Do you remember that wonderful line in Wind in the Willows, when Ratty talks about how worthwhile it is to spend some time simply messing about in boats?
How right he is. It is becoming increasingly clear to me just how important it is to make some time away from the busyness of all those things we have to do in our beautiful but full, modern lives.
We have to make the time to do those things that replenish us in order to maintain the capacity to keep doing all those things that fill our schedules. And the fuller those schedules get, the harder it is to find the time to do the things that are important but not urgent.
It is that lack of urgency that Ratty alludes to when he is explaining his view to Mole. (Do you remember it? you can read it here if you like!) He talks about how it doesn't really matter if you get somewhere or you don't, he seems to thinks 'messing about with boats' always gives you something to do without requiring much of you.
And how rare that is. Think of all the tasks on your to do list. So many demands are made of us, consequences of not performing them well abound. We owe it to ourselves to find the things that we like to do, that can engage us gently enough to transport us from the everyday but without overburdening us. It is these self care practices that build our resilience.
For each of us this is something different.
A long walk.
Perhaps a quiet cup of coffee in a cosy cafe where you can watch the world go by.
Gardening, baking or sketching (yes art making... definitely try that!)
A glass of wine in an indulgent bubble bath or spending time with a loved one.
What replenishes you?
The more of these boats that I painted, the more I came to see them as symbolising our personal space and resilience. As we move through the physical space of our world we should not ignore the mental and emotional space that we occupy. We can't control what happens in our environment but we have utter dominion over our mental and emotional space.
Investing the time into replenishing ourselves is as wise as the captain keeping his boat in good repair. We have to tend to the vessel that holds and carries us through the water of our lives. We don't know what is ahead of us. It may be choppy waters, it may be still as glass. For sure, it will be full of colour and texture, fun and excitement, but also challenging and testing at times. From the comfort of your well maintained little boat you can take it all.
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