The Spirit Of Therapy Blog
How to Give the Soul a Vacation
February and March seem to drive people to counseling. The excitement of the holidays are over and the relief of spring is still months away. Many people proclaim that these last months of winter “drag on.” People seem to feel burdened by responsibilities and weary of the dark days.
When we take a vacation, we intend to “get away from it all.” We leave behind our work and routines that may be stressful or overwhelming. Vacation is a time for rest, renewal and release. We come back feeling energized and ready to engage in our daily lives once more.
The importance of resting from daily work is seen across time and culture. A day of rest is built in to many religious ideologies. Laws mandate days of rest in work weeks. Siestas continue to be a large part of many societies. We seem to understand the importance of rest and relaxation. Yet, how many of us truly allow ourselves to leave everything behind? Weekends and vacations seem to be full of errands, activities, schedules, maps and expectations.
For a vacation to benefit us, it may help for the body to “get away,” but it is essential that the mind does. Our thoughts fuel all of our actions, emotions and decisions. The body may be at rest, but the mind can still be doing summersaults in a vain attempt to “get somewhere” or “solve something.”
In his book, Turning the Mind into an Ally, Sakyong Mipham writes, “We’re accustomed to living a life based on running after our wild mind, a mind that is continually giving birth to thoughts and emotions.” Mipham calls these vacations for the soul, “peaceful abiding.” He suggests, “When we experience a moment of peacefully abiding, it seems far-out. Our mind is no longer drifting, thinking about a million things. The sun comes up or a beautiful breeze comes along – and all of a sudden we feel the breeze and we are completely in tune…before we were so busy and bewildered that we didn’t even notice the breeze.”
This week, try giving your mind a vacation, or several mini vacations. When you notice yourself feeling tired or stressed, take five minutes to let yourself be still. Let your thoughts, perceptions and expectations leak out while you focus on your breath. Better yet, take a five minute mind break every few hours of the day. Let go of everything you think you should do and just be in the moment. If your mind resists, notice and over-ride it.
“This art of resting the mind and the power of dismissing from it all care and worry is probably one of the secrets of energy in our great men.” Captain J.A. Hadfield
Rest brings energy and rejuvenation. There cannot be one without the other. The journey of rejuvenation invites you to feel the breeze.
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The Spirit of Therapy
Where psychotherapy interacts with our mental, emotional, spiritual, physical and relational wellbeing.