When roadside wildflowers are essential to your soul
I’m learning that I’m a deep-diver of things. I get into a book, and you won’t see me for three solid days until I’m done. Recommend a TV show on Netflix? I’ll wait until I have nothing on the calendar for two weeks, because once I start, it’s all I can do to not watch every episode and forget to feed my kids.
It’s the same with my work. If I’m writing a book, I’m a terrible blogger—I can’t concentrate on solid, long-form writing while having to post on social media and regularly publish blog posts. When I’m keeping up with the blog (or podcast, or e-course), that means a book is on the back-burner.
It’s just how I’m wired. It also means that if I’m not careful, I can really avoid taking care of myself. If I deep-dive into a project, I can easily neglect my soul’s deepest needs.
Yesterday, I posted this on Instagram:
When we lived in Oregon, we took family day trips all the time - little side streets and scenic views, checking out towns that barely make it on a map. We did that near-daily on our year-long global trip, so much so that we savored the days when we stayed at a guesthouse and caught up on the daily life of school and work. We haven't traveled locally nearly as much here in Texas.... I think we have to be really intentional or else it doesn't happen, what with city life and unbelievable traffic in our day-to-day. Today? We decided to let the kids take a day off school and take their learning on the road - just like we used to. Feels good to find a familiar rhythm today. #travelwithkids
In the months that we’ve lived in Austin, we’ve barely left the city. I had one girls’ weekend away, and for our anniversary Kyle and I went off for a few days, but as a family, we’ve been solidly here, focused on school and work and unpacking boxes and finding our favorite grocery stores and spending time with extended family and driving all over town to volleyball practice and therapy appointments.
It’s been terrible on my soul. I’ve been parched, depleted. I’ve let soul care take a backseat because I deep-dived into life’s daily demands and work projects.
Sometimes, it’s just necessary. Responsibilities keep us locked where we are, and no matter how much we guard our calendars, commitments pile up. That’s life.
But sometimes, we have to put on the brakes, get out of the car, and force ourselves to smell the flowers around us. It’s not easy, with all we have to do. But it’s essential. Our souls depend on it.
For our family, that looks like getting out of town. That’s what we do. And yesterday, we did just that.
I have a major book-edits deadline in just a few weeks, and it’s staring me in the face. But I could tell the doctor’s orders were fresh air, spring sunshine, and a sprinkling of wildflowers because I just couldn’t. work. another. page. My brain, my creativity was toast.
And so, we kept the kids home from school yesterday, and we drove around the Texas Hill Country. (It’s the best part of Texas, hands down.)
We got away from the sound of traffic and the demands of our calendar, and just enjoyed being together. I mostly ignored my phone, and I didn’t open my laptop.
We sketched bluebonnets and Indian paintbrushes off the side of the road.
Sure, I regularly take off Sundays from my writing, but it wasn’t enough this time. We needed to get the heck out of Dodge and immerse ourselves in creation, in different scenery, in a slower pace.
The next day? This morning? It has made all the difference. I’m lighter, happier, and ready to get back to work. The kids’ moods are night-and-day different, too—better attitudes, better sleep, kinder words to each other.
When we lived in Central Oregon, it was so much easier to do this. Nature was everywhere, and a lack of traffic meant twenty minutes from our driveway to the mountains, tops. But we’re not there now, and as much as that hurts sometimes, it means we can choose to wallow in self-pity, or we can embrace our location and seek out the flowers.
It means more of an effort, yes. But because of how I’m wired? It’s absolutely essential.
If you’re burning the candle at both ends and you know there’s a little something that’ll restore your soul, find every way to stop and partake in it.
This week, make a plan on your calendar to get that thing, that whatever-it-is. Pretend like it’s a top-priority appointment. Because it is.
Your soul will thank you.
I’m grateful for the reminder that I'm wired to need regular engagement with nature. Taking the day off to be in it with my favorite people in the world was just the prescription I needed to get back to my book today.
I’m gonna dive deep into my work today, because yesterday, I dived deep into soul care. And next time, I won’t wait so long to take care of myself.
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