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Each month a new inspirational, spiritual, or educational article by Alice McCall is posted.
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          January 2008

Renew

Some how the notion has evolved over the last several decades, that a period for personal reflection is a waste of time. Today the term ‘retreat’ or actually taking a retreat is virtually non-existent.

Yet, it is vitally important for each of us to stop, reflect, cleanse, and refresh ourselves. This practice renews you - your mind, body, and spirit.

Often you may feel the need to engage in renewal, but do not recognize it. Here are some cues: low energy, a feeling of sadness, low motivation, listlessness, and the inability to focus. These are sure signs that you need to stop and refresh yourself.

When you respond to these cues by taking time to refresh your whole self (mind, body, spirit), you cleanse and release the emotions that are dragging you down. You become refreshed, and able to move forward.

Here are some renewal ideas when you reach this point.

1. Unplug yourself from your communication devices. Block off the day with the goal that nothing HAS to be done or accomplished, unless the spirit moves you. Don’t allow interruptions

2. Meditate, slowly and leisurely. There is nothing you have to accomplish, so go with the flow. Keep a journal nearby to capture any thoughts or feelings that come to you

3. If you feel tears welling up, let them out and honor them. In fact, let any emotions that rise up express themselves, only then are you able to release those feelings

4. Start a forgiveness journal. Think of every person that has hurt you in some way. Write their name down. Then, go down the list and forgive them one by one. Consider the reverse, think of every person that you may have hurt in some way. Write their name down. Once done, forgive yourself for each one, and send love to each person.

5. Buy a CD of toning, chanting or music that moves you. Sit quietly and listen to it. Allow yourself to get lost in it.

6. Sit in a favorite nature spot and connect with it. Hold on to those feelings of beauty and awe.

7. Take the time to work with and cleanse each of your major charkas.

8. Review the things you don’t like about your life. Examine how you think about those things. Then, take the time to change the way you think about them. Focus on multiple ways to solve each conflict. Changing self; changes all else around you.

9. If you feel inspired to do something like cleaning a closet, or weeding a garden, do it! These are physical manifestations of ridding the old to bring in the new. A very cleansing and freeing expression of self. And, won’t you be happy when you open that closet door and nothing falls out?!

10. Read an inspirational book or poem. Reflect upon it’s relevance for you.

11. Take a nap in the middle of your day.

12. Be adventurous! Learn a new hobby or activity. You might learn something interesting about yourself in the process.

Renewal is important, even when these “cues” are not present.

The actual definition of renewal is, “To make new again; to restore, replenish; to resume; to make effective for an additional period.” Bingo. Look at that last definition, “To make effective for an additional period.” This implies that in order to be effective, you need to refresh periodically, and routinely. Even God “rested on the seventh day” – and that means every week! God didn’t sleep. God didn’t watch TV. God rested. One definition of rest is “To refresh oneself.” So, it is healthy to periodically stop normal daily activity, to still the mind and allow a time for renewal.

When you take the time for renewal you will be more productive, happier, and ready to take on the world. Those are the benefits of renewal – an increase of focus and productivity. Other benefits can include: an increase in energy, joy, peace; a feeling of being more centered and balanced; and an increased sense of hope.

It’s wintertime, a time for hibernating, a time for going into the cave. It is the time when nature lies in wait for its renewal in the spring. In the spirit of this season, I invite you to ‘unplug’ for a day of renewal. You will be glad you did.


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