Along the lines of the title of my column, Antidotes to Emptiness, I wanted to write about one way to bring fullness to our lives. Rejuvenation. What do you do to rejuvenate? What does that word even mean?
Rejuvenate: to make someone or something look or feel younger, fresher or more lively.
I did not anticipate the piece of the definition about feeling younger but this makes sense. When we become engrossed in our emptiness, when we are depressed, unhappy, angry, complacent, listless, what have you, we grow old quickly. When we are stuck we feel heavy, useless, less mobile in many senses of that word, and lastly, we feel like we are dying. That might seem a little dramatic but if you think about the times when you were really stuck, you certainly didn’t feel like you were living. So rejuvenation in one sense is about growing younger.
…Fresher or more lively. This is what I was anticipating when I looked up the definition. It goes to the heart of what we sometimes need and that is a freshening up. Sometimes it is a fresh outlook, other times it might be a fresh day. Sometimes it might be a fresh job, and other times it might be a fresh activity. Lively depicts an image of movement. One is not just sitting around wishing life were different, but doing something that is bringing a sense of liveliness.
In order to experience feeling younger, fresher or more lively, we need to “do something.” The beginning part of the definition states “to make someone or something.” This means there is some sort of action that brings about rejuvenation. It could be as simple as a thought or emotion alone, but usually it is some sort of experience that rejuvenates us.
What do you do to find rejuvenation? Do you know when you need rejuvenation? I was riding my bike along the Greenway the other day and it was very rejuvenating for me. Not only did the exercise help bring a sense of youth and liveliness but the time in nature, the time alone, and the time to think brought a deep sense of freshness. I had more energy to return home to my family, my responsibilities, etc. It is tough to do the things we know will give us rejuvenation because we get in these easy cycles of complacency. I call them cycles because they perpetuate themselves to the point where we don’t even notice the effects. We don’t notice the listlessness, we don’t notice the edginess, and we don’t notice the movement toward death.
Think about the activities, the people, the places, or the rituals that help to bring you a sense of rejuvenation. Are you doing these things, hanging out with those people, making time for those places? Are you fulfilling this human need to replenish, feel fresh, and feel a sense of blood flowing again? Maybe it is spirituality, maybe it is deep conversations, maybe it is Yoga, working out, or playing sports or maybe it is walking outside in nature. Maybe it is going to a movie by yourself, or playing a fun game with the kids. It can be anything, but it is important to know what rejuvenates you.
Notice when the emptiness is calling to be filled up by a fresh and lively experience that brings you back to life.