Winter is the time for resting

Today is a lazy day. A wind whipping round day. A cold, wet, grey day. And I am grateful to have a cosy home to snuggle up in. To watch with awe as nature plays out her music in the trees. The howling. The whistling,. The moaning. Splashes of colour as what’s left of the leaves dance across the lawn. The swaying branches. The rustling. The impossible bending. One way then another.

It is still winter, even though there are hints of spring in the air. And, like other small creatures, I feel hibernation calling. A lovely nap. Wrapped up in my duvet. It’s dark and feels like night. But it’s not. It’s Saturday afternoon. A luxury to have an hour to rest my body and my brain. Stretch luxuriously. Feel the nothing to do, nowhere to be-ness of now. The simple pleasure of rest that is so alien in this world of busy, busy, busy.

Rest is resistance, Tricia Hershey tells us. And she’s right. What will you do to be useless to capitalism today? A question she asks. One to ponder. I am not naturally a rester. I am hyper. Always doing something. A million ideas and questions flying round my mind. Projects half done. Waiting for the moment I will find the time to pick them up and finish them. But the energy’s gone already. It’s somewhere else. Pacing and sniffing out the next fascination. Sometimes I exhaust myself. Relentless. Struggle to stop. Even. Slow. Down. Remember that wellness needs stillness. A chance to recover. Regenerate. Relax. And winter is nature’s cycle of rest. It is where everything stops. Dies back. Absorbs and recycles what doesn’t serve anymore to create what’s needed to nurture the next cycle of growth and rebirth.

I feel the pull to rest much more at this time of year. But our culture marches on. To occupy and dominate every inch of our world. Every moment of our time. Every fragment of our attention. Every penny we ever earn. Gobbled up without a hint of satiety in sight. Each one of us complicit. Anxious. Unsettled. Not quite sure what’s wrong but convinced it’s us. It’s not out there. Not seeing we live in iron cages. Blinged up. Entertained. Warm and well fed. If we’re lucky. But if you want to step out of that cage? Turn away from the work, shop, sleep repeat cycle? Reconnect with nature’s rhythms? Rekindle the spark of ingenuity and knowing that means you are a useful, grownup human that can meet your needs and others in different ways? You can’t. It’s not OK to want out. There’s no space. There’s no opportunity. Money rules all. And if you dare to try and take a tiny piece for yourself without paying? Punishment ensues.

And I say all of this from a position of privilege. I know I am likely in the top fifth of people’s living standards across the world. So, my experience, as frustrating and constrained as it feels is of a good life. I don’t go to bed hungry. I don’t worry whether I can feed my children today. Or if I can heat my home to ease my arthritic joints. My waste gets taken away. I can access healthcare. I have good work. I have the headspace to reflect. The opportunity to take a nap if I need one. And many people do not.

Which brings me back to my day. And the opportunity for a nap. The luxury of taking time out. Listening to my body. Stopping. Resting. Resisting the urges and pressure to be more, do more, have more. Just for this one day I have achieved this. And I am filled with gratitude that my life allows me the grace to find the space for rest when I need it.

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