Fiona Costello, guest writer
I have always felt that there is nothing on this earth that can beat the soul restoring properties which come when we let go of the constraints of modern society and join with nature. As the last few years have been full of full-time study, working, renovating, being a mum, having students, nearly losing my son and so on, I have often neglected taking time out for myself. As I sat thinking about this I remembered a time (a while ago) when I was out with my kayak enjoying the freedom of the Gulf. The craft was cutting smoothly through the crisp clean water and I took a moment to raise my face up to the sky, enjoying the contrast of the warm sunlight and cooling breeze on my face. The rhythmic strokes of the paddle kept the craft skimming along at a fair pace when to my delight I caught a glimpse of a dolphin out of the corner of my eye heading swiftly towards me. I smiled as he came up and matched his pace to mine and for about five minutes we slid as one through the water in quiet companionship. Till with a flip of his nose, as if to say goodbye, he turned and sped off. It was like he said 'I've had my break and now I have to go catch my dinner'! I smiled as I watched him slowly disappear into the horizon. Why is it that animals have this perfect balance of work and play that we humans often forget? Why is it that when we get 'off the grind stone’, even if only for a brief moment and spend time with God's creation, we feel refreshed and invigorated? More often than not though we find ourselves working at a furious pace, running around like ants that have been disturbed; taking the kids to sport, activities, coffee with friends, working, cleaning, cooking, making money to pay for our wants, getting frazzled, endlessly grinding away...We seem to be trying to get to the end of the journey when God said that it is the journey itself that is important - 'I came to give you life and life more abundantly'. We need to learn to enjoy the journey we are on. As I work in a high stress industry I know full well how easy it is to get caught up running frantically from crisis to crisis, constantly feeling stressed and using food – or for some people alcohol, cigarettes and or drugs, as a way of coping with our stress, but in reality these things actually add more stress to our mind, body and spirit, instead of helping us enjoy life. The question is: are we living an abundant life, savouring the journey, or trying to get to the end as fast as we can? The thing is, too much prolonged stress can kill or seriously disrupt your health. But on the other hand taking time out to relax and unwind can increase your health, happiness, and prospect of a long fulfilling life, my question to myself is why don't I take time out more often, to stop and enjoy life? That is the question I have been asking myself and one I intend to change, to take time out each week for myself and my family, I know I'm worth it, so are you and the benefits are truly amazing!
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