In times of stress and busyness, these two essentials tend to go out the window…
Rhythms and Boundaries.
Have you felt their absence recently? When we are in seasons of stress, a big project at work, an intense time in the life of our family, or when we are over-extended, busy, or caught in the holiday craze, we find ourselves losing our rhythms and our boundaries. As our hearts, minds, to-do lists, and calendars fill up, our times for retreat, exercise, and morning prayer get squeezed out. These seasons can also feel demanding relationally, and we may find ourselves burdened by the expectations of others.
Rhythms and boundaries anchor us to who we are and what we value. When we are grounded in them, we respond to life instead of reacting to it. Thankfully, when we lose that grounding, we can come back to ourselves and come back to these tools. One of my favorite spiritual concepts is the idea of recollection: “to rest in God, allowing Him to calm and heal my fragmented and distracted self.” -The Spiritual Disciplines Handbook
The idea that we can collect ourselves back up, that we can return, is freeing. We don’t have to live perfectly balanced all the time. We will get fragmented. We will get busy. We will experience sickness, suffering, difficult relationships and plain ole stress. The benefit of practicing “recollection” is that in “rest and returning we will be saved, in quietness and trust is our strength.”(Isaiah 30:15) We can always come home. Rhythms and boundaries are tools that help us to do that.
Healthy rhythms are the daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly practices that connect us to God, to ourselves, and to others, in ways that nourish our spirits and give us energy and vitality. We all have rhythms, and it is important to take the time to become aware of which habits and practices are truly life-giving and which ones are not. This requires reflection, discernment, and intentionality.
Rhythms touch all areas of life. The very first place to pay attention is to your embodied rhythms. Things like sleeping, eating, drinking, and movement. Your body is a gift, a teacher, and the vessel for all the other rhythms! It thrives with intentional care. Once you have given your body proper attention and care, then you can begin to examine and to plan for other categories of habits as well.
In times of recollection we want to look at all the areas of life where we can invite healthy rhythms: relationships, spiritual life, work, fun, learning, connection to creation and community to name a few. At The Retreat House, we want to provide resources and opportunities for you to reflect, recollect, and welcome God into each moment of your life. One way is through our Rule of Life Workshop on January 6th. We believe it will be a really helpful time to craft a framework of rhythms to build your life upon. Beyond that, we simply want to encourage you toward an awareness of what fuels you and a desire to come home to those things.
It’s also important to practice healthy boundaries. Boundaries stem from knowing you are separate from others. Boundaries help me to know where I stop and you begin.
They help me differentiate between myself and others, from others’ feelings and my own. Boundaries remind me that I have agency and can choose: how I respond, how much time I spend with someone or on a task, and how I want to show up in the world authentically. The Enneagram Workshop on January 17th would be a great opportunity to gain awareness and tools for coming home to your true self and living from that place. Becoming aware of ourselves and when we might be crossing our own boundaries takes time and reflection. As we grow in awareness, we are able to move into health more fluidly.
As the holiday season wraps up and a new year begins, we want to support you to look back and to look forward in a way that strengthens these two areas of your life. We believe that stepping away and taking time to sit with the Spirit and listen for direction can help you gain a stronger sense of who you are made to be and what rhythms support you to show up in your life as fully yourself.
*photography courtesy of: Morgan Hibbs