January; a month of rest

White passing clouds against a blue sky, a fresh salty breeze, the wind blowing in your hair, your feet in the soft sand along the sea shore, the sound of rolling waves, a small perfect shell in your hand, grains of sand slipping through your fingers, …

The sea is the perfect place to find rest! When the sea is calm and I have this wide view, I always associate it with rest.

I hope I don’t bother you with another blogpost about rest and rhythm, otherwise I hope you just enjoy the pictures of this beautiful Belgian blue sea! I took these pictures while we’re on the day out with our girls for their new year’s gift. Having the sun shining when we walked along the sea shore was a highly treasured gift for me, as rain was predicted!

Rest is a topic I’m longing for to incorporate more in my daily life but find it really hard to put it into practice. Do you sometimes have the same struggle?

Although I think, only practicing and wrestling with it, will make us grow and help us to internalize rest in our days.

As in nature, everything is in hibernation. I sometimes feel the need to do the same. To take a pause and to rest. Last week I was forced to do it, but found it very hard. Though I know my body and mind need rest, it always feels like there are a million things to do. I had a lot of time to reflect and was confronted with my weaknesses and struggles. I’ve been thinking about the necessity of rest and how to spend my time wisely.

It seems like during these winter days everything asks more energy. When we look into nature everything is slowing down and has a slower pace. And we as humans might feel the same slowness. Winter rest invites us to reflect and ponder. It can be a refuge for our soul’s wanderings. When we use the wintertime to rest and reflect we can enter spring with a vital body and refreshed mind!

Cozy inside our homes on the dark evenings, we can take the time to look back and we make up the balance of the past year. Reflecting about how we want to do things in our lives differently. Maybe we even have made some new year’s resolutions.

Nature in winter represents rest and stillness. Walking outside in the cool air. The serenity of a wide landscape, like the sea or a frozen field. Winter is the Sunday of the seasons. A time of rest, in which nature undergrounds gathers it’ s strength. As now the structures in the trees are clearly visible, it seems we can do the same for our lives.

I know I’m fragile in winter when there’s little daylight. On some grey and rainy days it even seems it never got light at all! As a high-sensitive person I suffer from the moody winter and life can feel overwhelming on these days. I also have to fight against my perfectionism and striving to please everyone. So I keep this month January reserved for rest! Or at least, I want to try to rest more (without feeling guilty!).

Time can be like these little grains of sand. It easily slips through our fingers. At the end of a day I often wonder how quickly the day has passed and it feels like I had too little time. So where does rest fit into this slipping away of our time? The way we look at the concept of time is important, like this quote of Shelly Miller clearly states:

“More than managing time, I want to pay attention to the minutes I am given. When we see time as a generous gift of invitation instead of something we hoard selfishly, we are more generous with the hours given to us free from the tyranny of the urgent.”

When we manage to view time as a gift, it will change our view on life and how rest is a natural part of it. What if we learn to change our mindset from “I have” into “I get”? How would that change our view on our endless to-do-list? I think it will definitely change mine!

“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. What we do with this hour, and that one, is what we are doing. A schedule defends from chaos and whim. It is a net for catching days. It is a scaffolding on which a worker can stand and labor with both hands at sections of time. A schedule is a mock-up of reason and order- willed, faked, and so brought into being; it is a peace and a haven set into the wreck of time; it is a lifeboat on which you can find yourself, decades later, still living. Each day is the same, so you remember the series afterward as a blurred and powerful pattern.”      Annie Dillard

Planning and schedules are very helpful tools for a good use of our time and to give room for rest. I love to make a weekly planning but the difficulty is to keep me to it! I often want to do already the things of the next day so I would have more time. But the reality is that it doesn’t offer me more time. It only brings rushed and stressed feelings, and certainly not more minutes in my day!

Planning will provide rhythm and structure throughout our days. And rhythm and organisation are the components of calm and contentment. Rhythm creates flow, which in return creates calm. So it is all related to each other.

Planning with intention paves the way for many rich opportunities to take place. A little preparation is very useful to have more time to do the things we value and enjoy in life. Like for example making a weekly menu planning; planning your meals in advance and doing the grocery shopping in one time will give you room for other things. At least that’s how it is for me. I also made a new weekly planning with my household chores, atelier days, bookkeeping, quality time with my family, garden time, …. and rest!

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