The Renewal Practice

If it started anywhere, it was probably on the pier with a friend one afternoon.

We were eating soup and we were talking about renewal. More precisely, we were talking about those things that renewed us. Cooking, weekends, long and hot showers.

There was a pause; cold air came across the water and settled around us. I was really digging to come up with stuff.

Things that drain me I could name by the carload. So many of us have lived them and lived them and lived them again.

But things that renew me. Those, I and probably many others on the pier, had not lived nearly as much. So often, then, we face the world, each other, ourselves, depleted and a little hunched over.

I will get better at renewal, I thought, turning towards the wind off the water. Or maybe, a friendlier way to put it, I will create space for it. I will make a practice of renewal. 

So it began. I noticed the things that rekindled my energy. Seven, ideally eight, hours of sleep. At the top of the day, naming ordinary things I’m grateful for – say, healthy ankles, the microwave, glasses. Walking with the rising sun.

Each small gesture becomes part of the practice. By which I mean it becomes something I give time to. Small, but frequent amounts of time.

We can start the renewal practice anywhere, anytime, I’ve learned. No crash of cymbals needed.

And I’ve come to see it as an act of self-respect. Also self-kindness. Both of which can enable an ordinary person to stand with less of a hunch and face the world with a little more strength.

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