Monday, 23 November 2015

A time for saying no

We have now been at Carrs Lane for well over two years and I think it is safe to say we have learned a lot along the way. There have been predictable challenges and unexpected ones; there have been lessons we have learned relatively easily and those which have been much harder to get to grips with.

One of the things we have continuously struggled with as we have tried to establish our rhythm of life here has been the right amount of busy-ness. To know when it is right to say yes, and when it is necessary to say no. It is a balance we know we haven't always got right: There is so much to do. So much of it is good. 

Expectations we place on ourselves, balanced against the expectations we sense from others. The things we know we could easily give up but which we really value balanced against the things we don't particularly enjoy but over which we feel we have little choice. The pressures of the little things we forget to take into account when planning out what we can fit in. The endless juggling of the many different building blocks which make for a fulfilled life.

All lived in the knowledge that we all have a breaking point and while it may be fine to tip towards it, going through it is not recommended. Like all the other lessons we have learned and are continuing to learn though, this one too needs to be taken seriously, and, two years in, it is one towards which I feel we are making some progress. We are beginning to make more space. Together, and individually, we are learning to value rest as part of our contribution to community too.

This is the context in which, at half-term, instead of ploughing on regardless or catching up on all the jobs that inevitably build up, we decided to just say no. To leave the undone undone and to just go away, right away. Away from endless emails and the distractions of the detritus of life. Away to cups of tea, walks in the countryside and an open-fire. Three weeks back into another busy term, the value of those days, the value of stopping, still holds firm.

Maybe it is an inevitable reality of this life we have chosen that we will always be close to the limits of how much we can handle. Even though it is exhausting at times, I love it this way. Life is rich and full and varied, and much of it I would never want to change.

We are still walking the tightrope but perhaps this year, we are closer to falling off on the right side.


  1. Great wisdom here. And beautiful photos!

  2. Good to read this Steph... there is much that is wise and grown up about your words... sometimes in life we have to say 'no' in order that we can say 'yes' and actually mean it...!