In praise of checking out.
Ever made soup? From scratch? It's a favorite for me. And once I started eating poultry again after a 20 year hiatus, I made sure I used the bones from a roasted chicken as a stock for soup. But you can only get so much nourishment or flavor from the bones and can't keep boiling them and get the same results. Yes, I'm comparing myself to chicken bones. And bone-tired ones at that. Depleted. Done. Cooked.
Seeing how I was responding to my world helped me see that checking out was no longer not an option. I didn't like how I was showing up. The tipping point was accusatory emails, questioning my own direction, failing to shine in my favorite places, contemplation of dramatic change, and growing disappointments I could no longer ignore. Budding friendships and ventures failed to bloom. I was exhausted. When anticipation and hope fade, disappointment fills the void. My normally crystal-clear boundaries of what and who nourishes my life were clouded and useless. I felt like I was breathing despair and exhaling angst. Yuck.
Checking out, today, means something quite different than it would a few years ago. There is a toddler running around this house. A love bug. Keeping his needs met, covered and always knowing he is adored had to remain my priority, as it is my responsibility and pleasure. But since he was born I hadn't taken a breather. It's been all systems overdrive. My bones were depleted.
I'm back. What nearly felt irresponsible to consider was among the greatest acts of self respect I've shown in years. And self respect begets respect to others. To creations, programs, clients, family, friends, new folks, ideas. To everything. My kindred know 'respect' is the bottom line. Stepping away paved the way back on a solid foundation. Like fresh eyes seeing one's late-night writing the next morning, I've culled, refined, revised and have reclaimed my voice.
And here you are. Thank you for remaining with me. Thank you for revisiting budding friendships. I'm refreshed. I'm ready.
There is still deep nourishment to be had, REM cycles to be claimed, and all 'round R'n R. And a massage wouldn't hurt either. But self-care is back in the picture and with it reconnection to myself. Self respect is my foundation.