Holy Restlessness

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Seriously, is it any wonder that sometimes we get taken over by restlessness? Look at what we’re made of!

I am going to dedicate this post to the Bear, who does not understand my restlessness, and worries that he might have something to do with it. Just for the record, he doesn’t. My restlessness was a part of me long before he arrived. Between the ages of 16 (when I left home) and 27 (when we bought the house we are living in now)  I lived in fifteen different houses. If I got sick of being in a certain place, I packed up and moved. In fact, that’s how I left home: I woke up one morning in my childhood bed, in our country farmhouse, on our 150 acre farm, and thought to myself,  I can’t stand it here one more day. I rang my grandparents, who lived in the town where I went to school, and asked if I could come and live with them. I packed my bags, said goodbye to my shocked parents, and moved out. I kept my promise – I stayed with my grandparents for the year,  finished year 12, received a good mark for my Higher School Certificate, and then hopped on the bus to Sydney with my best friend. And so on. My restlessness didn’t have anything to do with my parents either – they loved me, looked after me and missed me when I was gone. The restlessness is within me, and I take full responsibility for it – its presence, and what I have to do to keep it quiet.

In the past, if I felt restless, I would move houses. That would keep the beast quiet for about 6 months, until I would want to move again. Now that we have a mortgage and two children, I feel firmly rooted in place; but not always willingly. Sometimes it is with gritted teeth and straining muscles that I stay in the one place:  restlessness sweeps over me like a fever, and I will fight and snarl and sulk until it leaves me in peace. My family are so happy living in the one, dear little house, with all of their comforts around them, their rhythms and routines, and mostly, I am too. I manage my restlessness by cooking and eating widely, dressing eclectically, and consuming a broad range of media. Studying helps, because I get to delve into something new every four months; having work that has   variety and challenge is helpful, and spending time with my friends soothes my restlessness like a cold swim on a hot day. Having a spiritual practice definitely helps because it calms, centers and grounds me. My restlessness often kicks me out of bed well before the sun comes up to write or study or read, and I’m fine with that too.

But sometimes, none of that is enough. Sometimes I have to go away, and when I do, the Universe usually arranges something fun for me to do (I kid you not). This time, my restlessness has coincided with a house sitting offer from my parents who are away travelling for a couple of weeks. I leap at the chance, seeing it as an opportunity to get out of a rut and have a different, fun experience somewhere else.  At this stage of my restlessness, the familiarity of my surroundings and routines is rapidly building into contempt. From the outside, it probably looks like a lack of appreciation for what I have, but I am not sure that restlessness equals ingratitude. I think it is what it is, and it comes and goes of its own accord, regardless of what is happening around me. Sometimes, this holy restlessness does herald some kind of change, but not always. It doesn’t lend itself to analysis, and I don’t even try.

So, the kids and I packed up at the beginning of the week, and settled into my parents house. We are close to town, so it is a much shorter day for the kids. I drop them off and pick them up from school, which they love. I am in week four of second semester, so I come home and study. One morning I go to yoga and have lunch with friends. I cook dinner and wash the clothes, keep things tidy, do the chores, pay the bills and organise insurance and kids after school activities. I write, read and do yoga. In short, I do all the things that I normally do, but somewhere else.  I do different things too – Alani and I have a spa in the evening, outside. I explore the river bank with my parent’s old dog, who is beside himself with joy in one of his favourite places. I take the opportunity that a change in routine gives me, and eat differently. I commit to a daily yoga practice while I am here, make a time in the morning and do it. I journal more. I look out the window and see different trees, different birds and a different river. This weekend we’re travelling up the coast for a cricket training day, and that will help too. I feel my restlessness ebbing away. Maybe there is a change coming, or maybe I just needed to switch things around. Who knows?

Do you have your own brand of holy restlessness? How do you deal with it?

 

 

17 comments

  1. Yes. I have moved halfway around the world, what do you think? Before my husband retired, and our daughter left home and we were less able to travel at will, I would feel restless. I have travelled since I was 12 years old and it seems like it is just something I need to do. Rather than being ingratitude, I think it makes me appreciate my lovely home and routines even more. We have just returned home yesterday and it is pure bliss to be here. The quiet, the sunset last evening, the smell of good coffee. All of it. I started meditating again this morning. I need to ‘download’ some new inspiration and my inner voice has suggested this action, so I will try. Enjoy your change, the photos look beautiful.xx

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    • Yes! You understand Ardys 😊 Leaving home makes me enjoy my home more, much like time away from the Bear makes me appreciate him more 😊 I’m glad it’s not just me – and that you are freer to move around now xo

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  2. The only time I’m restless is when I need a break from my job as wife and mother. That’s when I need time with myself. It doesn’t matter where; the geography plays no place in it. It’s more a release from feeling responsible for others or accountable to anyone else than me. I notice that my husband never really feels “at home” anywhere. Whereas I put down roots wherever I am and make it my home. I feel that he lives with a restlessness, but I feel it has definite reasons that go back to his childhood. Otherwise, when I’m restless, it’s usually because I have “stuff” inside me that needs to get out by writing it out (or sometimes talking it out with a close friend).

    Your house sitting sounds perfect! I love your photos and the little poem that accompanied them. Have a great trip this weekend.

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    • Ah! Yes I know the restlessness that you speak of – I get that too lol 😊 I don’t think of that as restlessness though; I just know that I need more time to myself. This restlessness is not fixed by time alone, it is only fixed by time and spreading my wings. It doesn’t have to be far, but geography plays a big part. I also have an ability to make anywhere my home, but the Bear really only feels at home In his home.

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  3. I definitely have my own form of restlessness, though it’s more of a slow-growing beast as opposed to the regular spurts you have. On a day-to-day basis, I’m quite a creature of habit and anything that takes me out of it without warning or planning throws me off and puts me in an unbalanced state. That being said, I know I could never just stay in one place/situation and just be happy with stability, which is probably why I’ve gone through living in three different countries over the past five years. 🙂 These days, work is what’s keeping my restlessness at bay with the variety of projects and tasks I’m working on. However, I do anticipate some big changes/events towards the end of this year, so knowing that things are up on the horizon keeps me happy in my daily routine for now. In the end, I think it’s really about your perspective and learning what’s right for YOU. You clearly have figured that out for yourself and I think the universe tends to reward those of us who are self-aware enough to know when it’s time for a change. 🙂

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    • As your blog title indicates :). I am rather domestic, ordinarily. I study from home, and for the last few years I have worked from home. Still…this restlessness. My mother wrote to me from overseas after reading this post and said: ” I understand that restless you spoke of in your blog, it’s good,it keeps you stretching your life, your consciousness and Being so as you don’t get lost here, this dimension absorbs you into it and then you are lost or drowning, then you become a doing human, part of the mechanism, so whilst ever that restlessness is up-thrusting, you’re ON!” ❤

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  4. Going out into Nature helps ground me Sara.. You should have seen me straight after I retired.. I drove my hubby half mad I am sure.. Never still, Even now 2 yrs on I want to change our home garden dramatically, so my hubby is reluctantly finding excuses as to keep it as it is.. 🙂
    You lead a very busy busy life and with young children juggling all you do I think you do a remarkable job.. Knowing how it was to be a full time working Mum of two my self..

    You also sound as if you have a very wise Mum.. 🙂
    Love and Hugs Sue xxx

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    • Nature is essential for my wellbeing too, Sue. I guess that’s why I live in the country. I think some of the restlessness comes from being a mum and a wife instead of just me…I’ve always had a very strong sense of self, and it fights for recognition and independence…all the time.

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  5. Hello Sara, Oh praise be to Holy Restlessness. I am so enjoying that I often read and re-read your blog – from the initial reading around the days when you post, then a period of pondering, and then often read again as I respond.

    Holy Restlessness. I know this restlessness well. It is in my body and bones. And I know the wise truth of the walk that you speak of. Interesting though, my ponderings this past week or more, my 20’s = Holy Restlessness was largely absent. It was a decade or so of loving and living the little, stable, everyday things. A big fulfilling job, balanced out by the little joys otherwise: I clearly remember a friend looking at me with intrigue that I truly loved and lived only the small stuff – one tiny community yoga class, mowing the lawn, a drink at our country local on a Friday evening. I remember blissful afternoon picking up sticks at our little rental. Heck I even think I liked cleaning the house!

    Holy Restlessness came to say hello and share its important messages over the past 10 years. And it has been a restlessness that has brought joy and challenge. And prompted Important Questions. Is this it? life, as its supposed to be lived? Nurturing calm in the intensity of the early years of baby-toddler care, and nurturing a staying power with stillness in ambition/direction/career/broadening out activities – when those years past and the deep heart of mine said clearly that stillness was still needed.

    The Holy Restlessness has kept me and our family, living the connection with nature and spirit life that I know to be important. Even in those moments when the horizon and logistics looked too challenging – Holy Restlessness would summon us up and out the door on walk about – whether that be to the local park, a nearby bush favourite, an outdoor journey of some-kind, or off and away adventures like Nepal.

    And yet, and also, it can take on that voice of ‘not enoughness’ that wanting to run away elsewhere, the grass is greener. This I must converse, content, and recognise for its truths and possibilities.

    Thanks for sharing Holy Restlessness. I love the recognitions of truths and possibilities in your stories.

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    • Hello lovely Kate, it’s always lovely to read your comments <3. Yes, it's a fine line between a restlessness which keeps us switched on and alive, and that which is merely discontent and dissatisfaction. I find that the latter is much shorter, maybe a day or two. There might be something going on that I don't want to face or that I want to escape from. The other kind is persistent until I change something, whether it is my physical location or a habit, bringing something into my life or taking something out. I didn't know the difference between the two in my 20s and early 30s 🙂

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