April showers bring May flowers, and I’m so glad! 🙂 The rains wash away the dirt and dust, and the new plants and flowers burst forth with a clean, green scent and gorgeous palette of colors!
Spring is a well-known time for renewal, and I recently discovered that May 4th has been designated as “Renewal Day”. Webster’s defines the word “Renewal” as:
noun \ri-ˈnü-əl, –ˈnyü-\
: the act of extending the period of time when something is effective or valid : the act of renewing something.
: the state of being made new, fresh, or strong again : the state of being renewed.
This can apply to countless things in life, but it is definitely life-affirming. It’s an active process, not something that just passively happens. When you think of the word “renewal”, what comes to mind? Your driver’s license? Your wedding vows? The Oil of Olay skin care product? What about renewing yourself?
The author of the book, “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”, Stephen Covey, says of balanced self-renewal: “Renewal is the principle–and the process-that empowers us to move on an upward spiral of growth and change, of continuous improvement.”
Three of the most important aspects of life that need renewing from time to time are related to self: body, mind and spirit. Like so many truths about life, there needs to be a balance of all three. Too often, we become conditioned to the routine of every day survival and forget that sense of wonder and passion we once held for life. People talk about finding your “inner child” again, and while that’s a good start, I mean the capacity to actually enjoy the life we’re given, each and every, single day. Because each day is a new chance to start over. We can renew ourselves every day!
It’s so easy to become inattentive. We neglect our bodies because we simply don’t have the time to exercise, eat right, etc., or we don’t pay attention to what we allow to enter our minds because we’re so tired that it’s just easier to veg-out. The spirit often suffers even more, unless it’s somehow made a regular part of every-day life.
- When was the last time you felt completely at ease with and positive about your body?
- When was the last time you were truly amazed by something or someone out in the world, or learned something new that fascinated you?
- How about the last time that you honestly felt connected with the planet, the universe, the Divine?
All three (body, mind, spirit) are intricately joined, and balance between them is important. It can be hard to find the energy sometimes, to look for the things which replenish and renew us, but it’s necessary. If you’re not getting at least a little joy, happiness or even satisfaction out of life, then you’re not living, you’re existing. There’s a huge difference between the two.
So what is it that renews your body, mind and spirit? It’s different for each individual, of course, but a good place to start is to find something that evokes a positive feeling or emotion. What’s something that fuels your passion? What makes you smile? Sometimes it’s necessary to break out of your comfort zone, break out of your routine and try something new. Make a commitment to renewing yourself, even if it’s just part of you. You’ll be glad you did.
P.S. You don’t have to wait for an “official” designated “Day of Renewal” to do it. Every day you wake up is another chance to renew yourself. 😉
– Corina Ravenscraft
© 2014, essay and rose photograph, Corina Ravenscraft, All rights reserved
8 thoughts on “A Day of Renewal”
Maybe a small part of renewal in this busy world is just even getting a good FULL night’s sleep. I recently read a piece about modern-day lives and sleep, how people just keep doing-doing-doing and how lack of enough sleep causes all sorts of problems: depression, weightgain, and cognitive disfunction. The whole idea of sleep is, I think, renewal… Good choice of subject, Corina, not only helpful but actually critical for a healthy, happy and productive life.
Having had a full night’s sleep, I agree with Jamie. Yesterday was long! Often, a walk in the woods is remarkably restorative, as is a good read. That said, today, rather than acknowledging Shabbat, I am of to a day long conference. Oh, wait, the conference is at an inn in the mountains! Thanks for the reminder, Corina!
May the Fourth is also a designated Star Wars day (as in “May the Fourth be with you!”). 😉 My renewal is always about getting out in nature, moving my body, opening myself to the wonder and fascination of biology and weather and physics and the fact that I am all of that myself. Beautiful rose picture! Why “Chicago Peace”? (The city could certainly use some.)
Thanks, Jamie, that is an excellent point, and one that many people often overlook. You’re so right that getting enough sleep is incredibly important and it’s one of the easiest forms of renewal there is. 🙂
Hi, Michael. I agree that both a walk in the woods (<–one of my favorite means of renewal) and a good book are excellent ways to renew oneself. Your conference sounds delightful! I hope it feels more refreshing for you than it does long. 🙂
Hi, Scilla. My boyfriend and I are huge Star Wars geeks, and he had also pointed out to me that tomorrow is Star Wars day (lol complete with the quote). I am right there with ya in regards to being out in nature – one of my favorites ways to decompress, and necessary. Thanks for the compliment about the picture! I’m not very skilled with photography, but those roses, I swear sometimes they look like they are glowing! “Chicago Peace” was one of my grandmother’s favorites. She had a beautiful rose garden and took such good care of them. I wasn’t able to get a cutting of hers before her house was sold, but I bought my own root stocks and planted them in memory of her. “Chicago Peace” is actually a mutation of the famous “Peace” hybrid tea rose. This particular strain (“Chicago”) was discovered by a grower in Chicago, so that’s how it got its name. The story of its parent, the “Peace” rose, is actually an amazing love story. There is a book, “For Love of a Rose” by Antonia Ridge which is well worth the read if you’re curious. 🙂 (It’s a fast read, too, only around 250 pages).
how we desperately need time to find ourselves in this busy frentic life we’re living..sometimes it doesn’t need much than some space to meditate and appreciate the beauty around..to reconnect with nature and discover new things..i enjoyed reading this it fills me with positive energy..thank you 🙂
Thanks, Imen. It’s so true – the pace of life today is incredibly hectic. You are also right about simply having the space or awareness to help us renew. I’m so glad it made a positive impact. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment. 🙂