Thursday, October 3, 2013

Life-giving Choices ...

Hi everyone! Fall is my favourite season and today is one of those exquisite fall days that can only happen in Vancouver. Yesterday's dark clouds and pouring rain have disappeared. The skies are clear and blue, the sun shines through the mist rising from the Inlet, the first snow tops the North Shore mountains and it's cold enough for the cyclists to have donned their gloves for the morning commute. Perfect!

Days like this are life-giving for me. My energy hums from first light and I look forward with excitement to a list of activities that will feed rather than drain my energy - things like making a big pot of vegetarian chili for the cold days ahead, walking at the lake with my camera, picking out and planting new bulbs for the garden, chatting with loved ones in England and finishing a new compassion fatigue book that I want to review for you next week.

When was the last time you had a truly life-giving day? Or morning? Or hour? What does it mean to have one? The American English Dictionary defines life-giving as:
Gives or can give life.  Strengthening; refreshing; inspiring.
Do you have as many life-giving days as you'd like right now? What is live-giving for you? How can you add some life-giving activities (or non-activities) to your already busy schedule?

If you can carve out a few minutes for yourself, why not sit down with a hot drink and your journal and try the following "life-giving" exercise:

1. Draw on a blank page a large tree with several branches and roots.
2.  On each of the roots write an activity that you've done in the past that has made you feel alive and energized.  Visualize and remember each one in detail and feel the quickening you experienced in your body. Consider how long it's been since you last engaged in each activity and ask yourself why.
3.  Now, write on three of the branches activities from the roots of your tree (or new possibilities)  that you would like to try in order to strengthen, refresh and inspire your life.
4.  On a fresh page, make a specific plan for adding one of the three to your life. Be as detailed as possible - what do you want to do, how often, with whom? Also write down all the things you would need to have in place in order to add this activity to your life (including what you might have to give up in order to make space for it).
5.  If your life has changed considerably since you last enjoyed these activities, you might want to think of a way you could enjoy a "chunked-down" version of your chosen one. For example, if you once travelled but are now staying closer to home while family caregiving, you might be able to schedule to time to read travel books, watch travel shows on TV, reminisce with old travel buddies over photos and a glass of wine, or arrange respite for short day trips to special places in your own area. It won't be exactly the same, but it has the potential to be life-giving in its own way.
6.  Tell someone, who will receive it kindly, what your plan is. (We're more likely to follow through if we share our plans.)
7.  During and after the activity, spend some time taking in the good

The world is full of these life-giving opportunities. Good luck with finding the ones that fit best for you in this particular season of life.

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