After the festivities of the Fourth, I find I need to take the time to re-center myself. So, I find a place to relax, take a deep breath, remember who I am and what my mission is, and remove all distractions that are taking away from my focus and passion.
With so many voices competing for my attention, I have had to learn a good old fashioned term: boundaries. We have heard ad nauseum about the need for setting boundaries, but I’d like to add a new twist. I have come to realize that a boundary starts within. In today’s world, we often need a reminder of who we are, because we are inundated with external forces attempting to define us. From targeted pop-up ads on Facebook to daily calls from telemarketers, we face demands on our attention for what others consider important. This can feel overwhelming. None of us has the energy to care about so many things. Part of having boundaries involves knowing what we’re called to focus on—and what we’re not. But, until we are our best selves, we won’t know how to set those boundaries. It all starts with knowing who we are and our own needs and value.
Recently my California sister reminded me of the term bottle shock, which explains this dilemma so well. Bottle shock describes a temporary condition in a wine, when its flavors are muted or disjointed. My sister described two scenarios when bottle shock sets in: (1) Right after bottling or (2) when wines (especially fragile older wines) are shaken in travel. To my surprise, they say a few days of rest is the cure for bottle shock. The evidence for this is more anecdotal than scientific, but the theory is that all the complex elements in wine (tannins, phenolics, and compounds) are constantly evolving, both on their own and in relation to each other. Heat and motion can add stress to this evolution, which may causing the wine to “shut down” temporarily. Most wines are fine when taken from a lying-down position to an upright one, but the older, more fragile bottles need special handling.
To me, this sounds so much like human interaction and development. We are in one sense very fragile, easily shaken or overheated by life, yet at the same time, we can withstand tremendous pressure and can learn how to easily reset as we deal with daily chaos. When wine is shaken, it needs to sit still, and its elements will come back together in harmony. The same goes for humans. When our elements are settled, we can hear and see with clarity. After all, God often speaks in quiet whispers. All it takes to settle our state is the choice to step back and re-center.
As I have aged, I have learned the importance of setting a boundary when I’ve been shaken and doing what it takes to restore my peace and joy. Like a fine wine, I sit and get my nails or eye lashes done or I read a book. As I do, I feel my elements coming back together. It really is that simple. So, whether you need a little settling or are facing insurmountable odds—remember to take time for YOU so that you can be at peace and focused to complete your assignment.
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Delivering Peace, One Touch at a Time