Learning to Rest

Learning to Rest (2)

I tried yoga for the first time a few months ago. I’m used to the Insantiy/P90X/jogging punish-your-body workout routines, so it was really weird hearing things like,

“Listen to your body. Listen to those little aches and pains.”

“Take a moment for yourself. Enjoy this stretch.”


I broke down sobbing—yes, actually sobbing—somewhere between a mediocre Tadasana and a terrible downward dog. I hadn’t realized it until that moment, but I somehow felt like I didn’t deserve to take thirty seconds to let myself drop the weight of my responsibilities (real or imagined) and just rest.


Even though this time of year is known for sitting fireside and watching movies and taking time off, it somehow becomes less peaceful than the rest of the year. And rest is hard to come by in the first place. I don’t mean TV-watching rest. Real rest! Rest where you can just be, no thoughts of the future or the past or what other people think. Rest where your soul goes, “Ahhhh.

Sometimes that kind of rest catches us off guard like a good joke, but what would happen if we actually went after it?


I want to go on that journey.

Truth? I’m not sure how to do that. But I think it starts when we take time, drop the to-do list, stop being lazy* about the hard questions, and allow ourselves to even ask.

(*Sometimes it’s easier to keep pushing forward with busyness than to figure out why you have such a hard time slowing down.)

I’ve made a list of some things I plan to do this month to be more intentional about rest. Yes, I see the irony in making a list as a solution to another list, but I have to start somewhere.

  1. Keep doing yoga
  2. Write something for fun (ie. something that’s not a query or a chapter-by-chapter summary or some other nightmare)
  3. Walk in the snow
  4. Give, at the very least my time
  5. As a kid, I discovered that my favorite artist, Susan Wheeler, made a Christmas book. For a while, I read it every year, but it’s been neglected for a long time. I’m going to read it and maybe even make some of the recipes in it this year.

Susan Wheeler

6. If this list becomes a chore, I’m going to totally disregard it in favor of whatever is actually rest to me

What are your favorite ways to rest during the holidays?

Stay tuned for next week’s Christmas post!

What I’m Listening to: Tears & Rain by James Blunt

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