My family has recently taken up a practice of what we call our "15 minute break."
When we arrive home from anywhere, at anytime, we all go into our bedrooms, and take 15 minutes to ourselves. During this time, we might think consciously about our days, reflect on what was good, what was challenging, and what we wished went differently. Or, we might just do an activity that we love - read, draw, listen to music.
At the end of the 15 minutes, we all come back together, and talk a little bit about our days and what we were feeling. Often we share these stories around the dinner table, where each of gets a turn telling about our days.
We started this practice because we had been having a hard time with transitions, especially during the"witching" hours - 4-6 in the evening. And as with everything, though it would be nice to claim that when I say "we had been having a hard time," I mean the kids, truthfully - it's all of us. For Carri and I - just as with the kids - it is hard to move from one part of our day into another; it's hard to move from one kind of rhythm to another, to let go of the stories we have heard and been a part of and reconnect with the other members of our family.
I cannot tell you what a difference the "15 minute break" has made. We are all better resourced when we can take a moment to pause, to reflect, and to explicitly switch gears. We have been better able to share our stories, listen to each other, share our meal, and enjoy one another as a family.
Life moves so quickly, and we can so often neglect our real need for this kind of set-aside time. We ask our bodies and our hearts and our minds just to move into the next thing, keep on going, don't look back. But our bodies carry stories, and our minds move more slowly than we might realize, and our hearts have their own pace of processing. Giving ourselves this set-aside time - whether that is through a daily few minutes or longer, in a weekly "Sabbath" practice, or with a longer vacation that allows you to truly pause - we honor these needs, and allow ourselves to move more completely into the next moment.
As we move from summer time back into the regular church and school year, we face one of these kinds of transitions. As we do, let's not forget to give ourselves the time to pause, to reflect, to switch gears. And then after these small or big pauses, let's be sure to share our reflections together - what has been good? What has been hard? What have we learned? I look forward to exchanging our answers. And from there, I look forward to reconnecting and beginning our next phase, together.