Our Lady of the Milky Way a variation on Madonna and Child, by Cat Charissage

Hello Dear Friend,

Did you get a chance to rest over the Holydays?  What’s your favorite way to rest and renew yourself?  How do you make time for it in your daily (busy) life?

I both rested and put last year to bed, so to speak.  Since my old computer was not reliable, and Dell took almost 3 weeks to send a new one, I wasn’t able to do my regular online reading and exploring.  I only checked for urgent and important emails to respond to.  It was one of those blessings in disguise.  Starting just before the Solstice, I hauled out my year’s production of journals and arting, and read through 4 written journals and 6 art journals (which have a ton of writing in them as well, since I’m now only keeping the one journal plus this blog).  I try to do this every year between Solstice and the New Year, but am not always able to do so.  When I make the time, though, I’m always grateful that I did.  It’s one of the best ways possible for me to live intentionally and reflectively.

It was enlightening to see what I’ve done this year, and what I’ve NOT done.  I painted almost 15 paintings, written and arted those journals I mentioned,  helped my son in his self-education (well, it’s still “I homeschooled my son . . . ” but he is moving into more ownership and independence), worked with several groups of women, as well as with several individual women, went to two intensives with Dr. Estes, read about 55 books (depends on if I include CD series), resumed posting to this blog,  prepared over 150 sit-down meals, and lived through a breast biopsy, stuffed sinuses, flaming fibromyalgia, and awe-full arthritis, plus my spouse’s surgery and pre-surgery miseries, and my son’s getting braces.  Yet, I felt like I didn’t get done nearly as much as I had planned.  This journal keeping, memory keeping and reflecting on it, has helped me to know that this feeling is not a legitimate response to my reality, but is rather an old fear of not doing enough to “earn” my place on the planet.  Way past time to let go of that!

What I didn’t do, however, is just as important:  I didn’t do much house cleaning and hardly any grocery shopping; I didn’t do nearly as much “running around” as I used to; and I didn’t stress out about so many of the things that used to bother me so much.  I’m learning to let go, and to intentionally keep open space on my calendar and daily schedules.  Our Christmas was very simple.  We had Christmas dinner with our family in town, but didn’t try to travel to see Grandma and Grandpa.  My computer imposed internet break was very welcome (as soon as I knew a new one was on its way).

What about you?  Did you rest and reflect?  Do you have a regular break in your days and in your weeks?  I’m so convinced that the idea of a Sabbath is one we need to encourage each other to do; i.e., to take time to not do.  Personally, I fight FOMO all the time (Fear Of Missing Out).  Part of it is legitimately being responsible by continuing to learn in my areas of expertise; part of it is just wanting to be “in the know.”  While I can’t run around or travel easily, there’s still so many people to meet, places to go on the internet . . .

I’ll close by including these inspiring words of Wayne Muller from his book, Sabbath:

“Sabbath requires surrender  If we only stop when we are finished with all our work, we will never stop — because our work is never completely done.  With every accomplishment there arises a new responsibility.  Every swept floor invites another sweeping, every child bathed invites another bathing.  When all life moves in such cycles, what is ever finished?  The sun goes round, the moon goes round, the tides and seasons go round, people are born and die, and when are we finished?  If we refuse rest until we are finished, we will never rest until we die.

“Sabbath dissolves the artificial urgency of our days, because it liberates us from the need to be finished.  The old wise, Sabbath says:  Stop now.  As the sun touches the horizon, take the hand off the plow, put down the phone, let the pen rest on the paper, turn off the computer, leave the mop in the bucket, and the car in the drive.  There is no room for negotiation, no time to be seduced by the urgency of our responsibilities.  We stop because there are forces larger than we that take care of the universe, and while our efforts are important, necessary, and useful, they are not (nor are we) indispensable.  The galaxy will somehow manage without us for this hour, this day, and so we are invited— nay, commanded — to relax, and enjoy our relative unimportance, our humble place at the table in a very large world.”
May you be blessed and find all the happiness of your days,
With love,
Cat
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