The days between Xmas and January 1st function for many of us as a liminal period, a kind of time-out-of-time. If the holidays were too much — too hectic, too much time with family, too frantic, too imperfect to live up to our expectations — these final days can be an excellent time to recommit to the basics.
Enough sleep. David Whyte says:
Rest is the conversation between what we love to do and how we love to be. Rest is the essence of giving and receiving. Rest is an act of remembering, imaginatively and intellectually but also physiologically and physically. To rest is to give up on the already exhausted will as the prime motivator of endeavor, with its endless outward need to reward itself through established goals. To rest is to give up on worrying and fretting and the sense that there is something wrong with the world unless we are there to put it right; to rest is to fall back literally or figuratively from outer targets and shift the goal not to an inner bulls eye, an imagined state of perfect stillness, but to an inner state of natural exchange.
The template of natural exchange is the breath, the autonomic giving and receiving which is the basis and the measure of life itself. We are rested when we are a living exchange between what lies inside and what lies outside, when we are an intriguing conversation between the potential that lies in our imagination and the possibilities for making that internal image real in the world; we are rested when we let things alone and let ourselves alone, to do what we do best, breathe as the body intended us to breathe. When we give and take in this foundational way we are closest to the authentic self, and closest to that self when we are most rested. To rest is not self indulgent, to rest is to prepare to give the best of ourselves, and to perhaps, most importantly, arrive at a place where we are able to understand what we have already been given.”
Healthy food. I have bok choy going mad in my Winter garden. What’s fresh where you are?
Exercise, whether that means long runs or doing some seated stretches.
Silence. Thomas Merton wrote that
“Solitude is not something you must hope for in the future. Rather, it is a deepening of the present, and unless you look for it in the present you will never find it.”
And, don’t forget to acquire one of the most important magical tools you can ever have.
May it be so for you.
Picture found here.