Rest & Listen
In early October as the wedding had completed and guests left, I began to feel like I am really retired for the first time. I was drawn at first to make a big “To Do” list like I had been doing at work and then start kicking out things and getting them done. But, a still and quiet voice came through loud and clear during a meditation. That voice of insight said to not do what I had already been going. Instead to make October the month to “Rest & Listen.” Yes, for the entire month that would be my only goal. At first it felt weird, but my new sense of freedom quickly jumped in and allowed me to take this on as my only goal for the whole month.
I love being successful, but this was a new way of doing so. By rest, I mean to allow my body to sleep, sit, do nothing, and most importantly to do what it desired versus what the mind felt it should be doing. It meant no “To Do” list, but rather just “being.” By listen, I mean to be aware of my body, my thoughts, my intuition, my ideas, and paying attention with open eyes to what others are doing, but without need to act. To take it all in and be aware without feeling the impulse to act. To allow a full day of no accomplishments to be OK. To notice what I was drawn to do, what fed my soul and what did not.
People would ask me what I was doing and somehow it felt good to share my goal. It at least proved I had a goal. Would I be OK if I had no goals? So much of my work life was about everyone else, what new changes were coming, helping people cope with those changes, having multiple demands via email, situations that came up and those ongoing duties we had. At times in recent years I have been saying “I need to rest my adrenal glands.” I soon began to realize these words were more true than I had believed. I thought my natural waking time would stay the same and be six o’clock each morning, but within days it moved to seven thirty or eight. I occasionally took a nap for 20-30 minutes even after having nine hours of sleep the night prior. And all that sleep felt good. The quality of my slumber even improved and felt deeper and more restful. My neck and upper back began to gradually let go of the tension it was so used to holding.
I began to love the unstructured time and found I was good at doing things around the house or just being. The weather changed to rain and cooler overcast gray skies and on most day I found the comfort of my fireplace and a hot cup of tea. Sometimes I would read a book, or watch TV or be on Facebook way too long. I now could call friends and family and catch up with them versus feeling so depleted that I felt I couldn’t even make calls.
It’s not that I stayed home all month, I also got out and did things with friends. I went to the Laurelhurst Theatre and saw each of the presidential debates. I went out for meals and walks with friends. I went to the museum with Beth. I was free during the day, so I was able to take Myra and Ryan to the airport as they jetted off to Europe for their 3 week honeymoon. I decided to work with Jacqueline Nichols as an Intuitive Matchmaker to help me find love. I went to Meet-up events and met new people. Craig and I attended a fund raising dinner at the Oregon Culinary Institute in support of The Portland Kitchen. Myself along with Craig and Jane went out to dinner at Departure to celebrate Norman’s birthday. After dinner we went out dancing until midnight on a Friday night. That evening, I was happy to notice how much more present I was without all the work of the day leaning heavy upon me. I was happy to have energy that would carry me to midnight without noticing the time had passed. I felt blessed to have friends to share this journey with. Friends who support me and my singular goals for the month of October.
As I was preparing to retire, people would ask me what was next. I told them my goal was to take a full year and not even try to answer that question. I feel I need a full year just to connect with myself and figure out who I am without work to define me. To uncover my passions and interests which have taken a back seat or gotten buried under all my day to day commitments.
And as October draws to a close, it is now time to dream up what November will be about. Stay tuned to hear what goals and experiences are next.