I'm on "vacation" this week. This vacation for me is a time of staying home in my beloved nest and doing that which nourishes me after a nearly three month period of travel, teaching, and tending to family needs.
Even though I was busy during this period, I was mindful. I took good care of myself, and I must have been successful at it because, in this moment, I have no health issues flaring up, which is my trusty indicator that I've gotten off-balance and have done too much—again. In this moment, I feel really good, like one of the three bears who finally found the "just right" chair to sit down in to feel at home in herself.
I've been reading a lot, especially in the area of mind-body medicine; the science behind meditation, self-care, and self-compassion. I love knowing how things work in the brain and body to help us arrive at inner spaces of peace and goodwill.
One of the books I'm enjoying on vacation is Mindfulness as Medicine: A Story of Healing Body and Spirit by Sister Dang Nghiem. The author is a former physician who became a Zen Buddhist nun in Thich Nhat Hanh's Order of Inter-Being. This is just one of the many passages that I've highlighted and continue to reflect upon:
In this passage, she is writing about pain and how we address it:
Upon reading this, I found myself nodding in agreement, and jotting down a few questions:
• Animals do this (and we are animals), so why don't we?
• Why don't we pay attention to our own pain through inner inquiry? Shouldn't we be curious about the source of our pain instead of ignoring it or masking it with medications and treatments that numb us?
• Why don't we stop and rest? Why don't we lie down when we need to so badly?
The last question is the one I am pondering today. I have long held that rest is sacred, not just a way to get much needed sleep, but a way for us to come back to center in a gentle, effortless way. Rest allows our precious body-mind time to recalibrate. Rest is extraordinarily healing—good medicine, natural medicine—that has the beautiful ability to bring us back to homeostasis from living a fragmented, overly busy, too stressful life.
My intention for myself for the next 8 days is to rest. Deeply rest all the parts of me—body, mind, heart and spirit.
Do you allow yourself time to really rest? To rest deeply enough that your cells and your innermost being respond to the kindness of that? What prevents you from resting? Let us reconsider the sacredness of rest for our total well-being.
Breathing in, we rest.
Breathing out, we smile ...
Breathing in and out, we give thanks for the gift of time, to be at ease within ourselves in this lovingly, kind way.
is a touchpoint. a resting place, a "remembering" of who we really are and how we can best live—kindly and compassionately with ourselves and others.
Janice Lynne Lundy, DMin
is an educator, interspiritual director/guide and retreat leader who has been pointing people back toward the Sacred for more than twenty years. She is the author of several spiritual growth books, including Your Truest Self, My Deepest Me and Portable Peace., and is the co-founder and co-director of the Spiritual Guidance Training Institute.