“He that can take rest is greater than he who can take cities” Benjamin Franklin
I read the other day that 43% of people give up their New Year’s Resolutions before the end of January. The majority of resolutions involve losing weight, exercising more, pursuing career ambitions, and reducing alcohol intake. Very few people make resolutions to be more mindful, to rest more.
In the winter, gardens rest, it is a time of hibernation. The atmosphere of the season is quiet and still. If we align with nature, we sense the need to slow down and restore, be more receptive to our surroundings, re-charge. Rest is any behavior aimed at increasing physical or mental well-being. Rest can be active, such as taking a walk outside, or passive, such a sitting down for 10 minutes and breathing or drinking a cup of tea. Resting is an activity, a valid and valuable activity. Resting completes the story of activity.
Rest has been proven to increase productivity, we all want to be more productive and fulfilled in our day to day. The pressure to be productive has made it easier to feel unproductive, but another word for unproductive can be receptive. One of my favorite ways to rest is to knit while watching tv, my hands are busy and my eyes and ears are receptive. Author and Yogi, Cyndi Lee says that we must believe in the value of resting to let our minds be free.
Buddhist teachings say the mind is like the vast sky, it has no center or boundaries. Resting is the way to appreciate the innately beautiful element of our humanity, which is our ability to nourish ourselves by becoming peaceful and quiet.
It has been suggested that we make our New Year’s Resolutions on the first day of spring, March 20, 2023, our personal new year. It will be matching our inner rhythm with that of Mother Nature. We plant seeds in our gardens, clean our houses, and spend more time outdoors. What better time for goal planning, more clarity, and energy thinking about and creating new things.
Kate Emery General is a retired chef/restaurant owner that was born and raised in Casper, Wyoming. Kate loves her grandchildren, knitting and watercolor painting. Kate and her husband , Matt are longtime residents of Cambridge’s West End where they enjoy swimming and bicycling.