Hesychia: Day 3, Week 1

I’m slow to warm up to people.

It’s a character flaw. Or at least, I wish I could make it otherwise.  Yet we are who we are.  Being in a completely new environment with completely new people handling generally new or at least untried material — it’s a lot for my poor, introverted personality to overcome.  Add in the extreme, prolonged fatigue and the squeezing in of work at every free moment, and you get one very tired, very discouraged, very anxiety-ridden me.

But that was yesterday.

Today I arrived so exhausted that it was all the energy I had left just to focus on class.  So I took a 30-minute “nap” between class and dinner and then stayed around the dinner table after I finished scarfing down the delicious meal to talk to people.

Best decision I’ve made since I hit Arizona.

Here’s the thing about me. I’m so all-or-nothing that half the time I don’t even realize it.  I’ve been so busy focusing on getting all my work done so I can rest that I forgot that all-important lesson I keep having to learn over and over. I need to pace myself.

If you follow HBTB, you’ll be familiar with my continual inability to maintain a steady rhythm.  Instead it’s hurry-up-and-burn-out-and-crash-and-panic-and-hurry-up-and-burn-out-and… This is my rhythm of life.  It is terrible. I am trying to change.

So tonight, I decided to pace myself by taking the first-ever break I’ve had since I left Carp at 6am Friday morning.  I’m talking complete break where I lay on the couch and closed my eyes and did exactly nothing (except check my phone a few times to make sure I didn’t miss dinner).  I’ve stuffed my time so completely full of to-dos since I started this journey that I literally have not had time to floss (another HBTB throwback).  And by “have not had time” what I really mean is “have not taken the time.”

So today I took the time. I took the time to rest. I took the time to be available for conversation with my fellow group-mates.  I took the time to practice general hygiene (my gums are so happy right now!).

And now I’m taking the time, lovely readers, to share with all of you just how very, very bad I am at this whole rhythm of life thing all spiritual leaders from pretty much any tradition you could think of would agree is about the most basic and paramount element of spiritual (not to mention physical) well-being.

But you know what? I am also very, very normal.  Maybe not about living in the extremes and lacking healthy balance, but definitely about what it’s like to grow and change on this experience we call a spiritual journey.  We’re all very, very bad at the things we most need to change about ourselves.  Our bad habits are strongly entrenched.  Our neural pathways are dug deeply into our brains.

Did you know it takes 22 consecutive days to break a habit? I say “consecutive” because if you miss a day, you have to start all over.  It takes 22 days to dig a new pathway in a human brain deeply enough that it can have a fighting chance of countering the old pathway.  That means I would have to practice balanced life rhythm for 22 days without a single all-or-nothing decision before I have any hope of taking one single step forward.

Change is hard work.  It’s physically, mentally, and spiritually demanding.  Sometimes it’s even impossible on our own.  That’s what God’s grace is for.

So, by the grace of God, I have made the choice to pace myself with breaks of rest and connection with others among the classwork and work-work that filled my day today.

And, by the grace of God, I will make that choice again tomorrow.

See you on Day 22!

 

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