Having started feeling better in late November, I have eagerly accepted more responsibility over the last few months. I have taken on these roles with enthusiasm and passion, having found a place in my community from which I derive great satisfaction, happiness, and where I feel I have much to offer - Coordinating the Brazos Locavores, writing this blog and contributing to others, founding the Friends of the Brazos Valley Farmers Market and all the special event coordination, fundraising efforts, networking, and proselytizing that is part of the start-up of any new organization. But it was too much, too soon and for the last few weeks, I've found myself in excruciating amounts of pain, day after day, back peddling slowly towards the long months when I was practically bedridden.
Reminded of my vow of voluntary simplicity, I just stopped. Week day meetings in the downtown cafe I love became email or phone meetings giving me more time to rest. Long bike rides became shorter, less demanding walks. I again started turning down wonderful opportunities for lunches, dinners, and community events for the sake of my health and the ability to focus on what I am currently doing - helping people discover the wonderful world of local food. Everything I was doing was good, but I needed to slow down, find my focus, find clarity, and reevaluate my goals.
In stopping, in stepping back from my newly energized schedule, I have been able to refocus on one of the things that matter most - my health. Sure. I may one day be able to fill my days with other meaningful things, my body able to take on the challenge. But not today. Today, I need that clear, refreshing openness to my day that gives me good health and healing.
To be honest, I guess I feel a little selfish. I feel guilty saying "no" to things I would love to do, projects I believe in, time with friends, family, and a wonderful community. It's frustrating to be so limited by my health, knowing I just can't do what others can do. But focusing on my health, on my husband, and on my current projects (though on a lighter scale) is all I can do right now. And (here's the most difficult part) that's ok. It has to be. Because I truly believe it's the way life was meant to be led - slowly, mindfully, deliberately. For it is only when we can slow the pace of our life, take in the world around us, and make mindful, deliberate choices that we have the opportunity to share our hearts with a world that sorely needs us.
Slow down. Find peace. Be well.