There is just something about the lake. Similar to the feel that we get when there is a beautiful snowfall, and the world is quiet and a little less busy, the lake provides a chance to sit back and ponder life. Listening to the water as it slowly comes in, hitting the sides of the bay and then goes back out in a rippling manner, allows me to let my guard down and just be. There is a certain peace that is felt sitting outside, taking in the beauty of nature, and listening to those beautiful small rippling waves as they create their own incredible melody.
A couple of weeks ago I attended a music conference with some of my colleagues. This is one of my favorite things to look forward to in January and Thank God its in January, because January is kind of one of those blah months for me. Don’t get me wrong, I love the feeling of a new year and writing down and setting my goals for the next couple of months and the year, but it’s also a very dead time for me as far as gigs and events. So anyways, I go to this conference every year, excited to learn more about my craft, see incredible performances, and of course, reconnect with old friends and other teachers across Missouri.
The conference is held at a Resort, located in the Lake of the Ozarks, you know that so-called place that the show “Ozark” was filmed in… or said to have been filmed in? Okay, so I have to tell you something funny – the name of the Resort used to be “Tan-Tara,” but last year came under different management and the name is now “ Margaritaville.” Yes- you read it right…. “Margaritaville”. Try telling your Principal you’re going to a conference at “Margaritaville”… YEAH- that was interesting.
So, this is my fifth year teaching and my fifth year at the conference, BUT the first time I have been in a condo on the lake. I usually stay at one of the local hotels, but this year I had the opportunity to get a condo on the lake with a couple other teachers. I can not tell you how relaxing and refreshing it was to be able to walk out on the porch in the morning and in the late afternoon and just sit. As I said before, there is just something about the lake and being there that gives you a peace and causes life to slow for a bit.
It was during this time that I was able to reflect on the things I had learned, have my quiet time, and just allow nature to take me deeper into a peaceful, tranquil state… one I hadn’t felt in a while. While my January is usually pretty tame and not too busy, I many times feel the need to be “busy” and I feel like I have to create my own busyness. Why? Have you noticed that the world glorifies “busyness”? We go around talking about how crazy busy we are all the time, tell stories about how stressed we are because of being so busy, and discuss how much we need some down time… that’s how our conversations go. Now, its not so much that being busy is a problem, because Lord knows I’m a busy person! But when we feel the need to be busy all the time and never allow ourselves the chance to just be in a moment, that’s when it’s gone too far.
At the conference, I could have gone to so many more meetings, concerts, activities, but truth is, I really only would be going to more of those things to keep myself busy and look like I was a “teacher boss.” I would have been doing it for others and not myself. I would have been doing it to be able to talk about all the things I went to and how tired and busy I was… I’ve done this before and it made me look good, but I felt rundown and exhausted. There are times when my schedule is super packed and I can’t do anything about it, but there are other times that I feel like I have to create some busyness in my life to have something to talk to others about or make myself feel like I’m doing something great. When did someone’s life only become important because of the things they do, or how busy they are or make themselves? This is what society has placed on us and many times, we let busyness take over.
Well, this year, I decided to only go to the lectures and concerts I wanted to, and talk to teachers and friends that I genuinely cared to talk to, and I allowed myself to relax on the porch of the condo. Sitting outside on the porch was by far one of my favorite things and coming back to Springfield this time around, I felt more refreshed and ready to tackle the rest of the school year! I could have allowed myself to go through conference with a “busy” mindset, but I would have missed out on so MUCH more that is so MUCH more important to me.
So here’s my question to you:
When was the last time you let yourself just sit and relax? When was the last time you decided to just let your agenda go and be in a moment? When was the last time you sat outside and just took in the beauty of nature around you? When was the last time you pushed aside your agenda and did something fun with your family or friends?
Find yourself a “ lake” and allow yourself to get away from the busyness of life and your schedule- you will feel refreshed, rejuvenated and ready to conquer the rest of your agenda with hopefully a little more grace.
As I was writing this post and thinking about how busyness seems to run my life many days, I ran across one of my friends blog posts about “Busyness” – seems like this is a common theme. Check out her blog post here.https://theblisslist.ca/2018/02/12/why-are-we-all-so-busy/
Slow down and find your “lake”- Erin Ruscel