden that I choose to carry, they too will feel that unnecessary pressure to learn lifted off of their shoulders.
May we not get bogged down with the holiday to-do list and instead Lighten Up and Lift up. Let God do some of the work. Take that pressure off of yourself. In the horse training world I have been taught that when a horse does something right, nothing is as rewarding as the release of pressure that made the horse do what you were asking. Let go.
Illuminate and Lift yourself Up.
Voyage to HEAL Weekly Task
Stretch: The shoulders hold a lot of burdens that weigh us down. Sitting in your bed with your legs out straight, bring your arms behind you resting with the palms up. You may want a pillow under your knees if your hamstrings are tight. Now gently breathe and lean forward. Imagine all your to-dos falling off of your shoulders as you gradually lean more and more forward.
Exercise: In standing, Raise your arms overhead, activate your core, and lean left and right 10x. Imagine holding onto your to-do list. As you do this exercise envision God taking that list from you and your arms getting lighter and lighter and stronger than they ever have been.
Habitual Correction: Drop your shoulders and breathe with your diaphragm.
Perspective Enlightenment: I am not meant to suffer. I give myself permission to take life with joy. I give myself permission to have fun.
This week’s Voyage to Heal coincides with week 8: Arm releases and I am enough. I encourage you to listen to the meditation as you complete this week’s stretch.
Godspeed on your Voyage to HEAL learning Healthy Everyday Activities for Life.