Alone in a crowd. This is something I actually like and crave. I’m a solitary creature by nature. I love my runs because it’s just ME, throwing my body at the day. All thoughts gone in place of the pleasure of wind, sun, ambient noise, the sights along the way. People are all around me doing their own thing, engaged in whatever endeavor causes us to cross paths with a smile and a mouthed greeting, no expectation beyond this brief acknowledgment of the other. I lose my self in the experience of allowing all thought and anxiety, the have-to’s of my life to recede into a corner and allow me to simply…be. I am comfortably couched in a booth in a back corner of a cafe, a book that I love, a very strong cup of coffee that I love possibly more, like a tiny island of peace. I am here 2-3 times a week at the same time and have the gift of a single hour all to myself while one of my children is undergoing an intensive out patient therapy program. Apart from this one hour, I will be in groups and meetings with other parents like me, worrying, anxious, doing our very best to support our children and each other. The investment in time is significant, but if it were not for the necessity of this place, I would never have gifted myself this single hour on a regularly crazed day. I would be trying to figure out how I could squeeze another item from my to do list into an already over full schedule. It is something I am adept at. The ultimate multi tasking, never stopping, always on the run kind of girl. Because I can’t seem to help myself from always feeling the desperate need to fill every moment (an excellent strategy I’ve mastered since childhood to redirect panic and anxiety: a busy person has little time to worry about worrying all the time!) the world put the breaks on hard. My child, among many gray hairs and sleepless nights these days, has actually given me the gift of the time alone, anchored to a small cafe nearby while I wait for my call, the time I crave and need to restore my own heart and soul, and along the way, my body. So I am alone. It’s beautiful. It’s luxurious. It feels like a wide awake nap. It opened the door for me to realize that I deserve this gift: to be with myself, only nurturing the deepest parts of ME when the rest of my time is spent (and I love this) nurturing the minds and bodies and souls of others.
We can’t always come last. Like the saying goes “you can’t fill from an empty cup”. So I am learning to nurture myself. In each day I look for where I will schedule ME. Maybe a run on a gorgeous trail, maybe several chapters curled up under thick blankets on my favorite couch, the one that has sun pouring onto it through the he window it is pushed up against. Maybe it’s spent writing (which you can all see, I LOVE to do…) and maybe it will be anything that sparks my desire. I am adding myself to the schedule because if I don’t, I will lose myself and miss out on the pleasure of my own company. I love, and live for my big, noisy, chaotic brood, our wild, unruly and untamed crew. I adore the busyness they bring, the huge swell of sound they fill the air around me with, and the unadulterated joy they unleash in my heart. But I need to find “me” somewhere in all that wonderfulness. I need a quiet space between my ears, inside my body, filling my soul so that this life doesn’t roll right over me. So this is my tiny island vacation before I swim back to the mainland. Isn’t it wonderful?