RIE for Grown Ups

I am in a state of shock that the end of the year is a scant two weeks away: it feels like time is flying. Despite that, I hope that the pace in your home feels gentle…and if it doesn’t, I hope you can take the time it takes to read this message to gentle yourself. I know I’m using the time to write it to bring myself back to center.

Actually, I had a very centering weekend…well, a solid 24 hours of it was centering. I was invited to a birthday gathering to celebrate a dear friend’s milestone birthday. And as I (reluctantly) came away from the gathering on Saturday evening, I took a couple of things with me.

The first was I had forgotten how vital it is to surround myself with people who are going through the same/similar stages of life as I am. We talked about aging and ill parents and our shifting roles and responsibilities; we talked about the changes our bodies and minds are going through; and we shared strategies as we also shared hardships. Coming together with like-minded humans who are going through similar struggles is so supportive…just seeing and hearing and being seen and heard lightens the load.

Speaking of that, forcing myself to take the time away from the stress of work and life and holiday, even when all of those things have the volume dialed up to max, was so restorative. To take deep breaths and watch the sun work its way across the sky as the waves came in and the world passed by unceasingly was so steadying.

But friends, I can tell you…it was not easy to make myself slow down and attend this gathering. Not at all. I had (have) a list a mile long that seems to only grow longer the harder I work on it, full of frustrating little tasks that if I could just solve would make my life easier. (Sound familiar?) But I made a commitment to my friend to show up…and it was the best thing I could have done for myself. I KNOW how hard it is to step away and ground yourself…especially when you are just going to step right back into the fray. But trust me: it’s worth it.

You know, now that I think on it…the way this friend crafted her birthday felt quite RIE-like. We gathered in a beautiful space overlooking the Pacific Ocean. We put our phones away (for the most part) in order to be present with one another, and we had no agenda other than to be with one another. We went on walks (a lot of walks!), climbed trees, played games, ate good food, and talked and laughed and cried and talked. In other words, we entered a safe and curated environment, experienced uninterrupted play and freedom of exploration, and were active and authentic participants in the care of one another and ourselves.

I know this wasn’t at all about babies this week, but RIE isn’t just about caring for babies and toddlers: it’s a way of caring for the entire family. I hope you are able to find some time, in the busy weeks ahead, to RIE yourself, your partner, your parents, your friends…and oh yes, your children.