The Summer Stretch

This is our first summer living in Maryland. I truly love living here. I love our neighborhood, our house and yard that is just the right size for our big family, and how near we are to a multitude of activities ranging from Washington, DC museums to a day on the beach. 

My kids are growing. My oldest will begin High School in just a month. I’ll have kids in three different schools this year, also a first. They’re developing their own interests, and with them, a desire to explore.

Which means that this summer, my kids are involved in a myriad of activities, and I’m their primary transportation method. 

My work time has been carved into pieces around driving to and from day camps, lessons, and social engagements. In between, I’ve been planning meals, and trying to discourage the kids who are home between activities from arguing or making a mess. Plus, when kids are home and I’m trying to work, inevitably, they want my attention. They want to talk about their dream last night, or the video they saw, or what their friend texted to them this morning. It’s hard to ask for silence, because I’m also keenly aware of how fast they’re growing. I care about their thoughts; I want to be there for them. I don’t want to be “that mom” who isn’t really listening, isn’t really present for my kids during this important time in their growth. 

I miss the different daily rhythm of the school year, with it’s quiet mornings and early afternoons before the kids return home with homework and stories of their day, followed by dinner, planning for the next day, and then quiet work or teaching time again. 

Yes, I am enjoying more recreational time with my family. That’s what summer is for too, right? Reconnecting, appreciating good weather and different activities that the school year doesn’t leave time for. That’s good stuff. I’m grateful for the flexibility to choose my schedule and manage my own work time. 

But, on the other hand, I have a need and a desire for silence – to meditate, or be open to the new ideas that help me more forward. I need focus and time to be productive. My work doesn’t stop when the school year does. I just have to fit it in differently. 

I’m finding myself pretty tired out, and sometimes frustrated at the interruptions, at leaving work unfinished and having to come back to it, and at the ways my energy has been pulled in many directions all day long.

I know that it’s temporary. The summer seems to go by faster than the rest of the year. The winter feels at least twice as long to me. And, I do love being outside when the weather is warm. I’m trying to breathe it all in, but even that can feel like a lot to remember when there are so many things on my todo list.

Does your summer feel like this? Can you relate to my situation?

In a moment of frustration last night, I told my husband I need a vacation from the kids and all this. He said he understands. 

I’m going to take one in two weeks. It’s called Caregiver Relief Retreat. And that’s exactly what I need. Even though I’ll be leading this retreat with my business partner, Connie, and some great colleagues, I know I’ll also get some benefit from the change in setting, change in rhythm, and a little energetic reset. 

We’ve been planning this retreat for six months. It’s in mid-Ohio, at Mohican State Park Retreat and Conference Center. It’s going to provide the kind of break that any caregiver needs – I’m talking about moms, nurses, teachers, social workers, and so many more. There will be guided meditation, yoga, nature walks, and energy healing sessions. Connie’s bringing her aura camera, and we’ll do some readings and intuitive fun stuff in the evening. We’ll remind participants and ourselves the importance of this kind of break for self-care,  because ultimately, it makes it easier to go back to giving care to those who need us. 

There are still some spots open. If you or anyone you know needs this break as much as I do, please come, and encourage them to come too. Better yet, bring them with you. Everyone is more willing to take time for self care if a friend invites them. Just click the flyer below. Let’s do this together.

Self-care is so important, and the most neglected of all. Even those who understand, preach, and teach the importance of self-care can be the worst at taking the time for their own. I hope that people will come on this retreat with me, so we can all remind each other, as we model what we teach by how we live. 

Peace and sunshine.

Reiki Awakening Reiki blog by Alice Langholt

How to Surrender

I’ve noticed lately that many people are blogging and tweeting about surrender. What is surrender, though? Is it giving up? Is it shrugging your shoulders and admitting that we have no control over the events which will come at us moment by moment? Is it having faith? All of these options sound difficult from where I’m standing, and some of them don’t sound like a good way to live.

Let’s talk about the first thing I mentioned – giving up. That couldn’t be a good thing. It implies a feeling of hopelessness – like there’s nothing I can do so why try? If one who is without a job gives up, there is no job search, there is just wallowing in misery. I don’t think this is the way to go.

Then there’s the “shrugging one’s shoulders and admitting one isn’t in control” method. Saying “this is out of my hands” is difficult for one who likes to make things happen with action. But there comes a time when one has done all she can and the rest is waiting. I think when one gets to this point, it takes patience to get through it. Patience is my lesson these days, and the Universe is handing me abundant opportunities to practice. Is this a good form of surrender? Well, I think it’s part of the process, so whether it’s good or bad to shrug and give in, it is probably necessary.

So then there’s having faith. This is the next step, after shrugging, I think. This is the part for me takes a lot of effort, but many people advocate this. Just believe that everything will turn out for the best. The Universe, Source, Powers that Be, has your best interest in mind and is steering the world in the right direction for you. Things will work out. That’s a common phrase people say to reassure themselves when things seem out of their hands. How does one go about having faith? Is it a decision? Is it an effort? I think that for me, it’s both.

Deciding that I’ll take the attitude of “I’ve done all I can, so now I’ll wait” is part of it. The rest is letting go of worry that things will go this way or that way, or not work out after all the effort put in. That’s the faith part, and it’s also surrender in action. The act of surrender is giving up the worry – just letting it go and staying in this moment, not the place of “what if.”

It’s easy for me to think of all of the possible outcomes of the situation and what I would do to handle each. That’s the control freak in me, I think. It also puts me in a place of anxious waiting, rather than calm. One would think that planning for every possible outcome would make me feel secure, and I know that’s why I try to do it. But actually, it makes me live on the edge of my seat, waiting to see which outcome seems to be materializing so I can jump into action.

Things in my life have been in flux lately as my husband attends some important job interviews which may lead to us moving out of state. Moving is a big deal, as I’ve mentioned, but I’m not against the idea. It just involves rising to the occasion and taking care of a lot of details, including a period of time where my husband would move ahead of us and I’d be in charge of all of our day to day business with the kids, school, meals, cleaning, and selling the house. Breathe, Alice, breathe! Okay, I’m breathing.

So this idea of “surrender” is a tough one for me, as is patience, while we wait to see what will transpire. It’s good – getting a job is a good thing – for sure. But it’s also possible to get lost in the details, and the wondering how we’ll manage to accomplish it. I reassure myself that people do this, even with big families such as ours, and we can too. That’s a kind of faith/ surrender too I suppose.

There is also Reiki. Of course, Reiki! I can send Reiki to the intention for the best possible outcome for our family, and knowing that positive energy is flowing in that direction is reassuring in itself. In fact, the more I do this, the more I feel I’m doing something that makes a difference, and that feels pretty good.

I’m breathing, grounding, and doing all I can to stay in the moment instead of going to that place of “what if” and “how will I do such-and-such” and man, what an effort! I never knew surrender could be so much work. Nobody talks about how much work surrender actually is, and instead people say that they make the decision to “let it go” and poof! they feel so much better instantly. For me, it’s a process. I constantly remind myself to breathe. I often bring myself back to the present. It’s an ongoing thing. My mind is like a toddler who is intent on having her way. I have to be the mom who goes over and repeatedly picks her up and brings her back to this room. Then a few seconds later, off she goes again!

But I know also that there is an end in sight. There will be a decision, a resolution, soon, and I’ll be able to make lists of what needs to be done and get organized. In many ways, that will be a relief. In others, it will be overwhelming. For now, the list has one thing on it: wait. That in itself is hard enough. Later, the list will have many things, but at the end of the day, whatever I’ve gotten done is progress, and I can be okay with that.

So this blog post is about How to Surrender, and the recipe includes shrugs, faith, breathing, Reiki, and of course, patience. No surprises there, right? Tell me something, is surrender a struggle for you too? Do you have a different recipe?

Peace.

Reiki Awakening Reiki blog by Alice Langholt