• Jolene Roehlkepartain

Deeply Rejuvenating Yourself


How do you rejuvenate yourself when you’re burned out, parched, and completely empty?

I ask this question over and over, particularly during the pandemic.


A lot of the ways I cared for myself in the past no longer worked. The pandemic threw complex, chronic difficulties in my direction that I often didn’t know what to do with while all my resources were stressed and tested.


People in deep grief and pain told me that they focused on the moment. They did whatever they could to get through the moment (if it was horribly painful) and then how to find some beauty or light in the moment.


“If an arrow hits you, you will feel pain in that part of your body where the arrow hit,” writes Thich Nhat Hanh in No Mud, No Lotus: The Art of Transforming Suffering. “Then if a second arrow comes and strikes exactly at the same spot, the pain will not be only double, it will become at least ten times more intense.”


We all face arrows. I didn’t realize during the pandemic how much I also was experiencing the second arrow.


“The second arrow, fired by our own selves, is our reaction, our storyline, and our anxiety,” Thich Nhat Hanh adds. “All these things magnify the suffering.”


I’m now practicing more mindfulness meditation. I focus on my breathing, and do walking meditation. I look at only the present moment and discover the bits of light and hope in them.


Recently I took a long walk in the woods. The wild turkeys were digging for food in the leaves, and we spent time together. Quietly. Calmly. The longer I stayed and the slower I moved, the more the empty well inside of me began to fill.


How are you deeply rejuvenating yourself?


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