Taking a Break

There’s an old meditation saw that I haven’t been able to track down that goes something like this:  Everyone should meditate for at least twenty minutes a day except when they’re busy … then they need thirty minutes.   It’s a standard maxim in 12-Step programs that the time when you don’t want to go to a meeting is the time you need most to go.   In prescribing Morning Pages, free form writing for recovering artists, Julia Cameron says do them every day … and, by the way, write three pages because the important stuff sometimes doesn’t turn up until then.  Spirituality can sometimes seem like a forced march.  Maybe it’s because I was raised in a dogmatic religion very specific rules for avoiding damnation … or because somewhere along the line I was taught that life is for growing (and when you stop growing life is over) … that I find it easy to fall in with these marches.   Perhaps because building a faith has been a lifetime task for me, I’m afraid it has to be hard or, maybe, as my years roll by, because I need my faith to look forward not backward, I’m afraid if I don’t keep marching, I’ll lose what I’ve gained.

Lately, with more consulting work to do … and trying to post every day … my spiritual practices have been crammed into empty spaces that might be better spent relaxing.   Morning Pages have been  a grind and on those occasion when I grind through them, nothing is revealed.  Morning readings and prayers feel rote and repetitive.  I feel like an outsider in my own men’s meetings and my voice seems to come from someone else when I share.   Personalities grate.  It’s been a classic forced march.  So, for several weeks now, I’ve stopped marching.   I’m Taking a Break.  I’ve skipped my Morning Pages and I haven’t been to a meeting in two weeks, filling the gap by talking to friends one-on-one.   I’ve talked to Muri more about things that are on my mind than I usually do.   I have a good friend who’s counseled me, I believe in learning from everything in life … I just don’t go out looking for learning experiences like you do.   So, Taking a Break has meant trying, just for a while, to let my learning experiences come to me instead of hunting them down.

Taking a Break has been good, but it seems I’m a marcher by nature.  On Yom Kippur, I turned the page on another year, and this week, I will gradually add my list of spiritual practices back to my life … but maybe not all and maybe not all the time.   I’d like this to be a parade, not a forced march.  That will be me, carrying the flag right under the Mister Potato Head balloon.


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5 Comments on “Taking a Break”

  1. cherperz Says:

    Gosh, you had me worried for a minute that you meant you were taking a break from writing a blog. As I follow many, I am hit and miss on all but a few (very few) and yours I read daily.

    As for the march you are on…I totally relate. I think of my life more as a path or a trail and I hike my path in various ways. Sometimes it’s quite steep and rocky and sometimes it’s quite smooth and steady. But I have lost my way entirely a number of times only to wonder aimlessly until I find my path again.

    • oldereyes Says:

      I am probably due for a short break from blogging, too. Only a few days, I think, like I did at the beginning of the year. Saturday will be my 1000th post, so I think I may do it after that.

  2. territerri Says:

    I think you have a very healthy approach to knowing and doing what is good for you. I know you rely strongly on some of your routines, so I also know you don’t give them up lightly. Good for you for doing what is necessary to keep from crashing and burning!

    • oldereyes Says:

      It always sounds easier when I write about it than it seems as I do it. Taking a break doesn’t come naturally to me. I fight it then feel guilty as I do it. But yes, at least I do it.

  3. Ah yes, I have a hard time taking a break, until I totally crash and burn out. Probably NOT the best way to approach life.

    I am glad you have such balance in your life that you know when you need a break before collapsing.

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