Saturday, April 11, 2009

Bubble Bath

As a team member for the upcoming More To Life Weekend, I was recently given an "egg assignment." These were individual, randomly selected ways to be intentional about how they engaged life, others, and themselves in preparation for serving. My egg assignment was to "nurture myself with a bubble bath." Some people considered me to be quite lucky. Well, while I gave it a try, I'm concluding that I'm not a "bubble bath" kind of guy. But more about that in a moment...

My thoughts upon receiving the egg assignment: Why is it lucky for me to get assigned to take a bubble bath? Couldn't a person who wants to take a bubble bath do so without having it assigned to them? I don't think I have ever taken a bubble bath as an adult. I'm willing to give it a try.

So, I knew that we had some sort of paraphernalia around here, fragrant salts and Calgon and what-have-you. So my first intentional step with this was asking for a little assistance in locating it. Joy was of great assistance, and offered impishly gleeful recommendations. I had thought about waiting until after all of the Easter services were over tomorrow, but since the opportunity arose today I went for it.

It was relaxing to be not doing anything for awhile, and I intentionally didn't have anything to read or work on so my mind could take a break too. The warmth of the water and the added salts and bubbles were definitely an out of the ordinary experience, but I think the stillness was actually a bigger part of the experience. It was just a moment out of time. At first.

Then, I started thinking about all of the things that I wanted to accomplish in the next few days: working on a couple of pieces of music, preparing for a weekly role-playing game, potential entries for the blog, making some progress on my personal online networking initiative. And I got critical of myself for not relaxing. "I always seem to be busy with something, and I can't even let myself take a little time to do nothing." Wrestling with my judgment of myself and my "inability to just relax," though, I became aware of something about my busyness that I often overlook.

I actually enjoy a large percentage of how I spend my time now. It is actually nurturing to my mind to be creative, to find ways to connect with people, to be musical. I am energized by the vision and plans I have for my life, and it is fun and exciting to spend time and energy on that journey. So I can kick back and physically relax, but putting restrictions of how active my mind is can be the opposite of nurturing.

So, when I got out of the bubble bath, I was physically relaxed, but my brain was joyfully working away. I was happy to have so many things that engage me and that propel me forward. I found myself grateful that there were too many things to do in a day because they were all things I wanted to do rather than things I had to get accomplished. That hasn't always been the way I've looked at my busyness, and it was a refreshing perspective I'd like to hang on to.

Then, I walked out into a cloud of swarming termites all around our big dining table. Lots of reactivity to that. I could see them completely obscuring the soffits when I looked out the window. The "bug man" is on his way as I type. Good thing I had that relaxing time to gain a little perspective on the big picture of how I nurture myself. If I choose to, I can still create and prepare for the things I really enjoy in life while I'm sweeping up the hundreds of insects that have invaded my space. I mean there's practically a carpet of the things, people. It's kind of disgusting.

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